I have fond memories of playing Micro Machines on the PlayStation (One) and since then have struggled to find a top/down racing game to match its standards. The original Xbox saw the release of Mashed: Drive to Survive which received mixed opinions in 2004. In 2007, Mad Tracks was released on the Xbox LIVE Arcade, unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectations.
The major fault with Mad Tracks is the lack of just about everything; from the lack of gadgets to the lack of a true single player experience, the game seems to lack in every department. The single player adventure mode consists of fifteen fairly short races and activities which will take less than an hour to complete.
The amount of gadgets in Mad Tracks is also rather slim, and some of them aren’t even that good. There are the usual weapons you’d expect such as a missile and oil slicks but then there are some rather bizarre weapons such as a mortar, which when used, simply makes the opponent go forward – giving them a slight boost.
By far the highlight of the game is some of the levels in the Arcade mode which can all be played multiplayer locally and over Xbox Live with up to four players. I often found myself playing the non-race events such as the ‘Foosball’, ‘8-ball’ and ‘Mini-golf’ rather than the races as they are much more enjoyable.
Compared to some of the other Xbox LIVE Arcade titles available, Mad Tracks is graphically very average. The detail is quite plain though the inclusion of the shadows is very well done, especially to fit in with the rather small file size. The menu presentation is also fairly impressive.
The game’s controls are fairly easy to pick up with right and left triggers being the gas and brake respectively. The weapons are fired using the A button and can be changed using X and B. Whilst the game contains some great sound effects for an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, the background music at the menu and in-game is enough to make you play a custom soundtrack or even mute the speakers.
Overall, Mad Tracks manages to get off the starting line, but has to take an early pit stop. The single player replayability is far too slim and multiplayer is only fun in short bursts. I recommend saving your 800 Microsoft Points for Load Inc.’s other upcoming Xbox LIVE Arcade title, Things on Wheels.