Continuing on from the last forgotten gems is something I havent done before, but for this game and the time that I have spent playing it since the last column definitely warrants a sequel post. Let me start by saying that personally I am not a huge fan of the racing game, as a rule I steer well clear of them. Excluding our present subject, I have never really got into any racer apart from a long and happy marriage to the Mario Kart series and a brief affair with Conkers Bad Fur Daysracing sections.
Since the last Forgotten Gems I have been spending my free time conducting an serious in-depth study into Micro Machines V3, which consisted of playing it lots. Which isnt easy as I broke my wrist (as I mentioned last week), but the d-pad controls and over compensation from my other hand allow me to play without too much hindrance. So Ive been spending hours reliving the yesteryears of my childhood, exploring each aspect of a game that history has unfortunately left behind. Ok perhaps this wasnt the best game ever, but its still a metric tone of fun. V3 is certainly a game with a sense of humor, perhaps because it was made in the days before games had million pound budgets and took two hundred people three years to make. I dont know how many people worked on Micro Machines but Im sure it was a lot less than two hundred and none of they took the game too seriously. These where the days when developers were still happy to experiment, putting extras in games just for fun. The quirky menu system is a good example of this; the player controls a can which drives into which ever garage corresponds to the menu option, a small but imaginative addition. The legendary multiplayer game mode in GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was made by one guy as a side note to the main game, and look what happened there, it is now regarded as changing the gaming landscape, and still player by many today. An example of this in Micro Machines is the vs multi player mode... For most racing games multiplayers means the same thing, dividing the screen in two while players racer three laps and the winner is the car that comes first, not exactly a difficult idea to grasp, but i'll get to the point in a second. As much as this format may fit most driving games the developers of V3 thought otherwise for their game and came up with an innovative and ingenious approach to two players racing. Players select whatever cars and course and are placed on the starting line, but no split screen here. Both players shown from the same camera, full screen, the loser is the one that is caught by the trailing edge of the screen. Bear in mind that V3 is a top down racer, this format makes for some truly exciting, and more importantly fun, gameplay. The scoring system adds to the thrill of racing with eight dots that start out with four of each players colours, then if a player loses, one of there dots turn the colour of their opponent, the winning is the first to get all their dots their colour. This scoring system make the game mode feel more like a tennis match than a racer, and makes for some tense competitive moments. Seeing as V3 came out before combined rating sites such as Metacritic, its a little hard to gage the critical response if the game on release. After some thorough research, sifting through dusty academic papers and ancient publications in the British Library (not really I just googled it) I found some review scores. IGN gave a positive 8.7 whereas Gamespot dished out only a 5.7, both out of ten, obviously. It seems that IGN got the game more that there (less and less favoured) rivals at Gamespot. The key to Micro Machines is that although it may not be the most technically complex or groundbreaking game, it is undeniably fun. I hope that history looks upon this game fondly, as I certainly have found.