Midway’s 1983 title Spy Hunter is a fairly well-loved title from the golden age of arcade games. While some would argue it’s not quite as well-known as the Pac-Men and the Space Invaderses of the world, it’s still a game a lot of people have fond memories of.
Its top-down combat racing action provided an interesting blend of different genres to enjoy; there was the high-speed skilful manoeuvring of racers, coupled with the focus on high-score chasing typically associated with shoot ’em ups. And it had a distinct sense of style, too; originally intended to be a licensed James Bond game, the game ended up becoming iconic for its use of Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme as its in-game music. And early example of a video game being genuinely “cool”.
When a mechanical reboot and narrative sequel showed up for PlayStation 2 in 2001, then, it had quite the shoes to fill. How well did it pay homage to the original while providing an up-to-date experience for the early 21st century gamer? Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading SpyHunter: Who Needs Stealth?
When contemplating video games from years gone by, it’s all too easy to focus exclusively on the “classics” — those defining experiences that went on to have a huge amount of influence on everything that came afterwards.
But the highly influential and historically significant nature of these games means that, by this point in time, most of the things which can be said about them have probably already been said. These days, I personally find it much more interesting to dive into the dustiest of dusty archives and dig out some stuff that, while perhaps not as well-regarded as the “greats” from over the years, might do some unusual, experimental and creative things with established formulae.
One of the best things about Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming platform is that the people behind it clearly understand this. And so, while the Evercade’s Atari Collection 1 cartridge contains established, all-time early ’80s classics like Asteroids and Centipede for Atari’s monstrously popular 2600 console, it also features 1990’s MotorPsycho — a double-whammy of overlooked goodness in that it is 1) a game that will likely be largely unfamiliar to a lot of people today, and 2) it came out on the Atari 7800, a console no-one bought. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading MotorPsycho: The 7800’s Best Motorcycle Racing Game
A few days before writing this, I must confess that I hadn’t played Burnout 2: Point of Impact for quite some time. I had fond memories of the series as a whole, but hadn’t revisited any of them — including last installment Paradise — for many years.
Recording an episode of The MoeGamer Podcast on arcade racers (which you can watch and/or listen to right here) inspired me to dig out some old favourites, though — and Burnout 2 was high up my priority list.
After several hours of utter racing joy flew by without me noticing, it made me realise — or perhaps recall — that Burnout 2: Point of Impact is one of the finest arcade racers ever created. And even with the recent resurgence of interest in the genre thanks to spunky indies, they really do not make ’em like this any more. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Burnout 2: Point of Impact – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like This Any More
I love me a slippery-slidy, drift-centric arcade racer, as you’ll know very well if you followed the extensive Ridge Racer Cover Game feature from a while back, or indeed were kind enough to watch my playthrough of Split/Second Velocity on YouTube.
As such, I was immediately interested when PQube announced its upcoming racer Inertial Drift, developed by an outfit known as Level 91 Entertainment. This game promised a ’90s style aesthetic, exaggerated arcadey racing action… and what sounded like a rather unusual control scheme.
How exactly does a twin-stick racing game work anyway? I fired up the Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue interactive demo to find out.
Continue reading Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue: A Bold New Take on Arcade Racing
Data East may be a slightly lesser-known company than the big hitters of the 8- and 16-bit era, but they still put out some cracking arcade games during this period, many of which got home ports.
One fine example is Burnin’ Rubber, which is also known, depending on where you are in the world and what platform you played it on, as either Bump ‘n’ Jump or Buggy Popper.
It’s a top down racer that predates Bally Midway’s better-known classic of the genre Spy Hunter by a full year, and you can play an official modern rerelease of the NES version right now on the Evercade retro gaming handheld as part of its third cartridge, Data East Collection 1. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Burnin’ Rubber: Let’s Bump ‘n’ Jump
Many people assumed that the advent of the true 3D polygonal racer spelled the death of the traditional, “vanishing point” racer.
After all, why would you ever want to play a technologically limited game where you simply slide from side to side on a track without actually turning when you can spin your car around, go the wrong way and attempt to cause as many head-on collisions as possible? Or race in “true 3D” too, I suppose.
Well… you know… because it’s fun. And thankfully a number of developers in recent years have remembered that. And so we’ve ended up with loving homages to the past such as the Kickstarter-funded Slipstream, and the subject of today’s article: Horizon Chase Turbo. Let’s take a look.
Continue reading Horizon Chase Turbo: Top Gear Returns
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.
Continue reading nail’d: Look Out Below
“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.
Continue reading Super Mario Kart: Defining a Genre
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.
Continue reading Stunt Race FX: A Last Hurrah
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!
Continue reading Wreckfest: This One’s A Right Banger