Category Archives: Racers

nail’d: Look Out Below

I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.

I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.

As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.

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Super Mario Kart: Defining a Genre

“Which Mario Kart is best?” is one of those questions that can start bitter, terrible arguments. Or at the very least, send you into an endless cycle of analysis paralysis as you contemplate which one actually is the “best”.

Do you prefer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s “best of everything” approach, blending brand new tracks with classics from yesteryear with a twist? How about Double Dash’s team-based mechanics? 64’s early attempts to move the series into true 3D?

For everyone, the answer is different, and I can’t even give you a definitive answer on my own preferences. But one thing we can hopefully all agree on is that even if Super Mario Kart for Super NES isn’t your favourite Mario Kart, it’s probably the most important.

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Stunt Race FX: A Last Hurrah

Stunt Race FX — or Wild Trax, as it was known in Japan — is not a game that gets talked about nearly as much as many of its contemporaries.

There are a number of reasons for this, chief among which was that it released in 1994, when excitement for Sony’s PlayStation — originally intended to be a CD-ROM-based add-on for the Super NES, lest we forget — was reaching a fever pitch; the 32-bit system would release later that very year, wowing everyone with its smooth, texture-mapped polygonal graphics, high-quality audio and impressive arcade ports.

As with many things that got overshadowed at their time of original release, however, Stunt Race FX remains a fascinating piece of Nintendo history that remains worth exploring.

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Wreckfest: This One’s A Right Banger

I’ve been following Wreckfest on and off for what feels like a very long time now.

Originally announced by Finnish developer Bugbear (creators of the vastly underappreciated Ridge Racer Unbounded) as Next Car Game back in 2013, Wreckfest was designed as a spiritual successor to the company’s cult hit FlatOut series, as well as a natural evolution of older titles such as Psygnosis’ Destruction Derby series, popularised in the PS1 era, and the even more venerable home computer title Street Rod from Logical Design Works and California Dreams.

After more than four years of early access on Windows PC and another year of getting the console versions up to snuff, Wreckfest is now available in all its glory for home computers, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. So let’s get our hands dirty!

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Racer Essentials: S.T.U.N. Runner

After checking out the not-very-good-but-I-still-like-it Atari ST version on Atari A to Z earlier this week, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at the arcade original of S.T.U.N. Runner.

It’s an interesting game, for sure; although Sega is widely credited with popularising the polygonal racer in arcades thanks to its excellent Virtua Racing, Atari Games had actually been experimenting with filled 3D racers for some years previously.

Probably the most well-known of these is Hard Drivin’, a game that took itself a little too seriously — to date it’s still the only arcade racer I know of with a clutch pedal — but the futuristic bobsled run that is S.T.U.N. Runner was also innovative in its own way.

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Table Top Racing World Tour Nitro Edition: Less is More

One of the most commonly cited reasons for enjoying video games is allowing oneself to realise fantasies of various descriptions.

Frequently, these fantasies are heroic in nature, casting us into a world that is not our own and throwing us into conflict against a powerful foe that is nonetheless possible to overcome with enough determination. Sometimes they’re emotional, allowing us to engage with characters who are very different from people we encounter in reality. They might even be sexual, giving us the opportunity to explore a side of ourselves we find difficult to bring up even with people we know and love.

Or sometimes they might just be wondering what it would be like if your childhood toy cars could actually power themselves and race around an improvised circuit constructed of whatever happened to be on hand at the time. Enter the extravagantly titled Table Top Racing World Tour Nitro Edition, a game that can most certainly help with that last one, even if it won’t assist with your throbbing libido in the slightest. Unless you’re really into tiny cars.

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Sega Ages: OutRun – Chasing the Horizon

Trivia of the day: the shiny red car in the original OutRun is not, as many people assume (and as both numerous sites on the Internet and some incarnations of the game’s original manual claim), a Ferrari Testarossa; it’s just a car designed to look uncannily like a Ferrari Testarossa — in other words, it’s a thoroughly unlicensed knockoff.

The fact that the car in OutRun is almost-but-not-quite a Ferrari is probably why this first game in the series has been so widely ported and still remains relevant today, while the officially Ferrari-branded OutRun 2 and its expanded quasi-sequel OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast remain tragically trapped in licensing limbo.

The original OutRun has been ported to enough platforms to make the original Final Fantasy and Ys games blush over the years, as well as putting in occasional guest appearances in games such as Shenmue 2 and Yakuza 0. The latest direct port at the time of writing is for Nintendo Switch as part of the Sega Ages collection and is the work of emulation maestros M2, so let’s once again put our foot to the floor and get driving.

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