|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2|
Drome Racers is a Lego racing video game developed by Attention to Detail and published by Electronic Arts and Lego Interactive. It was first released in November 2002, for PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows, and later ported to GameCube. A spin-off was also released for Game Boy Advance, which was published by THQ. It is the third Lego racing game, released a year after Lego Racers 2, which was also developed by Attention to Detail.
Gameplay and plot
Set in the year 2015, Drome Racers is a combination of racing gameplay with the Lego license, offering vehicles based upon the 2002 Lego construction toys. Career mode puts the player in the role of Max Axel, who is tasked with winning the coveted Drome Championship. To do so, he must work his way through the ranks by completing a number of Multi-Challenge Races; a series of races in which the completion time in one round is carried over to the next. For example, if Max finished three seconds behind in the last race, the leader is awarded a three-second head start in the next. The overall winner is the first to cross the finish line in the final race of the series. Preceding each Multi-Challenge series is a qualifying drag race, where victory is determined by a good start and proper gear-shifting.
Max Axel is aided by other such Team Nitro members as Shicane who handles car upgrades, and Rocket, who gives advice. The winnings can be put toward building a new car or upgrading the existing one. The former allows players to select the wheels, chassis, and body type of the new vehicle, each of which is suited to specific conditions and environments. The latter offers five level upgrades in categories, such as engine, aerodynamics, turbo, armor, and tires. Weapons also play a vital role. The arcade mode presents players with Normal or Time Attack racing through a variety of courses, weather conditions, and routes. The Quick Race option allows for instant action by randomly selecting any pertinent variables, including cars and tracks, for either one or two players.
The GameCube version features several enhancements, including an extra power-up that was not in the other versions and a 2-Player Battle Mode, where the goal is to destroy the other player's car with power-ups (Though there are variants such as keeping a flag the longest without getting hit). The Battle Mode uses a unique car that cannot be used in normal races (a slightly modified version Lego set 4585 Nitro Pulverizer) and takes place in several special arenas loosely based on the game's tracks (Such as the City Arena which is based on the Foundry track).
Drome Racers received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregation website Metacritic, which gave the game's Microsoft Windows version a score of 65/100, based on six critic reviews, its PlayStation 2 version one of 57/100, based on 10 reviews, and its GameCube version one of 54/100, based on five reviews. Most critics voiced that the gameplay was mediocre, with Ryan Davis of GameSpot saying "What little originality it has, like the qualifying drag races, is seriously underplayed, and most of the experience comes off as generic.", and giving it a 5.2/10 rating. A positive review by GameZone's jkdmedia reads "It has quite a bit to offer and is a blast to play."
The Game Boy Advance conversion of Drome Racers scored slightly higher than its PC and console counterparts, with Metacritic awarding it a score of 73/100, based on 9 critic reviews. GameSpot's Frank Provo rated it 8.1/10, saying "Drome Racers is the most technically impressive racing game to hit the [Game Boy Advance] in a long, long time." Craig Harris of IGN rated it 7.0/10, saying that "[the game is] a fun racer, but the controls are just a bit on the loose side".
Drome Racers would be the last game developed by Attention to Detail, as the company went into liquidation on August 28, 2003, just shortly before the release of the game's port to GameCube. Reports suggested that the company was working on a fourth installment in the series, tentatively titled Lego Racers 4, and another title, Lego Racers CC, was advertised in Lego catalogs in 2004, though no further information on either has become known since.
In January 2007, Kiloo announced that they were developing two new Lego-themed video games for mobile phones, one of which was titled Lego Racers and featured an original take on the 1999 game's mechanics, projecting a 2007 release. The game was released by Hands-On Mobile in June 2008 to mixed reception, with critics stating that the game lacked any depth and made null and void of the actual usage of Lego bricks in the game.
On December 18, 2007, NetDevil, at the time in charge of developing Lego Universe, announced that it had opened a new web-focused division, which was tasked with developing an Adobe Flash-based game called Lego Racers Challenge, with a projected release date of Q1 2008. NetDevil stated that the move was done in order to compete with other browser games, such as Club Penguin and RuneScape, and to build upon an older, web-based Lego Racers game, entitled Drome Racing Challenge. In late 2008, advertisements for a supposed game titled Lego Racers: The Video Game started appearing on Lego box prints, but, alike the other unreleased titles, saw no news afterwards.
- "Drome Racers Critic Reviews for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- "Drome Racers Critic Reviews for PlayStation 2". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- "Drome Racers Critic Reviews for GameCube". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Davis, Ryan (January 21, 2003). "Drome Racers Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- jkdmedia (December 29, 2002). "Drome Racers – PC – Review". GameZone. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- "Drome Racers Critic Reviews for Game Boy Advance". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Provo, Frank (July 11, 2003). "Drome Racers Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Harris, Craig (July 30, 2003). "Drome Racers". IGN. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Fahey, Rob (September 1, 2003). "ATD goes to the wall; Kaboom in crisis?". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- Theriault, Jake (July 4, 2017). "The Secret History of Lego Racers 3". Gameumentary. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- GamesIndustry International (January 19, 2007). "New Lego games on the way". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- Buchanan, Levi (June 4, 2008). "LEGO Racers Review". IGN. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- Alexander, Leigh (December 18, 2007). "Q&A: NetDevil To Launch New Web Division With Lego Racers". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- Good, Owen (December 14, 2008). "Lego Racers Return in 2009, but in What Form?". Kotaku. Retrieved August 1, 2017.