Reviews Archive
         
  Micro Machines 2
 
 
 
  Graphics
       
      Mega Drive SNES
       
     
   
       
   
   
       
   
   
       
   
   
       
  Detail
 

Mega Drive - The detail here is all very well done, and is full of flair. The theme of the game (miniature cars racing around everyday environments) gives a lot of room for imagination, and the courses are littered with any kind of everyday object you can think of, from cutlery, to tools, to plants, or food. Nice touches also abound everywhere (such as the racing lines drawn out with peas, and corn on the cobs as rolling hazards in the kitchen table course).

There's some dithering here used to increase the perceived colour counts, and add a transparent effect, but for the most part its not too noticeable, and works pretty well.

SNES - The graphics here have actually been straight transferred over from the original, with no changes made to them at all (even the transparencies are still dithered), as such the game would have had an identical level of detail, if not for the fact that the resolution of this version has been dropped from the Mega Drive original.

Outside of the resolution downgrade the only really noticeable graphical differences here take place not in-game, but during the menu screens. The character portraits for instance have been changed, and have had their faces, and skin improved, with more shading, but on the other hand some of them have actually had their clothes slightly downgraded (Spider for instance is now missing the studs off his jacket, and has less shading on his t-shirt).

 
  Winner Is: Mega Drive
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  Colour
 

Mega Drive - The colour here doesn't exactly blow you away, but its certainly acceptable. Some areas look a little low colour, and its not hugely optimised for colour counts, but it never looks outright bad, and many of the courses actually do have quite nice colour use.

SNES - Again, there aren't really many differences here at all, a few colours here and there have been swapped out for newer ones (wood is a slightly deeper shade of brown now for instance) but its usually pretty much the same.

 
  Winner Is: Draw
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  Animation
 

Mega Drive - The cars move well, and rotate quite smoothly, other than that the only thing to bring up is the character portraits, which are all animated fairly well, and add some personality to the characters.

SNES - The cars seem to have the same degree of movement as those of the Mega Drive game, the portraits are slightly cut down in animation frames (dwayne for instance no longer moves his tongue from side to side).

 
  Winner Is: Mega Drive
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  Scrolling
 

Mega Drive - The game scrolls pretty much perfectly, and the courses often have some cool parallax for the floor.

SNES - This seems to be identical to the Mega Drive version.

 
  Winner Is: Draw
 
  Sound
   
  Music
 

Mega Drive - The game doesn't include much in the way of music, outside of the bonus levels there's no in-game music to compare, so I guess that the main thing here is the menu music. Where it comes to the menu music its all pretty respectable, but it does sound a bit harsh, and isn't pushing the Mega Drive's sound chip.

SNES - Deciding between this and the Mega Drive version is actually fairly difficult, the percussion here sounds to me to be better, but the lead no longer sounds like its trying to emulate a guitar like it was in the original, going for more of a more muted midi sound, there's a new piano section added later on which sounds respectable.

Like the Mega Drive game this is also a little disappointing for the hardware, whilst that version sounded a little harsh, this version sounds a bit flat, and lifeless. Overall I'm giving this to Mega Drive as its music is livelier.

 
  Winner Is: Mega Drive
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Sound FX
 

Mega Drive - The sound effects are pretty decent here, though the car engines tend to sound a little bit like hairdryers, and when you hit something the sound effect is lacking a bit in punch.

SNES - I'd say this is a bit better, the cars have more of a deeper sound to them, and crashing has more of an impact, though I do think the skidding sound is a little more muffled here.

 
  Winner Is: SNES
   
Gameplay

Mega Drive - Micro Machines is a top down racing game where you race miniature cars around everyday environments. The game has imaginative courses filled with different types of terrain (such as ice, or slippery sand), and a plethora of jumps, hazards (rollers, snooker balls, drills), and bridges. The car handling is well done, with the cars having a speedy, dynamic feel to them, and the 4-player mode is so good it remains a stalwart choice for any party.

SNES - Firstly, the controls are actually quite a problem here. The cars in the SNES version of Micro Machines are slower than they were in the Mega Drive game, and the turning is less responsive, they also don't skid around the corners in the same way that they once did, instead coming to more of an abrupt stop. Overall I would say that the dynamism of the original game isn't quite here anymore.

Whilst the main controls could possibly be argued as a matter of taste (though I personally remain unconvinced of such a standpoint), one thing which I feel can't be argued is how they are affected by the game's physics. The SNES version has something wrong with the way it handles how outside elements affect your control. Where it comes to the corn-on-the-cob rollers for instance, on Mega Drive you could board a roller, and then turn to offset its pull, whilst here when you board a roller it completely locks your controls, rolling you off the course (you actually have to make sure to be at an angle prior to boarding), other issues happen on the rapids stage, as soon as you need to fight the current, and are close to an edge of the course, again, the controls are mysteriously locked, forcing you to reverse.

Other than the inferior control, the AI in this version is noticeably worse. On the aforementioned rollers section for instance the computer opponents will fall off over and over 9 times out of 10, whilst in the Mega Drive version they will usually pass it with little trouble. It may be my imagination, but I have a suspicion that the computer cars also cheat (they seem to get sudden bursts of speed on later levels to keep up).

Your reaction time in this version has decreased. If you look at the screenshots above you'll notice that the SNES version has a smaller horizontal view (you can't see as far forward), this is due to the drop in resolution that it has had to go through. This loss isn't quite as bad as it first seems, because the slower car speed offsets it somewhat, but its still an annoyance (even the Mega Drive version is often criticised for not giving you enough reaction time, and this is worse).

Lastly this version has slower load times across the board, races take a little longer to start up, and menu screens take a little longer to navigate.

Winner Is: Mega Drive
 
Presentation

Mega Drive - This has quite nice overall presentation.

There are wavy backgrounds for most of the menu screens, each character has their own win, and lose animated poses between races, and the course menu screen has large, detailed artwork representing each stage.

SNES - Mainly this is the same as the Mega Drive game, but the course-choosing menu has taken a very serious hit (see bottom screenshot), and looks much, much worse than before (and it still loads slower than before too).

Winner Is: Mega Drive
 
  Misc
 

The Mega Drive version of the game was released on a J-Cart, which is a cartridge designed by Codemasters themselves to include two extra joystick ports embedded in the cartridge, thereby allowing 4-player matches without requiring a multi-tap. The SNES version's cartridge didn't include such a feature.

 
   
  Conclusion
 

This comparison is pretty cut and dry all in all. The graphics of the two versions are virtually identical, with the SNES version just being in lower resolution, and the SNES version also plays noticeably weaker, and lacks in presentation.

  Overall Winner Is: Mega Drive
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