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Kids these days eh? Actually no, let’s not do that again. Back in June we covered Lego Racers 2 and found that it worked pretty well on modern PCs. This time we’re taking a look at the first game. Just like the sequel, this game will let kids of any age race Lego karts around various themed circuits, out driving and out gunning the opposition.
The game should install just fine on modern PCs. Simply put the disc into your PCs optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the autorun program doesn’t start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “AR_KeyRun.exe” file manually. During installation, you will be asked if you want to install DX Media and DirectX 6. You should choose “No” to both of these choices, as the versions on the Lego Racers CD-ROM are certainly much older than the ones you already have on your PC.
Playing the game
Lego Racers will run on modern versions of Windows only if you disable the introduction movie. Follow these step by step instructions to disable the movie.
Windows 8 users:- If you are using a Start menu replacement, follow the Windows 7 instructions. Otherwise, open the Start screen and search for “Lego Racers”. Don’t click on the icon, instead, right click on it and choose “Open file location”.
A File Explorer window will then open, right click on the Lego Racers icon and choose “Properties”.
Now, follow the instructions under “Editing the shortcut”.
Windows 7 users:- Simply search for Lego Racers on your Start menu, then right click on the shortcut and choose “Properties”.
Editing the shortcut:- The games shortcut properties should now be displayed.
We now need to edit the games shortcut slightly. Click on the “Target:” box and press the “End” key on your keyboard to go to the very end of the line. Now, press the space bar once and type, or better still copy and paste, the following:-
As you can see in the screenshot above, the user has already done this. You can click on “OK” now, but you might want to check out the next section as there are a couple more tweaks you can perform. Once you complete this tweak, you should always launch Lego Racers from this shortcut. If you have a desktop shortcut too you will need to update it in the same way.
The games introduction video exists as an .avi file in the games installation directory. However, we couldn’t even play it using Windows Media Player. If you want to watch the intro, someone has kindly uploaded it to Youtube here.
Tweaking visual quality
There aren’t any in-game options for tweaking visual quality in Lego Racers, but there is a way to force the game to run in higher resolutions. Using the technique above that you used to disable the intro video, edit the target box again and add the following two commands.
-horzres 1280 -vertres 1024
Make sure there’s a space between “-novideo” and “-horzres”. This will run the game at 1280×1024 resolution. If you want to try a different resolution, simply substitute in the appropriate numbers. -horzres 1024 -vertres 768 for instance, would run the game in 1024×768 mode. Lego Racers is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen) game and may appear stretched if you force it into a widescreen screen mode.
When running the game in a higher resolution, note that the menus and the Lego builder sections will not run full screen. Instead they will run in a box in the top left hand corner of the screen. The actual racing however will run in full screen and look significantly better thanks to the bump in resolution.
To configure controllers in Lego Racers, start the game and then choose Options. Now, choose either Player 1 controls or Player 2 controls depending on whose controller you want to configure. The game recognised our Xbox 360 controllers just fine, but wouldn’t allow us to assign accelerate and brake to the analogue triggers. Normally we can use Xpadder to remove this limitation, but Lego Racers doesn’t allow you to configure keyboard and gamepad controls that are active at the same time. Since Xpadder basically emulates keyboard presses, the only way to use it is to change the game into keyboard control mode. By doing this, you then lose the analogue steering. Better to just make do with using buttons for accelerate and brake.
Problems saving games – Like many older games, Lego Racers places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\LegoRacers) or manually edit the permissions on the “LEGO Racers” folder. If you installed the game to the default location, the folder can be found under “C:\Program Files (x86)\LEGO Media\Games\LEGO Racers”. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here. Save games data is stored in the “data” and “Save” directories in the Lego Racers folder. Remember to back these up periodically so that you don’t lose your save games.
“Unable to set message drain” or “can’t open AVI” errors:- Check that you updated the games shortcut to disable the introduction movie as described in the Playing the game section above.
Other bits and pieces of note
If you can’t be bothered unlocking all the extras, you can download a 100% save file here.
You can take a screenshot of your racing action at any time by pressing the “Print Screen” key. The screenshots are saved as bitmap (BMP) files in the games directory.
Although you shouldn’t need them, there are some other options you can add to the shortcut too. Add any of the following in the same manner as you added the -novideo option.
-window Runs the game in a window (didn’t work for us on Windows 8).
-primary Force use of primary display device (most computers only have one anyway).
-select3d Allows user to select the 3D device
-alphatrans Force use of alpha
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.