Tag Archives: racing games

Formula 1 97: Racing, Refined

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A year after the well-received Formula 1 hit the PlayStation, Bizarre Creations proved that their apparent skill in creating great racing games wasn’t just a fluke — because they made another Formula One game, and it was even better.

Formula 1 97 hit store shelves in September of 1997, a month before the 1997 racing season came to a close. While development ran fairly smoothly — and apparently legendary commentator Murray Walker was so impressed with the game that he signed an exclusive agreement with Sony to provide commentary for another two years — Psygnosis and Sony ran into legal issues with the sport’s various governing bodies after the game launched, and ended up having to repackage, rename and rerelease the game.

Thankfully none of that matters now, and Formula 1 97 still provides an enjoyable racing experience for both arcade racer fans and more dedicated petrolheads. So let’s take a closer look!

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Formula 1: Bizarre Creations’ True Beginning

This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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So far here on Fatal Rewind: A Bizarre Creations Retrospective, we’ve seen how Martyn Chudley and, subsequently, a team of able assistants, commanded a solid technical mastery over the hardware they were working on, producing beautiful looking games that played well.

Today, we reach a significant milestone in the history of the company and their games, because it marks the point at which Chudley and his team became Bizarre Creations, the name under which they worked up until their untimely demise in 2011.

It also marks the first time they worked on a type of game that would come to be seen as their particular specialism: the accessible but realistic racing game, straddling the line between arcade game and simulation. Let’s look at Formula 1, released for PlayStation in 1996.

Continue reading Formula 1: Bizarre Creations’ True Beginning

Tokyo Highway Challenge: Around and Around and Around

The racing game genre is one area of gaming where, outside of graphical and performance improvements, I suspect it’s always felt quite difficult to innovate.

After all, the fundamental concept of “two or more things moving in the same direction at high speed, with one attempting to get somewhere before the other one in order to receive some sort of reward” has been around pretty much as long as human civilisation. So what else can you do with that?

Well, says Tokyo Highway Challenge (aka Tokyo Xtreme Racer, aka Shutokou Battle) for Sega Dreamcast, why not rethink the fundamental means through which a winner is decided? Let’s take a closer look at how that works.

Continue reading Tokyo Highway Challenge: Around and Around and Around

Evercade A to Z: Checkered Flag

Every gaming platform worth its salt needs at least one great racing game to keep the petrolheads amused. And in the case of the Atari Lynx, that role was very capably fulfilled by Checkered Flag.

The game is a challenging “vanishing point” racer that offers a wide selection of tracks and options to customise your experience, plus a great showcase of the Lynx’s hardware scaling capabilities. Plus you get a big ol’ snog from a hottie (male or female, depending on preference) in a swimsuit if you win. And now you can enjoy it as part of the Atari Lynx Collection 2 for the Evercade!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari ST A to Z: Karting Grand Prix

Sometimes, it’s good to play a genuinely awful game just to remind yourself how good we have it most of the time. And sometimes you end up very pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes, though, a game is just irredeemably terrible and no amount of positive intention will save it. Sadly, such is the case with Karting Grand Prix for Atari ST by Anco — though I will add a disclaimer at this point. This video was based off the version of the game that Automation archived among their enormous collection of floppy disk menus, and is seemingly an incomplete or earlier version of the game; the final retail release does run slightly faster, but that doesn’t do much to rescue this absolute tyre fire.

Enjoy my suffering in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for happier times!

Atari A to Z

Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge

Racing games used to be very different to how we know them today — primarily due to the limitations of the hardware on which they were running.

Instead of unfolding in lovingly rendered, minutely detailed 3D polygonal worlds as most of today’s racers are, they took what we now call a “vanishing point” approach, where the road was drawn using two converging lines to simulate a sense of perspective, and sprites drawn at various sizes were placed along the sides of the track to assist with the illusion of movement and speed.

Of all the racers designed in this way — and there are many, including some developed quite recently! — Kemco’s Top Racer, also known as Top Gear, is one of the finest out there. This is a game that still gets regular play from a lot of racing enthusiasts today — plus now you can enjoy it as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Top Racer: Definitely-Not-Lotus Turbo Challenge

Atari ST A to Z: Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off-Road

Before 3D became particularly widespread, there were quite a few top-down racing games in the arcades. And this perspective made them ideal for multiplayer competition.

A relatively late entry to this subgenre of arcade racing was Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off-Road, rebranded to simply Super Off-Road on subsequent re-releases due to licensing shenanigans. This got an extremely solid Atari ST port by Graftgold, who were well-known for their good work on a variety of platforms.

It’s definitely a challenge, but it holds up surprisingly well today. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

short;Play: Burnout 2

Burnout 2 best Burnout? In my mind it certainly is, which is why I was keen to spend a bit more time playing it for this week’s short;Play.

Burnout 2 is one of the best arcade racers ever created, as I’ve already argued at length, and it’s a crying shame it’s not one of the many games from the PS2 era that has ended up with an HD remaster of some sort. Although I worry it might lose some of the magic if ported to modern consoles — particularly if it ended up with a string of patches and DLC attached to it, as some of these remasters have ended up suffering!

Still, there’s nothing stopping us from enjoying the original and best, so let’s do just that. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

short;Play: Inertial Drift

What do you mean it sounds a bit like “Initial D”? Completely coincidental, I’m sure.

Inertial Drift is a brand new arcade racer with an unusual but highly effective twin-stick control scheme. It’s a ton of fun that channels some serious ’90s energy, and proof if proof were needed that indie devs are on point when it comes to resurrecting supposedly “dead” game genres.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

MotorPsycho: The 7800’s Best Motorcycle Racing Game

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