In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Micro Machines

Moby ID: 3887
NES Specs
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Description official descriptions

If you're bored of racing Formula 1 cars, rally cars or MotoGP bikes in their natural habitats, the Micro Machines series could be for you. It involves racing miniatures representing particular vehicle types across a particular terrain found around the house. The Sports Cars race on the desktop, 4x4s in the sandpit, Formula 1 cars on a snooker table, and so on.

These levels were packed with variation. The Snooker tables has the track painted on, although this is open to deviation (as are most levels), and had you racing through the pockets and across the rim of the table. Tanks raced as well, with the chance of shooting out your opponent if they got directly in front of you. The desktop levels include binders to jump across, pencil-sharpeners to avoid, and lots of visual jokes in the open homework.

Viewed from overhead with small graphics, the races include up to 4 cars. In one player challenge mode you race through the 21 tracks in a set order, selecting your 3 opponents as you go along (adding a fair amount of strategy - ideally you should aim to eliminate the better CPU cars early on), eliminating one after every third race (assuming that you can finish in the top 2 of a race within your 3 lives). If you win 3 races in a row without using a continue you get a time-trial race which can earn you an extra life.

The real innovation of the game was in the multiplayer modes. You started with 4 points each, and when one car gets far enough ahead to force the other car off-screen, the slider moves in their favour. Once it reached the end (which involved beating them 4 times more than they beat you) you win the level, although if 3 laps were completed, the person leading at that point is declared the winner - with a sudden death play off if scores are level. 9 of the tracks are available in this mode, although you can also play this Head to Head system as a 1-player game across all the tracks.


  • 微型机器 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (NES version)

11 People

Game Design
Art Manager
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Average score: 78% (based on 63 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 117 ratings with 2 reviews)


The Good
You do not see too much of the Micro Machines today, but they were a successful toy line during the early - mid 1990s.

The tiny toy cars were cool in themselves and, as an added bonus, their commercials featured a super fast talking man, whose name escapes me at the moment (but he also did the voice acting in the 1986 Transformers: The Move film).

Then, like today, anything popular with kids and juveniles was bound to get its own video game. As luck would have it, Micro Machines is actually a well done, enjoyable video game to play.

The programmers wisely resisted the urge to crank out a bad, poorly designed game in the hope that the familiar franchise tie-in would sell it.

The game features nice 16-bit era graphics, music and sound effects. The control mechanics are pretty easy to pick up, without too many trouble, and the controls consistently respond well.

As these are Micro Machines many of the levels are wonderfully designed race tracks, which creative kids would actually design, assuming that their parents would let them.

You can race against the computer, but the real treat is being able to tap into the multi-player mode, which was pretty cutting edge for its day.

The Bad
It is hard to find too many serious faults with the Micro Machines video game adaption.

Micro Machines were tiny toys and the video game adaption has followed suit. Most of the time this is not really a problem in the slightest, but the overhead perspective and small playable vehicles may turn off some gamers who are more use to the modern race car gaming.

The Bottom Line
Micro Machines is a fun, well designed 16-bit era, racing game that pays proper respect to the Mirco Machine franchise. It is a pleasant reminder that video games based on popular franchises need not be an embarrassment.

Genesis · by ETJB (428) · 2013

Micro Machines But Not Micro Fun

The Good
Micro Machines was a great little game. A top down racer that was frenetic and addictive. This was a game that was great in single player mode but also had a fun two player versus mode.

The main body of the game was in the challenge mode. You chose a character to play as and raced your way through a couple of dozen levels. Each level was usually a familiar scene, such as a breakfast table or pool table to a bathtub. Each had been modified into a racing circuit. In micro machines there were several types of vehicle to drive, ranging from sportscars to speedboats, each of these was different to drive and were found on different levels.

The difficulty curve was about perfect and the game was easy to get into to. The graphic detail was superb also. It was a triumph of both originality & playability from Codemasters.

The Bad
I find the music in this game to be a little grating.

The Bottom Line
A quirky top down racer which is very enjoyable to play.

Genesis · by Liam Dowds (39) · 2003


Subject By Date
Licensed Title? vedder (71223) Oct 14, 2008


1001 Video Games

The NES version of Micro Machines appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Micro Machines for the NES was available in two different formats, the first was a regular cartridge, and the second was a compact cartridge which required the Aladdin Deck Enhancer. The idea behind the compact cartridges was to take circuitry that was common to all NES cartridges and remove it placing it in the Deck Enhancer, leaving the game cartridge containing only parts that were unique to each game (mainly the game code.) Since the game cartridge now contained fewer parts, the manufacturing cost (and thus the cost to the consumer) was to be lower. To play the game you would plug the compact cartridge into the deck enhancer which would form a complete NES cartridge which could then be used in the normal fashion. The idea never took off and very few games appeared in compact cartridge form (all of those that did were by Codemasters, who also invented the Aladdin Deck Enhancer.)


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – Readers' Special Award for 1993


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jason Walker.

CD-i added by Corn Popper. SNES added by Shoddyan. Game Gear added by chirinea. SEGA Master System added by Hervé Piton. NES, Amiga added by Servo. Game Boy, Genesis added by quizzley7.

Additional contributors: Servo, Unicorn Lynx, Martin Smith, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added April 23, 2001. Last modified June 15, 2024.