I will be comparing LEGO Racers and LEGO Racers 2 in this blog post. I had more of an introduction but my stupid browser closed. I am in no way an experienced reviewer, so I apologize if this is awkward. I also apologize if there's any big spelling/grammar errors or inaccuracies.
Outside of Races:
LEGO Racers has a build function to let you build cars. It's a little clunky, but it works well. There's a lot of customizability, and you unlock the part sets of the bosses that you beat. The best two car sets are Veronica Voltage's and Rocket Racer's, as they are (at least in theory) faster.
LEGO Racers 2 has a simple storyline, where you race each racer in order to reach the galactic championship. You start on Sandy Bay, racing people from the Town theme. On each world, you have to build a car or use a pre-made one from the theme. There are a number of pre-made cars to choose from for each world, so your options aren't limited significantly. There are three gold bricks on each world, and you win a gold brick every time you win a race. It requires a certain number of gold bricks to unlock each world. The first unlocked is the Adventurer's world, then the Mars world, then the Arctic world, then the Xalax world. There are also two challenges on each world, each of which gives you a car part, boosting your speed, grip, or shield (how much damage you can take before your car is destroyed). The worlds, with the exception of Xalax world, have sets from the themes as well as custom models which fight into these themes. There are also figures scattered throughout the world who give hints about the location of gold bricks and challenges.
LEGO Racers has 13 different tracks. Each track has a variety of LEGO sets from Space, Adventurer, Pirates, and Castle themes. Basil and Gypsy's circuits feature the hardest, and darker tracks. The other racer's circuits are generally bright (with the exception of Dark Forest Dash). All of the tracks, with the exception of Knightmare-athon, have shortcuts. These shortcuts can be easy to find (the Ice Planet Pathway's shortcut is in plain sight, whereas I didn't discover Dark Forest Dash's shortcut until I saw Jamesster's video of that track). Some tracks, such as Imperial Grand Prix, have a shortcut which will only open when hit by an attack. Desert Adventure Dragway, Tribal Island Trial have multiple shortcuts - Desert Adventure Dragway has two shortcuts which open when hit by an attack, and Tribal Island Trial has two shortcuts as well as an open route through a lake which can be considered a shortcut.
Numerous tracks have interactive features - in addition to shortcuts that you have to attack to open, there are also moving objects (blocking your path), spinning lightning, and even a randomized mummy's curse spawner.
My only issue with LEGO Racers' tracks is that 12 of them are flipped and reused. It's likely that they did this to meet deadlines, but it's still a little disappointing.
The tracks from LEGO Racers 2 are all found within the worlds (with the possible exception of one Xalax track). It's easy to get off track if you make a mistake, and at times such errors can set you back. There are no built-in shortcuts, although there is sometimes an alternate route which is quicker than the standard one. There are very few interactive objects on the tracks, and these are only found on the Xalax world. They are limited to a single spinning gateway which has little effect on the track and some sections of track where gravity is modified. The tracks are pretty boring compared to the LEGO Racers tracks.
LEGO Racers has five colors of bricks: red, yellow, blue, green, and white. Green bricks are a little rarer than the other colors, as they are the most powerful. White bricks increase the power of the other bricks, and you can have up to three white bricks at a time. When you're hit by an attack while carrying a white brick, you'll drop a white brick. Red bricks are attacks - in order of power: cannonball, grappling hook (pulls you forward), lightning (hits anyone directly in front of you for a few seconds), and rockets (shoots three rockets which hit the nearest three racers). Yellow bricks are attacks backward, although if I'm not mistaken, only the first two count as attacks: an oil spill which spins a racer around (the oil spill lies on the ground), rolling dynamite, a tractor beam thing, and a mummy which reverses your left and right arrow keys and slows you down. Blue bricks are shields - the more white bricks you have, the more they protect you. Yellow and red shields (two and three white bricks, respectively) will reflect some attacks. Green bricks are speed boosts. A green brick with three white bricks teleports you a significant distance and is considered overpowered by many.
LEGO Racers 2 has bricks lying around the track at certain points which give you a random attack. When a racer is hit by an attack or runs too quickly into the wall of ground, they lose a few parts. If the entire car is destroyed, they can still run but they have a 50 MPH speed limit. To repair your car, you have to run through a special repair zone, one of which is situated on every track. All of the power ups are attacks: a missile which creates a shockwave (I've only hit someone once with this), a tornado (I don't remember what it does as you don't get it in first place, a vortex (shoots a vortex behind you), a seeking missile (seeks the racer immediately in front of you), a disk (shoots directly in front of you), an invisibility attack which lets you steal other racer's power-ups and an attack which takes parts of every car, but which can only be picked up in last place. In my opinion, this system is very boring, and a LEGO Racers style power-up system would have been much more interesting.
The races in LEGO Racers are quite fun, and get progressively challenging at you go on. Each circuit, excepting the last, contains four races. Over time, the variety of power-ups and number of white bricks bosses use increases, increasing the difficulty. Each circuit is a little harder than the last, and the last two are especially challenging. As stated above, my major issue is the re-used tracks.
In LEGO Racers 2, the first four races on Sandy Bay are all against single racers - a construction worker, a postman, a firefighter, and a police chief. After that, races are from a hub on each world, with four races against 7 generic racers and one against a boss. The generic races are fairly boring, although the boss races are a lot more interesting. The third boss race, against Rigel, is a race against a giant robot, and you have to get past it by going around, as it more or less occupies the entire track. However, it has a problem of running off track and it takes a few seconds to get back on. The fourth boss fight, against Berg, is even better - you race an Ice Monster (from Rock Raiders) which drops ice spikes behind it. Ice spikes hurt you and slow you down, so you have to avoid the ice spikes, catch up to Berg, and get past him. The boss races can be challenging, especially Sam Sanister (yes, that's what they call him in game) and Rocket Racer's, taking a few tries to beat.
In LEGO Racers, the time trials are races against Veronica Voltage. Veronica is intangible, and any bricks she picks up immediately reappear behind her. Most time trials only contain green and white bricks, although a few contain red bricks (to open shortcuts) and a few contain blue bricks. She is fast and isn't slowed down by running off track and can be quite tough to beat on the last four tracks.
LEGO Racers2 time trials are just you driving on an empty track. They're a lot more boring than LEGO Racers time trials.
It turns out that LEGO Racers DOES have a multiplayer, but you have to get USB controllers for it.
LEGO Racers 2 has a multiplayer system where you can assemble a series of tracks to race on. I haven't played against anyone on it, so I have nothing else to say about it.
Both games have a mode where you can do individual races. The individual races in LEGO Racers have the same racers as would normally be on the circuit, while the individual races in LEGO Racers 2 are against generic racers, but you don't have any car power-ups as it's not in story mode. These can be fairly challenging.
To me, the interface from LEGO Racers looks better than the one from LEGO Racers 2.
The car physics in LEGO Racers are way more fun, even if they're unrealistic. In LEGO Racers 2 there are a lot of ups and downs, and you fly through the air often.
Who wins - LEGO Racers vs. LEGO Racers 2:
Tracks: LEGO Racers, by a long shot
Outside of Races: LEGO Racers 2
Time Trials: LEGO Racers
Main Races: LEGO Racers
Attacks/Power-Ups: LEGO Racers
Multiplayer: I can't judge this, although even with the "league" system in LEGO Racers 2, you can't
After playing LEGO Racers 2 a few times, I am still of the opinion that LEGO Racers 1 is the better game. The car physics are more fun, the tracks are better, the time trials are more interesting, the races themselves, with the exception of the boss races, are more interesting.