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While Jim Henson is sadly no longer with us his Muppet legacy continues to roll on with this wacky karting extravaganza based around the lavish sets of their blockbuster movies. So without further ado "it's time to get things started" as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, Fozzie Bear and special, surprise guests race, bump and blast their way to the finish line in a frenzied flurry of fur and felt.
Kart racing has been around and served up in extra special thick doses since those early gaming days when Mario finally got it right. Unfortunately lessons from that Nintendo classic were never really taken on board as many developers continued to disappoint, but here we have the perfect example when they just about get it right.
Not only do you get the chance to select your favorite Muppet character as a driver, but they can eventually be mixed and matched with up to 25 different vehicles (although only 4 are initially up for grabs). Controlling the mini kart is child's-play so you will soon be tearing around the circuits without due care and attention, which is just how a kart racer should be. Apart from accelerate and breaking maneuvers each kart has the capability to jump allowing further dimensions to be added to the gameplay. It's also worth mentioning that the shoulder buttons are configured to turbo boost and launch weapons out of the vehicle, so watch your back!
The gameplay is just as you'd imagine, trying to win a crazy race over a set number of laps, while trying to avoid all sorts of mayhem going on around you. Each circuit is littered with fruit and vegetable pick-ups that feed your boost meter, and fish, chicken, penguin and bombs may be gathered and launched as weapons. There are ample single and two player game modes of which most are enjoyable. I say 'most' because I couldn't quite get into the Battle Mode. it always seemed as if that nutcase, Animal, was driving all of the other karts. Insane? You bet!
The graphics, although not perfect, are suitable for this style of game. There's nothing more annoying in a racing game where your vehicle constantly gets snagged onto the scenery and even though this doesn't happen in Muppet Race Mania, be warned, as there are plenty of alcoves and angled corners to be pushed into. The Muppet characters are instantly recognizable and the levels represent scenes from the 6 Muppet movies: The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, Muppets Take Manhattan, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and Muppets From Space.
Between each level you get a classic clip from one of the above movies, which should keep those Muppet fans happy. The music is well suited, while the sound effects are as mad as the action. In summary, if it's a kart racer you are after then you won't do any harm by checking Muppet Race Mania out first.
· Unique Muppet kart racing, full of comic chaos and wacky antics
· 12 diverse game modes that include stunt arena, adventure, tournament, battle and even chicken chase
· 25 selectable Muppets including Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal and the Swedish Chef among others
· 25 selectable vehicles including a Doozer Tipper, Dr. Teeth's Hotrod and the Pigs in Space ship
· Each Muppet character has their own unique special moves
· 28 zany tracks based on their 6 blockbuster movies (and includes 28 exclusive movie clips throughout the game)
· Races take place on courses themed to each of the six Muppet Movies - four per movie - including race tracks, battle courses, adventure and special stunt courses!
· The game itself has one and two-player modes, tie breaker courses, battle modes, adventure mode, tournaments, puzzles to solve, pickups to collect and dozens of cool secrets to unlock.
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): Yes (2)
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes
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