Saturday, March 17, 2012

Old Racing Game: Rad Racer!!!

It's Rad Racer!  RRAAAAD RRACCCEE---oh never mind.

Since I've got nothing better to talk about, let's talk old NES racing games.  Just got done with R.C. Pro-Am, why not another R-racing game?

This is a 1987 NES classic by Square.  Wait--SQUARE???  Yes, Final Fantasy's Square.  Well, they also made Chocobo Racing which proves that Square can hang with the big boys such as Sega and....uh, no one else cause Sega's the king.

This is the whole game in action--from start to finish in 25 minutes (no continues run which is very difficult).   Now let's evaluate what you see.  You're driving a red Ferrari down the road as object fly by via parallax scrolling.  You're dodging traffic alongside a beach with palm trees and blue skies as well as other colorful landscapes.  You can listen to one of three music tracks.  If you hit an object on the side of the road, you flip over and are placed back on course.

Oh, and there's a girl riding shotgun with you.

I've never played a game like this before--oh wait, it's just an OutRun clone, lol.

OutRun came out in '86, Rad Racer in '87.  Considering the wonderful quality of OutRun home ports at the time, Rad Racer was very good.  It also had the benefit of coming out on the NES while OutRun came out on oddball consoles like the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Master System, and Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

Hey if you want to praise Rad Racer, fine by me, but give credit where credit's due...!

Sooo...some more stuff about this game.  You have a choice of two cars at the start--a Ferrari 328 Twin Turbo (which is in OutRun 2 BTW) and an F1 car.  Surprisingly, side-by-side comparisons have proven that both cars are exactly identical in speed.  The only difference is that driving the Ferrari will spawn sports car traffic while driving the F1 car will spawn other F1 cars.  Also, instead of a gear shifter, both cars have an infinite "turbo boost" that makes you accelerate faster but harder to turn.  So good for you!  Automatic transmission FTW!!!  I need naaawwwsssssss...

Guess what?  The top speed in this game is 255 kph (158.45 mph).  This is stupid for two reasons.  One, the range for a byte (or 8 bits) of memory is 0 thru 255.  So basically, they only had one byte to give for the top speed.  FYI, OutRun tops out at 293 kph (TWO BYTES!!!...that's the Yu Suzuki assembly programming).  It just sticks out like a sore thumb.  Second, what the f'n hell are they thinking making an F1 car go 160 mph max???  F1 cars normally drive up to 220 mph.  Same thing with the Ferrari too, though I doubt any of these numbers matter since it's unlikely this game's metrics match real-life speed.

Here it is--here's every track in the game.  1-4 on the left, 5-8 on the right.  The 4th track looks like a Famas assault rifle.  You don't go thru intersections like in OutRun--instead you remain in the same stage for about 2-3 minutes (with a few scenery changes at each checkpoint) then move onto the next one.  Run out of time and you get to restart at the beginning of the level you failed at.  Oh, BTW, this is one hard-ass game so good luck trying to beat it, especially the latter levels where you can't afford to even crash once.  But OutRun was hard too so there's another thing Square copied.  Bravo, Square.

Come to think of it, OutRun really needed more pitch black/neon green tracks so Square delivers again on that front.

This is the last track in the game.  Each track has their own unique traffic cars and here we have a cavalcade of Ferrari Testarossas driving along the beach.  Just like in OutRun.  It's as if Square is mocking us.  Well, go back to your little bishounen games and shove it.

The game also has one more fun feature--3D glasses support!!!  Just hit the select button (or something) and it toggles from normal to 3D mode.  It turns the screen into these hideous hues of red and blue.  Just like modern-day 3D gimmicks, this one sucks too.

Anyway, there's a sequel called Rad Racer 2 which looks very similar but with more polished handling.  And a mph gauge instead of a kph gauge which means a top speed of...255 mph.  Very realistic.  But I don't want to discuss that game now since I have very little to say.  So Rad Racer's pretty cool and it would get a 9.1 in my book, but since it's an OutRun IMPOSTOR, I deduct 9 points so it has a Final Review Score of 0.1.  Don't like it NES fanboys, come at me, bro--I have the Power Glove.

And please check out on R.C. Pro-AmCalifornia SpeedInitial D, RoadBlasters, and Super Sprint/Super-Off Road/Indy Heat.  Damn I love to pimp out other links on my blog.


  1. Hahahaha. I tend to remember Rad Racer rather fondly, but I have never really realised how much of a clone it is. I even played Outrun beforehand, but never really thought anything of it. Outrun was such a breath of fresh air, man! I will always remember it as the game I played when I felt awkward and excused myself from the table at the local bar n' grub for a bit while meeting my biological dad for the first time. This was the summer of 88. It was so awesome! My ma was like, "hey, come talk to your dad!" And i was so engrossed in Outrun, seriously fucking engrossed, it was that awesome! The kind of engrossed you get playing an awesome game for the first time. I wasn't really trying to avoid him. They just kinda laughed about it. So after I eventually got done, the sperm donor and I went and played some Rush N' Attack Co-op arcade. Now that's bonding. Ya know, he wasn't half bad. I know this because I played the shit outta the NES version previously. I don't think he did. A couple weeks after I went and stayed with him for three weeks at the ass end of summer, and the only video games he had was an Intellivision. Tank Battle, baby! That shit was ferocious.

  2. You have the most interesting stories :)