playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews




Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3



Get your PSX games HERE!






1-8 Players

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

April 1997


Setting the Scene

Hooray! It's here at last. The game that ruled as the greatest multi-player racing game for years has finally arrived on the 32-bit console.
I was beginning to believe that Micro Machines V3 was a figment of my imagination as it must be some ten months since those first screen shots were released to tempt our taste buds. As October '96 passed by it became obvious that a Christmas release was not forthcoming and a decision was taken to set a new launching date for March. The feeling of disappointment at missing out on the bumper Christmas market must have been replaced by the emotion of ecstasy when Codemasters realized that their new release date would coincide with the massive price reduction of the PlayStation console in Europe. The sight of all those kiddies drooling over the store demo of Micro Machines V3 will now be replaced by the chink of their pocket money hitting the back of the tills, talk about 'every cloud has a silver lining'.

So what exactly are Micro Machines I hear the uninitiated cry? For those who don't know, they are toys that are similar to the old Matchbox cars of yesteryear. The difference being, unlike most toys, they became smaller - much, much smaller...... but they also grew big, in that they sold and sold and sold. Of course, like most games or toys that sell well, the computer game followed, surprisingly with the same sort of success and it eventually appeared on just about every available format. Then along came the sequel, updated for the new systems, and once again the formula worked with Micro Machines 2 proclaimed as an astounding hit.

Now, since the introduction of the next generation consoles, Codemasters found themselves with a new challenge of updating their Mega-hit with enough new ideas to persuade both new and old gameplayers that Micro Machines V3 is the experience for you.


From its inception in 1990, on the 8-bit Nintendo system, Micro Machines video racing game is a universally acclaimed experience.

Micro Machines V3 is a racing game with a difference in that you drive miniature vehicles around the household taking in courses everywhere from the kitchen to the back garden and even the snooker room, all at great speed and fortunately with easy to handle controls.

The game can be played by any number of player from one to eight and will not suffer from a screen dissection as all of the players appear on a single screen.

A new addition to Micro Machine racing is the inclusion of hidden weaponry which can be added to the players vehicle.


That brings me nicely onto the biggest change of all. With its new graphical capability, the PlayStation in to play host to the first fully 3D Micro Machines game, as all previous versions have been in a top down, 2D view format. Each of the racing circuits are now set in a true 3D modelled world that allows the player to drive under and over obstacles, while many circuits permit you to explore the multi-level track designs and even leave the racing line to search out the many hidden secrets that are scattered around the scenery.

The perfect example of this feature is displayed in the Cereal Killer track. The race commences on the breakfast table that is messed up with pools of spilt milk, sticky syrup running from the neck of an upset bottle and littered with giant life-like mugs, jugs of fruit juice and cutlery sets. One lap around the table, through the tunnels and over the jumps that consist of a cereal box supported by two coasters, then its straight off the edge, onto a chair and a final leap onto the floor. Following the line of the course takes you past the realistic sleeping cat, up and over the discarded skateboard and past the strewn boots (the attention to detail is astounding, even the boots have holes in their soles). At this point you are thinking 'how am I ever going to get back on the table?' Then right in front of you appears an ironing board ramp that acts as a conveyor belt to jettison you through the air, only to land back on the table on the home straight, where the sticky syrup will grind you to a halt just before you overshoot the table again. Amazing.

The actual racing tracks you must follow are marked out in various forms, all of which fit into the surrounding scenario. For example the breakfast table has tracks made from leftover cereal and when you move to racing on the wooden floor, the tracks change to chalk drawn lines. Moving outside into the garden and you will see that the tracks now consist of twigs and pebbles while the chemistry lab circuit is lined with a trail of iron filings. The most colorful interpretation of this idea is displayed on the restaurant route as you are guided by a line of peas and carrots.

