Ever since scientist and inventor Rick Moranis proved people-shrinking technology to be a disquieting possibility in the documentary Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, I’ve had nightmares about it happening to me. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat (as opposed to my usual hot sweat) screaming that the bed is a matchbox stuffed full of facial tissue. So far this has never been the case, but I put to you that it’s only a matter of time. I consider playing Micro Machines to be training for that fateful day, when I suddenly find myself forced into a deadly race on someone’s kitchen table.
To ensure that the training reflected reality as closely as possible, I selected the leather-clad cool dude character Spider (pictured above) as my driver and the hapless simp Walter (also pictured above, the simp) as my opponent. The reality is that I’m completely awesome and that everyone else around me is more or less Walter. Worthless, useless, ginger Walter. I do have to admit that Walter’s glee in being selected to do anything save sit on his duff and slowly die out his butt was quite amusing, but his glee would soon be crushed as he lost race after race. After race. After race. In fact, all I had to do was outpace Walter to the edge of the screen, and a black ball would fly out and batter around my car for a while before I got a “BONUS” and drew one step closer to victory. Was Walter even cognizant of what was happening? Probably not.
Micro Machines is kind of entertaining: the character designs make me laugh; the racing part of the game, however, leaves much to be desired, which is a problem in a racing game. The tracks (bathtub, garden, tables & desks) and vehicles (cars, boats, helicopters) are varied, true, but the constant resetting of the vehicles when you outpace your opponent to the screen edge quickly became tiresome. The control isn’t so hot, and you’ll often find yourself getting inescapably stuck on obstacles. The overhead perspective makes it tricky to navigate around the levels even with helpful track lines laid down in front of you. Some of them look like lines of cocaine, but I think they’re supposed to be chalk. You really can’t snort chalk like cocaine.
Overall, I wouldn’t bother with Micro Machines except for the character selection screen, since that’s by far the best part. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to return to crafting tiny weapons and armour.