It's not easy being green...
The Seventies was a great decade that left an important mark upon the history of man. It was a time of war and a time of peace. It was a time when John Denver was hot and condoms were not. There was free love and there were almost free drugs. Lots of mind numbing drugs, in fact.
And out of this drug induced haze rose a man. He was a great man that gave life to the lifeless. He was but one life that would ultimately touch the lives of many. No, I'm not talking about Mahatma Ghandi; I'm talking about Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets.
Although Jim is no longer with us, his creations still live on. It seems like Kermit and the gang have done everything that a Muppet could possibly do. That is, until Midway got a hold of the license and threw them into race karts.
Welcome to Muppet RaceMania. It's everything you could ever want in a game with strange looking puppets that race go-karts. Seeing as how there are plenty of kart racing tiles around, Kermit and company sure have their work cut out for them. So dim the music and light the lights, 'cuz it's Muppet racing time!
Muppet RaceMania is packed with tons of options that will keep you playing. Players have the ability to control 25 different unlockable characters and 25 different unlockable cars. The old generation of Muppets, with Kermit, Piggy, and Fozzy join with the newer generation, including characters such as Clifford, Bean Bunny, and Sal, the bodyguard monkey, to give players plenty of choices.
Characters and cars aren't the only unlockable goodies that you'll find in the game. There are also several secret levels that can be accessed as you play.
A very cool cherry on top of Midway's Muppet racing treat is a short movie clip prior to each race. Before starting the madness, you'll see a clip from one of the many Muppet movies that will introduce the level that you're about to race. Anyone who's ever watched a Muppet movie (and enjoyed it) will get a big kick out of these nostalgic clips.
RaceMania's control is a bit testy and takes some getting used to. While driving, you'll notice that each kart's responsiveness is a smidgeon on the sluggish side. This can spell disaster for high-speed turns and result in a face to face greeting with Mr. Wall.
A bad camera provides a little more rain on the Muppet parade. The one angle isn't too terrible, but as soon as you get bumped around, the view gets messy and you wind up a little more than slightly disoriented. Other than that, the only other problem with this game is the long loading times between races. I suggest taking a trip to the bathroom or something.
Graphically, Muppet RaceMania is standard Playstation fare. You won't find anything particularly nasty or anything particularly wonderful in here.
The game's sound totally fits with the zany Muppet mood. Several fun music tracks are taken straight out of the Muppet movies and provide the perfect atmosphere for racing with weirdos. There is even some intro commentary by the masters of two-line comedy, Waldorf and Statler!
The track design also sticks to the Muppet theme perfectly. Based on scenarios from the Muppet movies, these tracks come complete with shortcuts and varying terrain.
As with any kart game, wacky weapons are a must. RaceMania blasts through this category in full Muppet force. There are fish to be flung, penguin bombs to be placed, and even chickens to be hurled ruthlessly at your opponents. Each character also has a special attack that can be unleashed upon unsuspecting enemies. Collect enough boost berries and you'll be able to spew forth your maniacal Muppet power!
For your racing pleasure, Muppet RaceMania contains more than just your standard race mode. There are Obstacle Courses set up in 3D-side scroller-style, so you'll be getting away from your standard behind the back view. Ramps, spinning platforms, magnets, and more stand between you and your goal.
Next we have the Battle mode. Muppet battles perform just like standard kart battles, except that you can also damage opponents by ramming them. Perfect for the "Animal" in you.
The Adventure mode provides all kinds of challenges for Muppet racers. In order to unlock some of the game's secrets, players are sent out on quests to collect items that are hidden throughout the course. If you're looking to find new characters and courses, this is the place.
Believe it or not, there are even more modes to unlock! Besides the four standard modes, there are eight additional secret modes, bringing the grand total to twelve! Just become the best Muppet racer you can be, and you'll be chasing the chicken in no time.
Strangely, Muppet RaceMania turns out to be one of the better kart games on the block. Its combination of good humor, tons of unlockables, and mucho Muppet modes brings out what Muppets do best - have fun and entertain.