Micro Machines V4 Review

By on August 26, 2006

The miniature car racing classic crashes and burns as it tries to make a comeback with V4.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

The original Micro Machines was released over a decade ago. The concept of racing miniature vehicles on a track made of everyday objects was still nouveau and many lauded that game for its simplistic yet enjoyable gameplay. Sadly, Micro Machines V4 does not build well upon its predecessors.

My sorrows began when I first installed the game; I cringed as the installation menu notified me that it used some sort of copyright-protection that required a restart of my PC. I hoped that it would be a little less rough from that point onwards. I was wrong. The cheesy, choppy intro movies could not be skipped and the menu had "console port" written all over it. There is no mouse support to speak of and the game even supports multiple-input gaming like one would play on a console in their living room.

The visuals were not horrible- they were just bland and uninspired. The cars in particular have so little detail that I had trouble differentiating between all the different models (of which there are plentiful). Some of the tracks make good use of obstacles but more often than not, the bumbling camera will make you miss a turn or run right into a blow-dryer or a billiard ball. The default camera setting makes for some nauseating action but is much more preferable to the basically useless alternative, fixed view. Driving can be fun on certain tracks where the camera is more forgiving. The sharp turns on other tracks can lead to some very frustrating restarts.

The audio is, similarly, not quite horrible but it sure tries to be. Apart from a few explosions, most of the sound effects are boring. The tiny engine sounds are especially unwelcome to my ears. To emphasize how forgettable the audio was: I do not even recall if there was any music during MMV4′s races.

There is an included track editor which lets you choose from a number of set tracks where you can edit waypoints. Actually, it is more of a track customizer rather than a full track editor. The number of real options therefore are rather limited in scope. There is also an online component to the game where one can allegedly race against or trade vehicles with other players. I say allegedly because I could not actually find anyone online to play with. Maybe they got lost on account of the bad camera angles. To add salt to the wound, MMV4 crashed-to-desktop when I tried to quit.

Overall, MMV4 is not worth the money in its present incarnation. It is a budget-quality game that is currently being sold at full price. Fans of the series may be better off buying the actual toys and creating their own tracks with ordinary household items instead of putting up with a bad port of a bad console game.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
4
I can't even tell which way I'm going.
GRAPHICS
5
Is that a Beetle or a Camaro?
SOUND
5
Forgettable and uninspired audio.
VALUE
4
Budget-quality at full retail price.
FUN FACTOR
5
It's still better than Solitaire.
OVERALL
5
Better off buying the toys.

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