Have You Played… Lego Racers 2?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I was never really into Lego as a kid, but I was sure as hell into Lego Racers 2. It was the first open world game I played, which sent me on a tour across rich, varied lands long before I’d do the same in the likes of Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect. Ok, so maybe those worlds weren’t quite as detailed: but once you beat the boss of the dinosaur one your car would start leaving fire trails behind it, and that counts for a lot.

As you might expect (and hope), the driving was more Mario Kart than Forza. The races were power-up chucking demolition derbies, and they had a lot going for them. Naturally everything in the game was made of lego, so blasting rockets and tornadoes at your rival racers would send bricks hurtling off their cars. I can still remember the satisfying whirl of clicking and clacking when I completed each lap, replenishing the bricks I’d lost on my way round.

That’s all well and good, though the real joy was to be had exploring each world in the free roam “Adventure” sections. There were five worlds in total, and while they might not sound exotic now they were wonderfully imaginative playgrounds for my childhood mind. Even then I remember thinking the initial genero-lego island was a tad dull, but after that there were dinosaurs and spaceships and yetis and aliens.

Unlike the modern trend towards maps packed with meaningless collectables, the game snuck a modest handful of golden bricks into each of its worlds. You needed those bricks to build whatever balloon, spaceship or portal that would transport you to the next zone, which made stumbling across every one of them an exciting discovery. I’ve roamed many an open world since, and I’m sure I’ll explore many more – but I’ll always remember pootling around Lego Racers 2.

7 Comments

  1. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    I played a *lot* of Lego Racers 2. My favorite thing about it was that if your car took too much damage it would fall apart entirely, leaving you to walk to the next pit-stop (you could still use your speed boost though, leaving trails of flame behind your character’s tiny Lego feet).

    Lego had a very cool library of games back in the day. I like the Traveler’s Tales stuff, but in some ways it was a lot more interesting when they were throwing things at the wall just to see what stuck (Lego Island was a revelation for me as a kid, for instance. It was even more of a revelation years later when I looked up some gameplay footage and realized it was possible to play it at more than about 2 fps :p Spent a lot of time with the Legoland park-building game too, and that weird soccer one they came out with).

    • Koozer says:

      Old LEGO games were the best. Rock Raiders was another gem, a base building resource management game! But with LEGO! I never got tired of watching the little guys slowly carry a block of dynamite over to a hard rock wall, set the timer, then run away with arms flailing.

      You could even take direct control of them or vehicles and do some hands on exploration while your base ticked over! Good times.

      • Grizzly says:

        The original Lego Island is a great game, yet for some reason I got my hands on the US release which had significantly fewer mini games then the EU release – but I never noticed. Turns out a lot more was cut from that game.

        And yet, I found it far more fun and imaginative then the quite packed Lego Island 2. Strange.

        And yes, I also adored Lego Racers 2, but I spent a lot more time with the first one, which was far more of a Super Mario Kart clone (Except, off course, you could build your own designs far more easily).

  2. DodoSandvich says:

    Oh yeah, pre-travelers tales lego games were my first PC games and a large part of my early childhood. Never really picked up on racers or island, but stunt rally, legoland and rock raiders were awesome. Still have the last one in my library. Hopefully someone makes a spiritual succesor to that one some day, cause it is a pretty good concept.

    • renner says:

      oh man how could I forget about Stunt Rally? I played all of those games to death– Alpha Team was another good one.

  3. Neurotic says:

    Yes, yes I have. And the first one, and (as Koozer mentions above) lots of Rock Raiders. PSX-era classics (LR2 being a PS2-era classic, of course). :D

  4. EudGenius says:

    I have played it many years ago, when I was still a little kiddo and I loved the atmosphere of the world around you being made of Lego bricks, the dialogue and plot being cheesy but very fitting for a nice kid game. It was a pretty good racing game too and had a good open world. Better than that of New NFS games, that’s for sure.