You know, believe it or not…cartoons, wine,
women…they all have something in common with video games. The old ones are the most
fun. Well, not too old…there’s a point where age starts to have the reverse effect.
But there’s a sweet spot, you know? That’s what you’re looking for. And as long as
they’re in that sweet spot…man, I love going back to old games. And you know the best thing about reviewing
old games? It’s when you find one…that’s new. When you find one that, for some reason
or another, you just didn’t get to back in the day. It’s kind of like time travel.
Here I am, playing a Nintendo 64 game…for the very first time. What is this, 1997? Who’s the vice president? Jerry Lewis? It’s
LEGO Racers, for the Nintendo 64. And I’ll tell you what’s even cooler than
discovering a new old game. Discovering one that’s, like…actually good. Discovering
a good Nintendo 64 game, you didn’t even know about. How’s that possible? I don’t
know, but I know that it’s awesome. LEGO Racers is awesome. Sure, it’s just a Mario
Kart clone…but dude, who cares? It’s a solid Mart Kart clone. And not only that, it’s a solid Mario Kart
clone…on the Nintendo 64. A platform known for a couple of legendary games…but a very
short bench, so to speak. So to find a game like this, about 15 years later, on a platform
you know inside and out…that’s pretty awesome. LEGO Racers is pretty awesome. So aside from being a very good argument to
roll the dice at your used game shop once in a while…what is LEGO Racers? Well, like
I said, it’s Mario Kart. It’s a kart-racer with colorful race tracks, wacky characters
and lots of cool weapons. So it’s Mario Kart. But there’s also a couple things that
make LEGO Racers feel distinct, that provide its own take on the genre. So it’s both instantly familiar…and different
enough to be worth a spin. If there’s one area where LEGO Racers beats
Mario Kart 64…its content. Or at least, the amount of content. It’s got more tracks
than Mario Kart…and it’s got way more characters. In fact, it’s hard to say how
many characters it has, ‘cause you can make your own. And this is another area where the
game sets itself apart. You can build your own racers, your own vehicles…all from LEGO
blocks. And that was really cool for its time. Hell, it’s cool even now. I mean, all the
customization in today’s kart racers, whether it’s ModNation Racers or even recent Mario
Karts…in a way, you can trace it back to this. Unfortunately, that’s about where the game’s
LEGO-ness ends. I mean, it’s great to make characters and cars from LEGO blocks…but
it’d be great the environments had some LEGO, too. Instead, they’re actually…kind
of generic. Like, this could be any racing game, which is probably the biggest disappointment.
And it’s not like it’s pretty, you know? If the tracks were pretty, you could live
with the lack of LEGO. But when the game looks this average and non-distinct, it’s more
of an issue. Although, to be fair, the game runs pretty well, and those simple graphics
might have something to do with that. Still could use more LEGO, though. I mean, it is LEGO Racers. So it doesn’t have the visual polish of
Mario Kart…or the gameplay polish, it doesn’t control as well…and the track design’s
not as good, and the music’s not as memorable…but I mean, that’s not really a fair comparison.
These little LEGO arms are too short to box with Mario. But I think, behind Mario Kart
64, and Diddy Kong Racing…this is one of the coolest kart racers on the Nintendo 64.
If only for its customization, which was sort of ahead of its time. It doesn’t play nearly as well as those
games, and the AI can be frustrating as hell, and the multiplayer’s not as robust…but
I mean, you get to make your own LEGO, racing, people. Beat that, Mario. Huge thanks to our pal Tim from Zainesville,
Ohio, for sending in LEGO Racers…a solid Nintendo 64 game that proves…even the oldest
systems can still have some surprises.