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MOTOR MASH
S.SHOT
Developer Eutechnyx Options
Distributer Ocean 1-4 Player
Game Type Racing Memory Card
Review Date December 1997 Multi-tap
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SCENE
GENRE
GRAPHICS
SOUND
PLAYABILITY
VALUE
OPINION
 
 
REVIEW INDEX
Setting the Scene
Eutechnyx seem to have had their hands full over the past year as their ambitious aspirations involved developing not one, but two racing titles. Total Drivin' (GTR) highlighted the serious side of business as the team succeeded in producing a high quality arcade racer which would appeal to the sensible racing fan. I could imagine four rivals linking up this game and settling down for an evening with a bottle of wine at hand. An event that requires pure concentration and few words spoken, where winning means everything.

Motor Mash, on the other hand, is a top down cartoon racer that aims more for those evening when you gather a few mates together for 'a bit of a laugh', stocked up with a crate of beer. Bumping and barging through the pack, blowing each other up with crazy weapons, easing an opponent off the screen and out of the race, fast frantic action that may gain you many trophies but kill off all of your pals - metaphorically, of course.

Genre
Motor Mash is a cartoon racing game from the programmer of the SNES classic racing game Micro Machines II. As one of the twelve wacky characters you can race across more than forty themed levels, each with their own unique hazards. Each of the characters has a number of weapons at their disposal which may be used to obliterate the opposition.

As a single player game it does have it limitations but the real beauty of Motor Mash begins to unfold when up to four players compete simultaneously by connecting a multi-tap or using the pad sharing option and will not suffer from a screen dissection as all of the players appear on a single screen.

Motor Mash also includes a selection of hidden weaponry which can be added to the players vehicle.

Graphics
The game opens with a splendid cartoon intro which serves to wet the appetite for the chaotic racing that lies ahead.

Each of the racing circuits are 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. Every part of the environment is constructed from polygons and is a true three dimensional object which can be viewed from every angle.

The camera angle remains above the vehicle that you control but intelligently anticipates each curve in the road showing just enough of the track ahead to keep you on your toes and not too much so as to spoil the gameplay.

The graphics are clear, bright and colorful and it is easy to see that a lot of time has been spent coming up with overall design of the game. Apparently the graphics for Motor mash were provided by the same team responsible for the comedy adventure Bud Tucker in Double Trouble. Using 3D studio, the cars were created as meshes before 'Warner Bros style' texture maps were applied to create a unique three dimensional cartoon look to the whole game.

There are some neat little touches that catch the eye while racing, whether it be the rising dust from the vehicle as you perform a powerslide around tight bends or the many interactive objects that litter the course such as working oil wells that spew their contents over the track.

There should be no confusion as to who is racing which vehicle because they each have their own distinct shape, color and driver. Cabby drives a large yellow taxi, Pretty prefers a red truck while Hippy obviously could not make up his mind and opted for a multicolored 60's style bus. Other vehicles include a submarine, tank, rocket and a cool ice cream van.

Sounds and Effects
The music is quirky enough with most of the tunes adopting a style that blends nicely with the theme for each circuit. The best of the bunch is a rousing Western style featuring the sound of upbeat banjos with the occasional 'YEE-HAA' thrown in for good measure. Another favorite of mine was the Nightmare levels which amusingly sounds like a cross between the old Batman theme (you know the one - dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner... BATMAN) and the haunting effects of the Adams Family.

Most of the sound effects are an array of bangs, crashes, toots and skids which add to the whole cartoony feel of Motor Mash.

Playability
First up is the options screen which offers a selection of 12 quirky characters, each with their own unique attributes and mildly amusing names. If the names don't take your fancy, then a click of the square button allows you to re-name your chosen character. Hey, you can even select and name the CPU controlled characters. Who needs mates?

Select the number of players from 1-4 where Eutechnyx have included the 'friendly' facility to share a control pad, so there's no need to fork out for a multi-tap and you can snuggle up close to your girlfriend at the same time. Very cozy.

