Games I Own: Lego Racers

Posted on 8th Jul 2010 at 11:19 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
I never had any of the classic consoles as a kid, only an old Amiga A500+ and occasional access to the BBC Microcomputer at school or the one in my Dad’s office. That means I missed out on some of the apparent classics, like Mario Kart, so I can’t really comment on how Lego Racers compares to what many hold up as the king of kart games. All I can say is that I really liked Lego Racers.

In terms of gameplay and features there’s not really much to say about the original Lego Racers other than that it was a kart racer. You had little racing cars made of Lego and you went through a series of levels, trying to place ahead of the boss of each league. In each race you could collect power-ups to turn the tide of the race – missile attacks, oil slicks, rocket boosters, the usual fare. Unlike the latter Lego Racers 2, the first game didn’t have a big open-world for you to explore between races, just the levels and a few hidden shortcuts.

In fact, the only remotely original feature it had was the most logical and obvious one possible, given the franchise – you could build your own cars from unlocked bits of Lego. Supposedly the design might change how your car handled, but if there was any evidence or indication of that then it was so minimal that I can’t honestly say I ever noticed. Instead, I just tried to make my car look as badass as possible.

Games I Own: Lego Racers
You ever seen a Lego man catch scurvy?

The levels themselves were fun enough and pulled inspiration from some of the most popular Lego sets at the time – and the pirate levels were my favourite, obviously. In truth though, Lego Racers wasn’t a great game and, looking back, I can see there were several problems with it at the time. The cars handled too simply for starters, though it’s possible that was a deliberate choice based on age of the prospective players. All I know is that Lego missed a trick by not having cars spectacularly crashing into their component parts when hit by missile attacks.

There was a definite shortage of content too, with even my fourteen year-old self able to burst through it all in a single weekend. The levels were small and lacked much depth, with only the very last level presenting much of a challenge. In short, Lego Racers probably deserved the ‘mixed reaction’ that it was apparently met with, according to Wikipedia.

Still, Lego Racers enjoys a continued presence in my games collection despite these problems – mainly because I entertain some nostalgia for it and remember the halcyon days spent inside playing it in wonderful ignorance. It was summer outside and I lived in the country, so I should have been off making mischief instead of staying in to play a game I now recognise as mediocre at best…but, I stayed in.

Games I Own: Lego Racers
You're going down, Robin Hood!

I can remember clearly not truly enjoying Lego Racers in any meaningful sense, just playing it with a pleasurable serenity for hours and hours. I can remember getting frustrated at that last level against Rocket Racer, but other than that I was just playing the game and not even considering whether I liked it or not.

Nowadays, I like to think I have high standards (and am often accused of being unrealistic in my expectations) when it comes to games. Modern titles have to do something quite unusual and special to really impress me. I can still play and enjoy games that I know are definitely sub-par, but that knowledge nags at the back of my brain and bothers me to no end. It’s a far cry from my younger days when I could play a game for days without even asking myself whether it was good or if I was really enjoying it.

Number of Times Completed: Three or four, all in one summer holiday.

Random Trivia: The Lego Racers CD case for the PC version was notable in that the spine had Lego perforations on it, so you could incorporate it into Lego buildings.


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I-E-D 8th July 2010, 12:00 Quote
You made me want to go and play this again.

I swear your car would break into bits, as you had to drive through the healing barriers to repair your car.

Then they made an attraction at Legoland. You got a steering wheel and raced cars with the other 7 people inside the room. Of course I won every time. Even beat my brother.

*Goes into loft to find Lego Racers 1 +2*
NuTech 8th July 2010, 12:11 Quote
Have you tried Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts? It's dirt cheap on Xbox Live games-on-demand.

Many dismiss it as a 'kids game' but it's actually a great fun racer that really scratches the itch of building and improving your vehicles to overcome the challenges the game presents.
Dogbert666 8th July 2010, 12:12 Quote
I used to love this game as a kid. And yeh, it isn't actually all that great now, but that just didn't matter back then! The amount of hours I put into this is ridiculous.
capnPedro 8th July 2010, 13:09 Quote
Best kart racer of all time? For me it's Crash Team Racing.
Bobinator2000 8th July 2010, 13:59 Quote
That Lego spine on the CD case was used in nearly all Lego PC games at that time (I have Lego creator where you make a whole Lego city with police and stuff, that has a Lego spine).

Lego is awesome.
EvilMerc 8th July 2010, 14:06 Quote
Oh man, this brings back memories, I love(d) this game!
Cerberus90 8th July 2010, 14:18 Quote
I spent hours on this and Lego Rockraiders.

Awesome games.
CardJoe 8th July 2010, 14:22 Quote
Originally Posted by Bobinator2000
That Lego spine on the CD case was used in nearly all Lego PC games at that time (I have Lego creator where you make a whole Lego city with police and stuff, that has a Lego spine).

Lego is awesome.

I was always intrigued by Lego Creator, but I never got it. Could you do anything more than just assemble blocks?
bob 8th July 2010, 14:41 Quote
I had this on the ps1 and me and my brothers loved it ( I always used to win). It was a great game as I remember it; shame I recently found it in the front garden all scratched and ruined :(
Siskodata 8th July 2010, 15:28 Quote
Once again I invite bit-tech to make a review of Blockland.

This is an online construction game that is cheap and gets updated often and has many followers.
My son plays only this on his computer as he constructs online with other players. I saw him play fps games and even football with this game.
pimonserry 8th July 2010, 20:07 Quote
I had the demo. Ohh yes it was good.
dextro 8th July 2010, 22:38 Quote
I also had and loved this game. It's was dead simple but fun enough to entertain me for quite some time so it holds a special place in my memories.

And another bit of trivia: all the lego games back then (Creator, Chess, Racers, etc..) had the same kind of jewel case so you could stack them together. :)
ledbythereaper 8th July 2010, 23:43 Quote
I still have this, loved it at the time, along with Lego Island and the other game they had with the underground mining type people, can't remember it's name for the life of me.
Tasslehoff 9th July 2010, 13:06 Quote
I always enjoyed this great fun
adamjones01101 12th July 2010, 18:43 Quote
Originally Posted by capnPedro
Best kart racer of all time? For me it's Crash Team Racing.

Agreed. I had this for PS1, and even though I don't have the system anymore, it remains one of my favorite kart racing games of all time, even i comparison with MarioKart ad the like. Concerning LEGO Racers, I remember that because I didn't have a computer myself, I had to figure out my brother's BIOS password. But once I did, I could play LEGO Racers to my heart's content when he wasn't home.
LaM3a 18th July 2010, 22:14 Quote
Originally Posted by Cerberus90
I spent hours on this and Lego Rockraiders.

Awesome games.

Idem, I played/enjoyed them with my brother when I was ~6.
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