The graphics are clear, bright and realistic and it is easy to see that a lot of time has been spent coming up with overall design of the game. All of the vehicles are fully rendered and built up from polygons while every backdrop has been created as a 3D model that can be viewed from any angle. Honest, I could go on and on about the quality of the graphics, whether it be the burning smoke from your vehicles tyres as you perform a power slide around the fruit juice chicane, or the rippling effects as your speedboat disturbs the still waters of the riverbank course, or the water droplets that grind your vehicle to a sudden halt if you attempt to pass through them, or the crane flies that hover above the water reeds, or the...., or the... Faultless.

The previously fixed camera angle now pans in and out to provide the perfect view, showing just enough of the track ahead to keep you on your toes and not too much so as to spoil the gameplay.

Micro Machines V3 includes the return of all of your favorite characters only this time they have been brought to life by some motion-capture magic. This creates 'living' cartoon characters that not only move with individual flair and personality, but they talk too, that is all except Spider who prefers to provide a cool nod of the head when introduced.

Sounds and Effects

The sound has also been enhanced with some nice little touches. The cars sound realistic without getting on your nerves, the crashes sound, well, like crashes. Try to steer clear of the pets, as they don't take too kindly to having their tails driven over, while the busy sound of the bumble bee in the garden cannot fail to distract you from the task in hand.

Once again Codemasters have given us that little bit extra with the accurate sounds of your tiny vehicle connecting with any part of the scenery. A collision with a coffee mug results not in the sound of porcelain being struck, but it actually sounds like a mug full of coffee. Likewise with a can of fizzy drink and a collision with the mobile phone on the dining table sets it off ringing. Driving over the restaurant tables you can hear the constant background noise of diners chatting over lunch, while the trips across the classroom desks are accompanied by the racket of the school playground.


The game opens with the best options screen to date. None of those boring lists that are a chore to work through, but set out with a Theme Park style in the form of a drive through, where you pick your option by steering your car through the appropriate garage, and what a lot of garages there are. Twenty three in all, now that must be some kind of record for in game options.

The main options are one player, multi player, four, six or eight player teams and party play with each being split into a selection of time trials, tournaments, challenges and head to head competitions You also get a practice mode that consists of lessons from the delightful Cherry's School of Driving, where you must tackle five test circuits, which you must pass to get your licence. Now Cherry's a bit of a tease with her amusing comments of "Faster, faster, don't slow down" and the side splitting "If you don't get it right, you can stay here and do it all day, twy again!" You will find yourself crashing into the slalom cones just to rile her. Brilliant idea for young and old alike.

Controlling your vehicle is easy, but you will need to practice to become an accomplished player. The basic controls are accelerate, brake/reverse and jump which are used along side the directional pad and after playing for an hour or so you begin to feel that you are controlling a miniature remote control car. A shoulder button is used to sound your horn or to activate any power ups you have collected. Each of the 30 Micro Machines vehicles available appear to have an individual personality in the way that the engine and horn sounds, the speed and handling, and their own distinct looks, with the selection ranging from sports cars to tanks and speed boats to hovercrafts.

A further new addition to the game is that you can now get power ups and weapons. They are short lasting but can be very handy and include speed ups, land mines, vanishing potions, force-fields and a grabber that is attached to the front of your car and enables you to pick up your opponents and throw them behind you, thus improve your position. The most impressive weapon of all is usually found tucked away from the racing line, but if collected a giant 'roadrunner' type hammer appears from your vehicle to smash your opponent to smithereens and relegates them to the back of the pack. The power ups appear in the form of a gift box and to collect you just simply drive over them, then fire away. Power Ups are an optional extra and can therefore be turned on and off accordingly.

There are initially 26 courses available with a further 24 to unveil and they are split into eight themed groups.

The Chemistry Lab features many wonderful tracks such as Stinky Sinks, Chemical Warfare and the brilliant Formula X where your F1 racing car is sucked up from the track, squeezed through a chemistry set, onto a Bunsen burner, then blasted into the air to land on a higher level to continue the race.

