Muppet Race Mania is a PlayStation racing game developed by Traveller's Tales, and published by Midway Games in North America and Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe, and released in 2000. It features a majority of characters from The Muppet Show (and characters from the films).
This game marked the first vocal appearance by Janice since the death of Richard Hunt. She, along with Scooter, were performed by Matt Vogel, the only time he voiced these characters.
One significant difference of this game that sets it apart from the more popular Mascot Racers, like Mario Kart, is the boost mechanic. You collect Food on the racetrack that fill up a meter. You can use this early to give yourself a boost, or fill it up to full to access two options. One is the MegaBoost, which turns your racer into a blue star that sails over the racetrack either to catch up when you're lagging or to create a huge lead. The other is a special power that varies with each Muppet, but achieves the same result: All other racers are hindered by various effects for five seconds and "nets" you their vehicles for your Muppet to access in future races.
The game has a total of 34 tracks based on sites in the following:
- The Muppet Movie
- The Great Muppet Caper
- The Muppets Take Manhattan
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Muppet Treasure Island
- Muppets from Space
- The Muppet Show
- Fraggle Rock
- Starting: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Rowlf the Dog, Animal
- Unlockables: Janice, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, The Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Link Hogthrob, Robin the Frog, Johnny Fiamma, Sal Minella, Bean Bunny, Clifford, Doozer
Other featured characters
- Bill, Gill, and Jill the Frogs
- Jacob and Robert Marley
- Spa'am (credited as "Pig Chief")
- Dr. Phil Van Neuter
- Statler and Waldorf
- Pa Gorg, Ma Gorg and Junior Gorg
Tropes associated with this game include:
- Acid-Trip Dimension: The secret course Disco has a crazy color palette that puts Rainbow Road to shame, complete with a floral pattern.
- Adaptational Villainy: With the exception of Pig Chief and van Neuter, all the bosses in the Battle courses aren't at all bad guys in their source material.
- Always Night: New York and the outdoor Muppet Christmas Carol courses.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Unlike many other Mascot Racers, which mechanics are solely designed for racing, the mechanics for this game (easy idle turning and jumping) allow for more exploration-oriented gameplay, which Adventure Mode and the side-scrolling Stunt courses call for.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Janice's special power makes flowers sprout around the racers, forcing them to turn to face the flowers.
- Baleful Polymorph: Some of the Muppets' special powers inflict this on other racers. Examples are Rizzo (cheese), Robin (tiny frog), Sal (bunch of bananas), and Bean Bunny (carrot).
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: There are courses strictly for races and courses strictly for Battle. Some race courses allow an unlockable option for a Battle Race. The secret course Disco is a Battle Race by default.
- Camera Screw: Downplayed. Unlike most racing games, where the camera is always behind you (except when holding the "back view" button), in this game, there is a slight delay, it doesn't turn when you turn without advancing (which you can do), but starts only after accelerating in a direction different from the camera's, which can give weird angles. This proves to be somewhat useful, given that some special powers of some Muppets turn your racer around.
- Cartoon Cheese: Rizzo's special power turns other racers into this.
- Clucking Funny: Camilla the chicken serves as the game's "homing missile" weapon.
- Comeback Mechanic: After collecting enough Food, aside from each Muppet's special powers, there's also the MegaBoost, which automatically takes you across the course in the form of a blue star (and not take any shortcuts unless you start from there). Beware that your AI opponent has access to this too.The Battle courses in this game are distinctly different from that of other racing games of its time (and even today).
- Car Fu: You get to battle against computer-controlled opponents, collision and dropping on top (instead of simply weapons) is a viable means of inflicting damage, and all combatants have a health bar instead of a number of lives, There is even the unlockable option of battling while racing.
- Dump Stat: There are three stats in this game, seen from left to right when you test drive the muppets: Grip (tire), Turn (steering wheel), and Speed (engine), out of these stats, Turn is easily the least necessary.
- Escort Mission: One of the possible 'missions' you can do in Adventure Mode in each track is pushing Doozers to designated portals. Rescuing them in all the tracks unlocks them as a racer. The difficult part comes from their weight (all of them ride construction vehicles of some kind like their own Dumper, Rowlf's Bulldozer, or Robin's Steamroller) and the locations of some of the portals, the Doozers, or both.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: These serve as the standard "mine" weapon. Unlike other "mine" weapons, they don't last long, and they move a bit.
- Incredible Shrinking Muppet: Courtesy of Pepe's special move.
- Invisibility: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's special move which is done on the other racers instead of himself. It also slows them down.
- Floating in a Bubble: Zoot's special move inflicts this on other racers.
- Flying Saucer: Gonzo's vehicle of choice, its stats being all-around average, and capable of cruising above water without being horrendously slowed down.
- Gang Up on the Human: Averted. In fact, in battles, if you can find a hiding spot, you can wait for the AI opponents to off each other before taking out the last one left.
- Harmless Electrocution: Beaker's special power, which slows down other racers.
- Harmless Freezing: Link's special power, which freezes opponents solid for five seconds, though it only freezes the muppet and not the vehicle.
- Homing Projectile: Camilla the Chicken.
- Joke Character: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew not only has a terrible power (turn other racers invisible, which can screw you over in battles and merely slows them down), his Hovercraft has a very high Turn, which is bad in this game as it's basically very slippery, and its Speed and Grip are trash. On the plus side, if you still want to play as Bunsen, it's simple enough to unlock one of the other characters' more stable vehicles for him to use.
- Let's Play: Right here.
- Level in Reverse: One option you can unlock for the race tracks while in Adventure Mode.
- Level-Map Display
- Mascot Racer
- Palmtree Panic: Cape Doom and Island.
- Power Copying: With a full meter, you can use your Muppet's special power, which varies with each Muppet and lasts for five seconds. Not all of these are equal though in terms of stalling. Most special powers simply stop all the others from moving (e.g., Rizzo, Rowlf); a few (e.g., Miss Piggy, Kermit, Beaker) merely reduce movement; and some (e.g., Doozer, Gonzo, Fozzie, Animal) turn the racers around, so they're occasionally pointing in the wrong direction when the power finishes.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Using weapons on certain set pieces grant access to shortcuts (the fish is the best choice) or grant access to tokens in Adventure Mode.
- Shamu Fu: One of the available weapons is a fish you can shoot straight in front of you.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Muppet Christmas Carol courses, with the exception of the Chamber, though there's no ice and a lot of snow.
- The Smurfette Principle: Miss Piggy and Janice are the only female Muppets in the game (though Jil acts as a boss and Ma Gorg makes a cameo).
- Squashed Flat: Miss Piggy's special move, which only slows down the racers.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: But unless you're using a floating vehicle like Gonzo's Flying Saucer, Link's Spaceship, or Bunsen's Hovercraft, you're gonna get bogged hard if you don't keep jumping like crazy.
- Vehicular Combat: The Battle courses in this game are distinctly different from that of other racing games of its time (and even today, save perhaps for Twisted Metal). You get to battle against computer-controlled opponents, collision and dropping on top (instead of simply weapons) is a viable means of inflicting damage, and all combatants have a health bar (of 1000 HP) instead of a number of lives. Weapons and jumping on other racers do 100 damage, and collision depends on your speed. There is even the unlockable option of battling while racing.
- Wacky Racing
Statler: No. What?
Waldorf: When you finally reach the end of it.