LEGO Racers: Build, Customize, Race and Win!

LEGO Racers: Build, Customize, Race and Win!

[funky music] Time for another late-’90s game I can’t stay away! And the main reason for this foray today is LEGO Racers, developed by High Voltage Software and published by LEGO Media
in 1999 for Windows PCs. And, yep, it was also released for the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 later on, and even the Game Boy Color. But it’s the original PC version
we’ll be looking at throughout this video. And my copy was sealed until now, so let’s fix that. Open it up and see what it came with. First is the game disc itself inside a jewel case, as to be expected. But not as expected were these two $30 rebates for the 3dfx Voodoo2 1000 video card. Kinda makes sense, seeing as
this was released during a time where 3D acceleration being
required, instead of optional, was still a relatively new thing. And while you can see there
were plenty of competing cards, 3dfx was the clear frontrunner in ’99. There’s also a LEGO Media software registration card, another rebate offer,
this time for the game LEGO Creator, a quick reference sheet with
keyboard and gamepad controls alike, the all-important technical reference guide with 12 pages of troubleshooting tips a fold-out LEGO Media product catalog filled with all the LEGO game offerings of the day, and finally, the 35-page instruction manual, which is as brightly colored and easy to follow as any modern LEGO manual would be. Gotta love how even a game
meant for kids ages six and up got a box full of goodies like this back then. Sure, it’s mostly advertising,
but it’s LEGO advertising, so it gets by on style points alone. LEGO Racers begins with the
prerequisite logo animations. And yes, in case you’re wondering, that is the same High Voltage
Software that still exists today, known for the PC ports of games
like Mortal Kombat X and Injustice, as well as heading up development on titles like Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell and their own series, The Conduit. After this, you get a delightful
pre-rendered 3D intro video which, thanks to the LEGO aesthetic
and its exaggerated campy antics, still holds up quite well. You’re then greeted by the main menu, letting you do things with menus, mainly. And I particularly like how the
Options menu is so protective, warning you to grab an adult
before messing with stuff, and even then you’re barely
given anything to adjust. How charming. Starting a new game has you
creating your own minifig as an avatar with a selection of body parts and accessories from various contemporary LEGO sets. You also get to create your own vehicle to race with, and again you’re provided with a
bunch of LEGO bricks and pieces. There’s a decent amount in the beginning, but as you play the game, you’ll unlock more sets. The design of your vehicles doesn’t
seem to affect anything notable, though, which is probably a good thing,
since the design tools themselves aren’t very pleasant to use, just a bit clunky. After this, it’s off to the races, and while you can play a single
race against random opponents, the clock, or a friend via split-screen, the Circuit Race career mode
is where you’ll unlock new stuff. There are several pre-made racers to choose from, but as I like to say, “If you can play with yourself
and no one’s stopping you, then go for it!” There are seven circuits to complete which feature several tracks
from a selection of 12, each with their own themes
and unique racers to beat. The main guy you’re out to get
is the godlike Rocket Racer, but you won’t even come
across him until Circuit Seven, the final circuit. But until then, you’ve got Captain Redbeard, King Kahuka, Basil the Batlord, Johnny Thunder, Baron von Barron, and Gypsy Moth. (beep)
(jaunty, whimsical music) And, yep, it’s a kart racer, complete with all the standard
arcadey control schemes, slippery power sliding and
defensive and offensive power-ups. On the surface, LEGO Racers
is just another example of taking a proven gameplay
formula that sells at the time and slapping a LEGO theme on top of it. It’s fast and colorful and filled
with all the expected charm, but is it really anything
special outside of nostalgia and just revisiting an older
game for curiosity’s sake? Well, actually, yeah, I’d say so! Looking a bit further reveals
a few features and quirks that sets this game apart in my mind. And the first of which is the power-up system. Or rather the power-up
power-up system. (chuckles) Each one of the colored bricks floating
around the track will grant you an ability. And you can only have one at a time,
as you might anticipate. Red offers projectiles, blue is defense, green is speed and yellow drops hazards. But then there are those sparkly white bricks which can be collected and stacked on each other to power up the power-ups. I love this idea! It’s almost more akin to what
certain scrolling spaceship shooters do, but in kart racing form. Now I’m not saying that a power-up
power-up system is entirely unique to LEGO Racers, because of course it’s not. It’s just the way that it’s
implemented here in this game, with this specific set of upgrades
and the way that they’re used, that really makes me happy. You know exactly what ability you’re
going to get with each color pickup. But if you don’t use it
immediately and you’re patient and hold onto it long enough, you can grab those white bricks
and you’ll be even more powerful. And several of those powers
are just lots of fun to use like the grappling hook that latches onto an opponent and propels you past them, the Lightning Wand that zaps
opponents in front of you and disables their vehicle, and the ridiculous Warp Turbo Boost which drops you into a wormhole and teleports you way ahead onto the track. And these aren’t just gimmicks flippantly used because some of the races almost require you to utilize the powered-up power-ups to their fullest. That’s because despite its low age recommendation LEGO Racers is not the most forgiving game. The AI is often ruthless, taking every possible advantage they can to launch themselves far, far ahead of you with almost no chance of overtaking them again. The track designs themselves
aren’t the most friendly, either, with plenty of sharp turns and hard edges that are easy to hit and get stuck on, even with skilled power sliding technique. Plus, you have to earn a podium finish to continue on to the next set of tracks. Otherwise, you’ll have to restart
the entire set all over again. And there’s no restarting individual races and no difficulty adjustment, either. So it really doesn’t provide much
wiggle room to screw up during a circuit. That’s not to say it’s impossible or
even incredibly hard by any means. But it’s just a little more tough than I expected for the age range on the box. All of this means that those
more powerful pickups are key in succeeding. And as long as you can make good use of them, you’ll make it through the game
in about an hour and a half. In fact, it’s really not that bad once you learn where the proper sequence of
white bricks and green bricks are, because then you can just spam
that warp boost all the time. There are also hidden shortcuts
and various track changes that occur the longer each race goes on, so there’s more than one way
to skin a minifig in LEGO Racers. Once you beat a champion, you’ll unlock their set to customize your vehicle further if you like. And once you make it to the end,
you’ll become, and I quote, “the greatest LEGO racing champion of all time!” Forget anyone else that plays the game, it’s you and you alone. And that is LEGO Racers. It’s a charmingly simple game that requires just enough
skill and racing line strategy to keep me engaged, and I approve! I can’t say it’s a personal favorite or anything, but if it’s one of yours,
then I don’t blame you. I expect if I played it back when it was new, I’d have some pretty fond memories indeed. And it’s still a fun experience, even today. Speaking of which, it’s not currently for sale digitally, so that’s a bit of a bummer. And if you do find a copy, the PC game disc is plagued by old SafeDisc DRM. (groans) So it doesn’t work on current
operating systems like Windows 10 without using something like unSafedisc. So, as always, it’s best if you have
an old Windows 98 solution, like the machine that I used
to record this video footage. Or, you know, there’s the console ports if the drop in visual fidelity and
frame rate doesn’t bother you. But either way, I’d recommend LEGO Racers for an enjoyable little distraction for an hour or two. (clapping electronic beat) And if you enjoyed this video on LEGO things, perhaps you’d like to see some of my other videos on other LEGO things. Or other topics entirely. I’ve got a lot of stuff, with new videos every
Monday and Friday here on LGR. And as always, thank you very much for watching.

