Micro Machines Turbo Tournament '96 was the third game in the long running Micro Machines franchise based on the toys of the same name, released in 1995 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. It is a top down 2D arcade racing game which featured a variety of different vehicles and environments to choose from. Micro Machines '96, produced by Supersonic Software and published by Codemasters, is an updated version of Micro Machines 2. It featured new tracks as well as some updated tracks, as well as the Construction Kit previously only available on the PC version. Micro Machines '96, much like Micro Machines 2, was released on a J-Cart meaning up to 4 players could play at the same time without the need for an adapter.
The gameplay in Micro Machines is straight up arcade style. The D-pad makes the vehicle turn left and right, A to accelerate and B to brake. There are a ton of different vehicle types in the game, everything from Go-Karts, Formula 1 and Rally Cars right through to Hover Crafts, Jet Planes, Solar Powered Cars and Dump Trucks. Each different vehicle type has tracks in a specific environment. Formula 1 Cars race around a camp-site, while Go-Karts race around a gym. Each track is filled with obstacles and jumps which you have to navigate in order to finish first, such as driving up the side of a tent or around the rails of a pool table.
There are 16 drivers that you can choose to play as:-
- Violet (see Violet section for more info)
There are many different gameplay modes available in Micro Machines '96:-
Challenge mode is the main single player race mode in Micro Machines '96. You choose your driver then face off against 3 other drivers around a variety of tracks. By finishing first in each race you are allowed to then move on to the next race. Failing to finish first means that you loose one of 3 lives. Once you have lost all 3 lives its game over. As you progress through the Challenge mode the tracks get longer and harder to navigate.
Head to Head
Head to Head mode uses the same tracks as Challenge mode but rather than race 3 other drivers you face off against just one. In Head to Head mode bar is put on scree made up of red and blue lights. You are always the red car and the AI the blue. Each time you manage to gain a full screen length of a lead over your rival one of his lights changes to your colour, the opposite if your rival gets a lead over you. Beat the driver by turning all his lights your colour to progress to the next challenge, loose all your lights and you loose a life. Loose all 3 lives and its game over.
In TT Challenge mode you race on the same tracks as the regular challenge mode but instead of racing against other computer cars you are given a time to beat over 3 laps. By beating this time you advance to the next track. Fail and loose one of your lives, loose all 3 lives and its game over.
League mode pits you against 3 other AI drivers in a points race. 4 for 1st, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd and 1 point for 4th. Finish first in the league and you move up to the next division. You start in Division 3 and work your way up to being champion of Division 1.
Pro Challenge mode is a more difficult version of the regular Challenge mode. It features 3 much quicker and more difficult AI drivers on a series of more difficult tracks which require greater skill to navigate without getting into trouble. Same rules are regular Challenge mode, 3 lives, finish first to advance, fail to finish first and its game over. Complete this and you are the ultimate Micro Machines driver.
Pro Head to Head
Pro Head to Head is the same idea as the regular Head to Head mode but using the Pro Challenge tracks and AI driver difficulty. Same rules are regular Head to Head mode, 3 lives, defeat your rival to advance, fail and its game over.
Pro TT Challenge
Pro TT Challenge uses the same difficult tracks from Pro Challenge mode and gives you much tighter time limits to complete the 3 laps in. Only the seriously quick will finish this mode.
In Pro League mode you follow the same format as regular League mode but with more difficult AI and tracks. You start in Division 2 and work your way through to the Premier Division.
TT Single Race
TT Single Race allows you to run a Time Trial on any of the tracks in the game over 1 or 3 laps.
2 Player Single Race
2 Player Single Race mode is basically single player Head to Head mode on a track of your choice but with 2 players.
2 Player Tournament
2 Player Tournament mode is the same as a regular Single race but spread over a series of themed tracks such as "Jets and Jumps". First to 3 wins is the winner.
2 Player TT Single Race
2 Player TT Single Race is essentially the same as single player TT Single Race mode but with 2 players. Fastest time around the track of your choice is the winner.
2 Player TT Tournament
2 Player TT Tournament follows the same format as the normal 2 Player Tournament but rather than race against each other to determine a winner the fastest time is declaired the winner. 3 wins to your name in a themed tournament of your choice and you walk away victorious.
Party Play Mode
Party Play Mode lets you and up to 16 other players face off in a knock out tournament to find the best Micro Machines driver.
Like Micro Machines 2, Micro Machines '96 was released on a J-Cart. This revolutionary Genesis/Mega Drive cartridge was developed by Codemasters and came with 2 extra controller ports built into the cartridge itself boosting the number of controller ports available from 2 to 4. This allowed 4 players to play, each with their own controller, without the need for any adapters or workarounds.
Previously found only in the PC versions of Micro Machines, the construction kit allowed players to create there own Micro Machines tracks. The game gave them a blank slate and a set of blocks with which to work with, straights, corners, jumps, obstacles etc, which they could use to create any kind of track they could think of from easy to hard. There were options to change the type of cars used on the track, the speed of the cars, as well as change the track name. Once complete the track could then be used for Time Trials and in the Multiplayer modes.
The character Violet, featured in Micro Machines 2 and Micro Machines '96, is based on TV presenter Violet Berlin. In 1994, before Micro Machines 2 was released, she was working for a TV gaming news and reviews show in the UK, on ITV, called Bad Influence. One of the reports that she did for the show saw her go to Codemasters, the producers of the Micro Machines franchise, to show behind the scenes of them making the new Micro Machines game. Whilst she was there, for part of the report, they agreed to add her into the game as a playable character.