Micro Maniacs (FoxKids.com Micro Maniacs Racing in North America) is a racing video game developed by Codemasters for PlayStation and Game Boy Color. It is a spin-off to the popular Micro Machines games, the main difference being that players control tiny characters where a few racetracks feature the use of vehicles.
Micro Maniacs is set in a time where the Earth's resources are being depleted and the very planet is at risk. However a scientist named Dr. Minimizer has an idea: using a device he calls "The Minimizer Ray", he will shrink the planet's population to 1/360 of its original size, and so create a world more suitable to our current status. If this is to be successful, the doctor needs to create a supersoldier: somebody who can prepare the planet for us when we are eventually minimized. In order to do this, the doctor enlists the help of 12 volunteers for an experiment. The experiment consists of racetracks that are considered various dangerous environments as to ascertain the suitable skills for the supersoldier.
As opposed to previous games in the series, players control these small volunteers more than vehicles, the main difference is that the volunteers are able to jump and use individual abilities. The volunteers (or characters) are each slightly different. None are particularly realistic, but their unusual characteristics allow the characters to make use of various power-ups. These are used to attack your opponents in a race, and include things like black holes, atomic blasts, and laser mines.
Similar to the other games in the Micro Machines series, each course is based in a different environment, like a bathroom, a kitchen, a laboratory, a garage, and a bedroom. The goal is to race through the level and be the first to cross the finish line. Each course is marked out with a substance in the environment. These are related to the level in question, and include things like toothpaste, fish food and baked beans. Some courses require the use of vehicles like jet-skis, bees, motor scooters and skateboards.
- A 1 player only mode. The racer is up against 4 AI opponents in a 3 lap race. The player must come in 1st or 2nd to win a race and advance a row. (Except for the Final Round, where 1st place is the absolute win condition.)
- Time Trial
- In Time Trial mode, 1 to 8 players can race, using either one, or separate controllers. There are four Time Trial modes:
- TT Free Play - 1 player attempts to earn a best time.
- TT Challenge - 1 player has to beat a set lap time within three laps to progress up rows.
- TT Multiplayer - 2 to 8 players attempt to set and beat opponents lap times.
- TT Tournament - Similar to TT Multiplayer, but the aim to be the first player to a set number of points
- In Versus mode, 1-8 players have to make the other opponents disappear off the screen by running as far in front as possible to score points. The player who either fills up their points gauge, passes the finish line on the final lap with the most points, or the last person standing in Play-Off (a Sudden Death mode activated if players have the same amount of points upom crossing the finish line on the last lap) . Players are defined in 8 different colors. There are 3 Vs. modes:
- Single Player Vs. where 1 player must race against one to seven AI opponents (changed via the main Game Settings) which progresses in a similar fashion to Challenge mode.
- Multiplayer Vs., where 2 to 8 players race to get the most points.
- Vs. Tournament, where 2 to 8 players race to get the most wins.
- Vs. Teams
- Vs. Teams is similar to Vs. mode, with the core difference being to score points for their team. This mode requires 3 to 8 players and contains four different teams to choose from.
- Before any of the races begin, a training mode is started. Players can train in the circles as the level loads. This mode will also show who you are up against and any vehicles that level uses. When the loading finishes, players then press START. They stop in a running position and they're circle flashes. When all the circles flash, everyone is then dropped through a starfield and then onto the track.
- Bonus Tracks
- In this mode, the player runs through a maze. The aim is to collect all 30 power ups within the time limit. If the player wins, they win an extra life. If they lose, they win nothing. There are 4 different bonus tracks: Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. These tracks can only be entered via Challenge, TT Challenge or Single Player Vs. if the player wins 3 races in a row in 1st place.
- V4 is a former biker who got severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Dr. Minimizer stuck parts of his destroyed motorcycle inside him so he could stay alive, then he shrank him so he could compete in races. He wears a leather biking suit with a zip over his mouth and an engine on his back. His attacks are Plasma Punch and Energy Trail.
- Maw Maw
- Maw Maw was used as Dr. Minimizer's "guard dog". He is also a combination of three animals, which are a pig, an ape, and a Jack Russell Terrier, so he got shrunk and included him in the contest. He looks like a small yellow ape of some sort with sharp teeth and a pig's nose. His attacks are Tongue Grab and Fireball Fart.
- One of Dr. Minimizer's patients who lives in a foster home and cannot talk because of a tragic event which happened to her when she was younger. However, she looks like a little girl but has a space alien head without a mouth. She even has special psychic powers. So her attacks are Nightmare Projection and Psychic Grab.
- A rival scientist who was developing a similar device to the Minimizer Ray. However, he was unable to find any volunteers to test it on, so he used it on himself. This backfired, leaving his body much smaller than his head. Dr. Minimizer agreed to help him if he took part in his experiment. Waldo has grafted his body into a robotic suit in order to race. Since he has no organic abilities as such, he uses his suit to attack his enemies. His suit can fire a laser cannon and laser mines.
- Dr. Minimizer's unfortunate lab assistant. One fateful night, she accidentally mixed the wrong chemicals for an experiment,which exploded and bathed her in the mysterious cocktail. And unfortunately, while she's in a condition of permanent spontaneous combustion, Dr. Minimizer is determined to find a cure, but without the original formula he's got no idea where to begin. Her attacks are Fireball and Flamethrower.
- One of Dr. Minimizer's students of astrophysics at a university he also works at. She has a high interest in black holes and enlisted the help of him in that topic. He agreed, if she would participate in his experiment. Later Dr. Minimizer provided Vortex with the power to produce smaller versions of these phenomena. Now half of her body has normal skin tones and blond hair, and the other half is a bluish colour with dark blue hair. Vortex can create a White Hole (a white sphere that deflects attack) and a Black Hole (which sucks opponents in should they get too close). When this move is upgraded, the black holes become larger and more difficult to avoid.
- Another one of Dr. Minimizer's patients who has been in and out of mental asylums too many times. Dr. Minimizer enlisted his help as he is unusually nimble for the age of twenty-three, and he seems most comfortable in unusual surroundings. He looks like some strange sort of clown with sharp teeth and cones sticking out of his head. And he uses a spinning yo-yo and a tornado attack to attack his opponents.
- A person who enjoys being a DJ and got modified and shrunk to race. He looks like an ordinary person, although his face resembles that of a radio (he has one speaker as his mouth, one as his eye and a cd tray as his other one). His attacks are Sonic Boom and Shatter Notes.
- A space alien from the planet Ohm. He has a lightbulb head and electrical powers. He even helped Dr. Minimizer by creating the power for the Minimizer Ray. His powers are an electrical discharge and an electrical magnet shield. He can be unlocked by winning all the races on the 2nd round.
- Dr. Minimizer's nephew. After catching him using animal cruelty on spiders, he decided to turn him into a half-human and half-insect in order to make him feel guilty of what he did. Because of that, he ended up with green skin and an extra pair of arms. His attacks are Parasite Missiles and Web Mines. He can be unlocked by winning all the races on the 4th round.
- A trespasser that Dr. Minimizer captured for sneaking into his laboratory and for almost escaping with the ideas for the Minimizer Ray without permission. He has green skin and half of his face is concealed by a gas mask. His attacks are Virus Splat and Super Sneeze. He can be unlocked by winning all the races on the 6th round.
- Project X
- A robot created by Dr. Minimizer using the genetics of the other contestants, and shows a worrying amount of aggression. His attacks a helix ray and an atomic blast. He can be unlocked by winning all the races on the final round.