Micro Machines V4

Thursday 25 May 2006
Codemasters brings one of its most loved franchises back to our screens next month - and after getting our hands on an almost complete PS2 copy of the game, we can confirm it's as fun as ever.

Playing on the premise that awesome racetracks can be made from household locations such as breakfast tables, the garage and the back garden, Micro Machines V4 sees you racing tiny cars through the kind of courses you dreamed up as a kid.

Of course, the game's been around since Mega Drive days and, seeing as the formula was always a winner, the biggest changes have obviously been made in the graphical department. The game moves quickly and smoothly, banishing the frame-rate issues that plagued Micro Machines V3 on PSone.

The 3D graphics give you a better view of the track than the old top-down, 2D view did, which means being in front is no longer a handicap - the camera shifts so you can see corners approaching. There are some nice effects, too, such as a kitchen sink full of animated water and firework explosions when a missile goes off.

Racing is still viewed from an isometric perspective - there's no behind-the-car view - which means multiplayer battles are not played by split-screen.If your opponent touches the trailing edge of the screen,you win a point. Simple.

Unfortunately, with four cars on the screen at once, the camera seems uncertain which car to track, making it difficult to follow the action. However, there's still time to sort out any issues - and with two players, the camera can't be faulted.

There are more power-ups now, including an energy zapper, sonic boom and even cluster bombs (yes, really). And fans of V3 will be pleased to hear the hammers are making a welcome return. We were crying with laughter at one point, which can't be said of many games.