We’re going back to the late year 2000 when top down racing game Micro Maniacs for the Sony Playstation, also known as Fox Kids.com Micro Maniacs Racing in North America, was released. With all eyes on the newly released Playstation 2, there were still some games, albethey quite overlooked, that came out for Sony’s predecessor. Micro Maniacs is such a game as it was a spinoff and spiritual successor of the Micro Machines series. Compared to the rest of the series this time the player controls one of the twelve characters instead of a miniature vehicle and together they run against each other in different spectacular household settings. So think about it as the Micro Machines games you all know so well, but then without the cars. Sounds fun, right?
Old idea, new twist
So technically speaking Micro Maniacs is not much of a novel game concept. That’s because it simply grabbed an old idea and gave a somewhat dubious but creative spin to it. However, Micro Maniacs added so much, that it improved it in almost every possible way. The game contains a massive amount of 32 courses! But off course this would mean nothing if these courses all looked alike and were boring to play. Luckily Codemasters really did its best to make each course design unique and full of interesting details to discover. Some levels even contain special vehicles like skateboards and jet skis that are solely used for that course and that course only. That’s quite a costly but passionate decision to make as a developper.
And the fun doesn’t seem to stop there. Micro Maniacs breathes a crazy atmosphere constituted by its colorful levels and its wonderfull pumping energetic techno beats. There’s even a racetrack that contains a mini arcade game inside the game itself. Talking about gameception! These are all perfect ingredients for a multiplayer frenzy and with the game supporting eight players at the same time. Your multitaps never came to such good use as with this one. Even if you only have four controllers, the game lets you play with eight players at the same time, by sharing your pad with a friend. So, there you have it, endless multiplayer fun!
Single player goodness
But the game also provides a lot of content for the gamers that rather play the game solo. Playing the game against AI competitors isn’t that challenging, but the time trial modes the game contains was awesome back in the day. Unfortunately I really mean back in the day, because the game used a password system that lets you upload your times to a dedicated internet webpage. Nowadays this webpage is nowhere to be found off course. Yep, even in the year 2000 the online leaderboard was kind of a thing.
We need a proper sequel!
Anno 2018 everybody seemed to have forgotten about this little racing gem. Which is a shame, because Micro Maniacs is still a blast to play and would certainly deserve a port or a remake. However, the top down racing genre seems to have gone extinct these days so this is not very likely to happen. Codemasters recently revived the Micro Machines franchise with a new game, but that one was pretty shitty. It seems that Codemasters no longer has the mojo to create a classic like Micro Maniacs. Which leaves us to the sole option of enjoying the old classics again. Which is not a bad thing I guess.