Micro Maniacs Preview

From what we've seen, Micro Maniacs looks like an excellent extension of the premise established with Codemasters' Micro Machines games.

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Micro Maniacs is the unofficial sequel to the third Micro Machines game, and it is surprisingly not about little cars but all about little guys running on several courses. Eight characters throw hilarious jokes at each other as they "race" through the 40 tracks and battle it out, similar to Micro Machines. Essentially, it remains a racing game with each character having two special abilities.

The track design looks similar in style to the Micro Machines game, so the main differences in the game will most likely come to surface in the area of gameplay. Micro Maniacs has been in development for the last 12 months with more than 30 people working on the project for the UK-based Codemasters. The game is slated for a March release on the PlayStation in Europe. A US release date has not been announced, but it can be expected that the US version will release shortly after the European release. We expect to have more screenshots and more info for you soon.

Codemasters has been very busy recently. Not only has it been preparing for the US launch of Colin McRae Rally and the European launch of Colin McRae Rally 2, but it also has two other titles nearing the end of development. One of them is WTC (World Touring Car) and the other is Micro Maniacs. Micro Maniacs is coming along nicely. It features environments that look incredibly detailed, ranging from Japanese gardens to teenage bedrooms.

While the Micro Machines series has only showed its face on the road so far, the wheels are gone for Micro Maniacs. It's not about gas-powered cars, tanks, or buggies anymore. Instead, it's all about running on foot in this game. Sound strange? At first it might, but Codemasters insists that the game will remain just as charming. Eight fully animated characters are available, each one having its own special weapons in the race. Four additional characters can be unlocked as you progress throughout the game. The Micro Machines series has always been popular because of the multiplayer action with crazy weapons. And Micro Maniacs is no exception - you'll find weapons such as plasma punches, lethal yo-yos, and the "fireball fart" (ask them, not us). We recently got our hands on a playable copy of Micro Maniacs and came away impressed. While the action doesn't stray very far from Micro Machine V.3, the addition of super-small comic-book-style characters adds a lot of personality to an already endearing series.

In Micro Maniacs, instead of piloting supersmall vehicles (which you still do, sort of), Codemasters has shirked the Machines license and created a stable of comic-book-style characters who race against each other, Micro Machines V3-style, on foot. Each character has up to eight signature moves with which to stymie up to eight other players, onscreen, at one time (provided you have a multitap). The character designs are very nice, and the graphics are reminiscent of Codemasters' previous Micro Machines game, V3. While most of the action takes place on foot, gamers with a fondness for Micro Machines' vehicle-based racing will find that Maniacs hasn't completely abandoned the format. On certain levels, your characters get to ride all manner of cool vehicles, such as Vespas, boats, and even bumblebees. The action plays, for the most part, exactly like V.3, except there are more special attacks, and the graphics are even better.

From what we've seen, Micro Maniacs looks like an excellent extension of the premise established with Codemasters' Micro Machines games. We'll reserve final judgement until we get the review copy, but fans of the previous games, get ready for some mini-feet fun.

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