The Pool Hall tracks include Swerve Shot, Rack 'N' Roll, Right on Cue and Love Triangle where you must skip from table to table by launching your car from the playing card ramps, travelling through the racking triangle before landing safely on another table. The tables are littered with obstacles in the form of pool balls, dice and wads of cash, whereas the pockets have a dual purpose of either an early retirement or a shortcut to another part of the course.

Inside the Classroom you can tackle diverse tracks such as Calculator Risk as you race from desk to desk that use rulers for bridges or perform flying leaps launched from calculators and folders. Take a spin around the geology class in Truckers Luck or chance your luck at surviving Learning Curves where the opened school books act as tunnels and ramps. Once again the attention to detail is amazing with the desk tops defaced with humorous graffiti and chewing gum stuck on the inside of a chicane. Even the school books provide a wry smile with the titles of 'Learn how to be a Super-Model' or 'Learn how to be a Dolphin Trainer'. Huh, the kids of today.

The Restaurant tracks are jam packed with obstacles as crusty baguettes are used for the bridges, wine bottle bends, after dinner mint barriers, vegetable lined racing lines and look out for the mobile phones and open wallets with credit cards at the ready.

A visit to The Beach is recommended if you fancy a spot of beach racing across the bumpy sands in Beach Buggies, Bikini Blazer or Pebble Dash, while you can even drive up the outside of a sand castle, into the keep and out through the back door during the Sand Blaster race.

The Garden is the setting for Destruction Dirtbox and Beware of the Dog as you speed around the patios, launching from the skateboards straight into the cold nose of a basking dalmation, grrrrr.

Crash and Fern is set down by the riverbank where you can launch a speedboat among the reeds and the water flowers. The fluffy white clouds are reflected onto the still waters and are broken only by the ripples from your duel outboard engines, while a little jump will see the water react with an impressive ever growing circle.

The tables are set for a session of breakfast time fun as you return to the house and take in the tracks Wire Up, Brake-fast Bends, Cheesy Jumps, and Breakfast at Cherry's. Now our Cherry is quite a messy eater as the tables are strewn with alphabet cereal, pools of milk and dollops of jam everywhere. Wedges of cheese are used as ramps, condiment sets are bridged by a teaspoon and if you get too close to the toaster you will be drawn inside, browned off , then ejected high into the air with your machine bursting into a ball of flames.

Depending on the racing mode selected, the objective is to complete a predetermined number of laps before your opponents. However in the dual player mode, you have a set of eight lights at the left side of the screen - half your color, half the color of your opponent. The idea is to get all of the lights lit as your color and this is achieved by gaining a substantial lead over the opponent you are racing, about one screens length. The winner is the first person to turn all the lights to their color.

Each time you complete a group of races you will be awarded a Prize Car which should be saved on your memory card. Now get your mates to bring over their memory cards and you can now have a game of Keepsies. The rules are simple, if you lose a race, the winner gets to keep your car as it is transferred onto their memory card. Brilliant.

Value for Money

Micro Machines V3 is everything that we could have hoped for, and much more, and will surely prove to be the best multi-player game available on any format. The long delay has allowed the developers to provide a treasure that you will hold in your collection for many years. Go out and buy this game now and if your store is sold out, then order it, and if the list is too long then nick your mates copy.





If you have got any kids, buy it for them, but I can guarantee that many a tear will be shed as they won't get you off it. This game has everything, user friendly and responsive controls, easy learning curve, addictive gameplay and many superb examples of interactive scenery. Even the Time Trials provide a shadow of the best time for you to compete against.











This game is fun with a capital "F". Lots of tracks to keep the solo player busy for a long time, but where this game rises above the competition is in its multiplayer modes. Its guaranteed to cause bust-ups with both family and friends as you knock each other off tables, hit each other with mallets and blow each other up with mines. The 3D effect works very well and the detail in the graphics are up there with the best - this is a winner!








Get your PSX games HERE!