100 Replies to “LEGO Racers: Build, Customize, Race and Win!”

  1. Great review, LGR. Very nostalgic seeing that box being opened and the contents. Loved the gameplay videos and explanation. The only thing you didn't mention was the Time Trials feature, where you are up against Veronica Voltage. Doing that was a great way to discover hidden short cuts – Veronica knew all about those, and you could follow her to find out.

  2. Isn't this the lego game where the AI cheats like a MOFO? Yeah it is, just look at the red guy on the bottom right around 4:35

  3. One of my childhood games. I was born in 1999 but thank god my older brother has ps1 and so many games! And then ps2 come out. Little me, two consoles, so many games. Ah, it was a golden age.

  4. That one … that was the first and only video game my mum buyed for me and my brother EVER and for full price to boot.
    (Given her disdain for the medium, that’s nothing short of a miracle)

    Our copy came in a special jewelcase, with the sidebar of the front cover shaped like the top of a lego brick (and yes, it does fit the regular bricks – we checked)

  5. I remember my friend had this game and gave me the disc, install it, and give the disc back. You wouldn't need the disc to play it if you installed it on your computer!!

  6. i accidentally dropped my N64 Copy out my window when i was a kid. i foud it in a bush 12 years later and it works fine

  7. I got this for the N64. I remember spending a lot of time playing it, but it obviously has a tough time keeping up with the remaining N64 racing lineup. Diddy Kong Racing specifically is very similar, using effectively the same power up system, but included a lot more content.