Entering the 'Race Type' menu allows you to choose which game mode you wish to play.
Practice is a single player race against 3 CPU cars from a selection of available courses.
Knockout Races are based upon the process of elimination. The sole aim of these races is not to win by driving skill, but by forcing your opponents to lose. Knockout Races have a single, short, medium or long duration.
Single Player Tournaments require you to qualify for the next race by finishing in the top two places. The final race must be won. Race lengths are once again short, medium and long.
Multi Player Tournaments allow you to compete against up to three other human players. This mode is scored by using a credit system. Finish in the last two and you lose one credit. Lose all your credits and you go to bed early while your mates play on.
In the League, you compete against other players with one simple goal in mind: to finish top of the league of course. Points are awarded for your finishing position and the league tables are presented after each round.
Beat the Clock is a straightforward time trial which can be saved on your memory card so you can prove to your mates that you are not lying.
Team Knockout allows four humans to compete in two teams against each other, so sort out your own handicap system before playing.

The racing takes place across a variety of wacky cartoon worlds in which more than 40 levels are divided into a selection of themed terrains, which are Atlantis, the Wild West, a World of Nightmares, Arctic, the City and the Amazon Jungle. Each world has their own unique hazards.

For example, on one of the Wild West levels, the players must drive across a ricketty railway crossing. Unfortunately the track is still in use, and the Iron Horse Express is running late, therefore the player must time their runs so as to avoid being flattened by the oncoming train. There are many traps just waiting for you to fall into as oil wells spurt their slippery contents onto the track, while entering a cyclone will propel you high in the air before depositing you at the back of the pack.

Slip and slide your way around the icy Arctic course lined with snow laden pine trees. Watch out for the enormous footprints in the snow forewarning you of your trip into the prehistoric monsters jaws before exiting through it's spout onto a higher level. Timing is important as you attempt to pass the giant snowman as he leaps on and then off the racing line. This track takes balls... snowballs.

Prepare for your worst nightmares as you venture into the frightening world of the Nightmare tracks. Man eating plants lean over the racing line bring a new meaning to the term 'drive thru' snacks'. Giant spiders crawl from dark corners, vampire robots run amok and corpses rise from the graves.

Atlantis offers a new dimension to racing games as you submerge into ruins of the ancient sunken city. Not only can you move forward and reverse back but pressing the up and down buttons on the direction pad will raise you to higher levels and drop you down into cave entrances.

The bustling metropolis is the setting for the City courses. Drive through the winding streets or hop into an elevator and leap across the high rise roof tops. But beware, it's a long way down.

The Amazon races are set deep in the heart of the South American Jungle as you race through the ruins of the ancient Stinkas, hurtling over spiked pits and leaping across the tree tops of the giant pygmies.

So what about the weapons? Each of the twelve selectable cartoon characters will have a number of weapons available which may be used to dispose of their opponents or quite simply to destroy main sections of the course and generally cause mayhem and confusion. All the favorites are there, machine guns, shrink rays, heat seeking missiles, projecting punch-glove and many, many more. Simple to collect - just drive over the icon. Simple to use - a click of the shoulder button.

As previously noted, Motor Mash becomes a game within a game when multi-play mode is implemented. Your opponents are eliminated by using a 'catch up' method of play, or simply blasting them to smithereens with a wide array of destructive weapons.

Value for Money
The graphics are cool and the sound effects are excellent, however I feel that the single player game has limited appeal. Motor Mash is certainly not the type of game that I could play alone for weeks on end, but then again the same could be said for Micro Machines V3. Get out and socialize, gather together a few mates and then enjoy the multi-player experience that this game offers.

Opinion
MARTIN
GRAPHICS: Good There ARE a lot of similarities to Micro Machines V3, which is no bad deal, but I felt more at ease with the way that the cars handle in Motor Mash. If there was a slight flaw in the almost perfect M.M.V3, it was the fact that the cars could be over-responsive. This resulted in your vehicle toppling from the circuit on so many occasions that an element of frustration crept into the gameplay. Some people will argue that this was the difficulty curve that gave the Codemasters racer longevity and after-all, practice makes perfect, but correspondence from younger players proved otherwise. Look, I'm not knocking Micro as it still stands as the ultimate multi-player game available, I'm just saying that Motor Mash it a bit easier to play which should suit the younger audience.
SOUND: Good
PLAYABILITY: Good
VALUE: Good
OVERALL 79%

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