And lo and behold, the game plays good as well! Yes, it’s Yet Another Kart Racer (tm), but it’s a fine one, and it’s loaded with all sorts of hidden goodies that’ll have you racing long after you beat all the tracks. People have come to realize that it’s the extras that make the game, and Muppet Race Mania
has a whole lot of ‘em.
There are, at least at the start, 24 different tracks -- four from each of the Muppet movies. The tracks are themed after various parts of said movies, which is cool. There are four main race modes as well. There’s your standard race, where you try to get around the track faster than anyone else, there’s Battle Mode, where you try to blow up all the other Muppets, there’s Stunt Mode, where you’ve got to traverse a really tricky track, and there’s Adventure Mode, where you drive around on a track designed for one of the three previous modes and pick up items. This is where most of the secrets come into play. By picking up all of the stars or fruits ‘n veggies or banjos or whatever, you unlock -something-, be it a race in reverse or a battle mode version of a racetrack or whatever.
Each Muppet’s vehicle has its own stats, but the Muppets can race in each other’s vehicles if you figure out how to get them. (Hint: honk!) The racing itself is pretty standard fare, with your weapons to hit people in front and behind you and a turbo-boost meter that you fill up by collecting fruit. The weapons are a little “Muppety” (chickens, penguins, etc.), but they’re just like any other game; same goes for the super-boost. Filling the meter all the way lets you either honk the horn and unleash a special attack, or fly really fast and pass up all of the other racers. All in all, good fun.
And, of course, there’s multiplayer mode, although you can only race with one other human opponent.
There are a few “kid-friendly” modes, like one that steers for you -- you just have to push the gas. But like “The Muppet Show” itself, Muppet Race Mania appeals to both kids and adults, on different levels for each.