  8. The wildest shit in this game was if you put all the bricks on one side of your car it'd actually lean to the side…. and dont forget NCHSSS

  9. Bit of a story here, so brace yourselves.

    Way back in what must've been 2004 or 2005 when my family first got their hands on the game, my older brothers immediately fell in love.

    Crashes after Redbeard was the first obstacle, which was quickly overcomed by dad power.

    Basil the Batlord was the main hurdle for a while. Was almost an absolute slug-fest to beat him the first time.

    After that Rocket Racer kept us busy for a few weeks…before Mummy Nothing (Pharaoh's Mummy with a racer kart chassis and as many spoilers as mummily possible) became the greatest LEGO racer of all time.

    We played for another year or two…and then, silence. We all moved on, LEGO Racers 2, high school, college, jobs, the lot. And I was yet to play the game intelligently since my latest experience was when I was six.

    Then, one of my brothers (the part-time gear head), installed the game on his college laptop and relived the memories. I played once or twice…but nothing compared to when I got my hands on said laptop after the screen got busted and my bro got a new one.

    About two years later, I was bored with all the games I had on the laptop (named Karolyn for Aperture reasons) and decided to go on an adventure through the Start Menu. Lo and behold, I found a little file called "LEGO RACERS". And I could open it without the disk because 90s tech.

    I took a dip, just to see what it was like to basically have my own copy. And the next thing I knew I was pouring hours into it trying to best the Magnificent Seven with crazy handicaps.

    First was a no greens run, fairly easy.

    Next notable one was blues and yellows only, so if someone passed me on the final lap there's basically no way to catch up.

    Then I did only yellows, which was about the same.

    And a plethora of other ones…my last challenge run was I could only use +1 white power-ups…on Rocket Racer Run. Goodness was that hard. But after many, many attempts, I finally did it.

    And I haven't played the game since…but it does still have a place on the Start Menu…so there's always the possibility…

  10. It was in my recommended in 2019 and oh my god! Thanks you so much for doing this! It bring back so much memories playing demo of this yearly in 2000 when i was little over and over again on my WinME, Celeron 633Mhz, 32MB of RAM and godly Riva TNT2.. Such good times back then. 🙂

  11. I have this game and Just Installed It on my Win 10 rig
    i5 8600k
    GTX 1080
    Samsung 850 Evo and It ran out of the box no additional software required so not sure what happened to your version but I love the game brings back a lot of memories

  12. This game was my life-blood for several year. I would dream about it, 'pretend' play it while outside. I miss that feeling dearly, and I must revisit this game for the nostalgia hit when I get the chance.

  13. I had a dream last night about a Lego Racers remaster. I guess it must've had something to do with the Crash Team Racing remaster.

  14. Lego Creators was a game I ad and it was prettey neat but my friend has Lego Racers till today and still plays iton his damn old PC and loves it.

  15. About that safedisk DRM thing, I have a copy of the game that was re released in the late or mid 2000s along with lego racers 2, lego island, and lego island 2. The lego racers disk works 100% fine on my windows 10 machine!

  16. You should review Lego Soccer Mania, that was my childhood. It surprisingly well made too. And of course the Brickster makes an appearance.

  17. The medieval level is stuck in my head and keeps coming to the forefront for some reason. Probably because the dragon knights were the big thing when I got the stuff back then and seeing the wizard cottage in 3D was mindblowing.

  18. Loved this as a kid. Found a version that worked on windows 10 recently. Btw you probably should've mentioned the sequel they made.

  19. I had this game on N64 when I was younger. Great game, sucks I never owned a Controller Pak for it so I could save my game.

  20. I can honestly say I remember this game. I cannot however remember how or where I played this, but I do remember being so happy that I got the bat car items.

  21. if you think beating the AI is hard, after beating the game there is the ghost time trial mode which was absolutely unforgiving. There are some time trial races that I still haven't beaten.

  22. Oh please pick up a copy of LEGO Rock Raiders on PC! That game was my childhood and honestly I think it was ahead of it's time!

  23. I loved this playing Lego Racers on the N64 when I was younger.
    But, man, I don’t know how I did it.
    I couldn’t save my game since I didn’t have a memory pak, so I would leave the N64 on overnight just so I could beat Rocket Racer (or whatever the final racer is called).
    And the game is incredibly hard to play, especially since now my N64 controller’s degraded and stopped working properly.

  24. Ik this vid is kinda old now & someone has probs mentioned it already in the comments, but the game is now available on abandonware

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