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Unsung Heroes: old and obscure sims and games


#61

The second one is called Scud Racer. I distinctly remember the first one too but can’t remember its title… Yet. It had an Opel Calibra, a Mercedes C class, a Toyota Supra and an Alfa 155 didn’t it.

Edit: was it this one? https://youtu.be/14qIoYJh58c (Sega Touring Car Racer Arcade)


#62

<3 WUBS ALL AROUND… now to figure out how to emulate the sucker.


#63

For Scud Race (Sega Super GT in North America, to avoid confusion with the Soviet Scud missile) emulation is indeed your only option; the game was never ported at all to any consoles, and for good reason: the BPR Global GT Series, on which the game was based, was rebranded as the FIA GT Championship mere months after the game was released, and that series, in turn, was the predecessor to the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup of today. That said, this game was the first to use Sega’s then-new Model 3 hardware, and compared to the earlier Daytona USA (to which it is effectively a spiritual successor), had even better audio and visuals as a result. That fact alone, however, would have made an arcade-perfect Saturn port (almost) impossible - this was effectively a 64-bit game in a 32-bit world, and it showed.

With that in mind, here’s some footage. This is a quick race on the Expert course (Classic Castle) in the McLaren F1:

And there was also an updated version, Scud Race Plus, which added a Super Beginner course set inside a house, and four utterly bizarre secret vehicles: a tank, a bus, a cat and a rocket car. See the lunacy of it all for yourself:

Sega hasn’t completely forgotten about it, though, despite no longer owning the rights to any of the manufacturers featured in it as of now; the Xbox port of OutRun 2 includes all four of the regular courses from Scud Race (but not the Super Beginner course above) linked together as an unlockable extra not found in the original game (or, indeed, any and all subsequent rereleases of OutRun 2). Here it is:

As for Sega Touring Car Championship, it ran on the older Model 2 hardware and was based on the 1996 International Touring Car Championship. This one can’t be rereleased at all either because the ITC (precursor to today’s DTM) no longer exists. In addition to the AMG C-Class and Opel/Vauxhall Calibra, it also featured an Alfa 155 and a JGTC Toyota Supra, at least a year before the Gran Turismo series made all four of them much more widely known to the general public.

Here’s a playthrough of the arcade version using the C-Class. The interesting thing about it is that if you had the fastest aggregate time after three races (sadly not the case in the video below), you would race on the secret track, called Urban Circuit. It takes place at night and is very narrow, and you have to win on that track to get the best possible ending.

And here’s some footage of the Saturn port. While it has more cars and tracks compared to the arcade version, the graphics are clearly inferior, as they often are with most Saturn ports of Model 2 racers:

In short, this game is just as fun as Sega Rally or Scud Race, but is best experienced on an emulator for the sake of the arcade version’s better visuals. Oh, and the Eurobeat soundtrack - with vocals by Ann Sinclair - is the perfect accompaniment to the game’s fast-paced feel. My favorite is “Don’t Drop Me”:

Just one listen and you’ll wonder why Eurobeat isn’t used as often as it should be in racing games, especially the more recent ones.


#64

Awesome. Thanks for this info. I seem to have played the scud race gt plus in the arcade. Will look into emulators


#65

Here’s another Sega classic for which you’ll need an emulator: Indy 500. It was never ported to the Saturn, presumably because Sega didn’t want to risk losing too much graphical detail in the process, and in fact could never have been converted at all (or rereleased, for that matter) because the titular race became part of the IRL (now IndyCar Series) schedule from 1996 onwards, while CART/Champ Car (the series on which this game is based) eventually merged with IRL in 2008 after years of bad decisions and financial problems. I consider this to be a spiritual successor to Virtua Racing because it also features open-wheel racers, although you can drive the pace car instead if you enter a secret button combination at the start. Interestingly, the top speed of the cars varies depending on which track is chosen, and speaking of which, there are three: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (the only real-life track in the game), Highland Raceway (a permanent road course) and Bay Side Street (a street circuit set in a coastal city). Here’s what a three-lap race on Bay Side Street looks like:

Interestingly, the game does not feature any real-life drivers or teams from the 1995 CART season, and hence the AI-controlled cars are basically recolors of the player’s vehicle. There are no real-life sponsors either, only fictional ones such as Nitropower, Tightfit, Hydroil and Combi-Tech.

Of note is that the ending sequence - only accessible by finishing in the top 3 - contains a narration that runs immediately before the closing credits. It reads: “In the world of racing, legends are few and far between. Those who do reach such legendary status do so by constantly striving to better themselves and their machines - setting record after record, winning race after race. More importantly, they inspire the fans and the other drivers with their dedication to excellence. Now, we take great pleasure in welcoming yet another racer to the Indy Racing Hall Of Fame.” Makes perfect sense to me - this game is tough, but oh-so-worth it!


#66

Ok so I’m old.


#67

Sticking with open-wheelers, here’s another arcade racer about them: Downforce, released in 2002 exclusively for the PS2, and published by the now-defunct Titus. I’m mentioning it here because it’s not as old, but more obscure. All of the cars featured in this game were fictional, but closely resembled contemporary F1 and Champ Car designs, and according to the in-game descriptions, featured a whole host of technologies that were never allowed in either series. Also, it was the closest thing there ever was (or will ever be) to an official Champ Car game since CART Fury, released just a few years earlier.

This game featured many playable drivers, but you start with only 10 unlocked initially: Armando (Brazilian), Hiroo (Japanese), Buzz (American), Arielle (French), Dimitri (Russian), Jurgen (German), Skye (Australian), Vinnie (Italian), Kera (British) and Jackhammer (Egyptian). Each of them, including the unlockable ones, had a different driving style when under AI control, adding to the fun factor. As for the tracks, all of them are street circuits, and some are merely alternate configurations of other circuits, but each one provides breathtaking scenery and requires a different strategy for getting the best times. And if you crashed your car, it would lose a piece of its wing at best, and outright explode at worst - not the most realistic approach, but certainly spectacular. Funnily enough, the game has tracks in such locations as Singapore, Hong Kong and even Sydney, years before actual street circuits were constructed there in real life.

Here’s a playthrough of the Beginner Championship with Skye:

It’s clear that Downforce is now a game totally disconnected from the present: it’s impossible to imagine anyone developing such an obviously arcade-style racer for home consoles or PCs today. In today’s era of extreme realism, where nearly every AAA racing game is a realistic simulator, the kind of escapism (and relative simplicity) found in Downforce, with its wildly exaggerated handling physics and absurd sense of speed, is sorely missed. In fact, it’s highly likely that an entire generation of players won’t even know what an arcade racer was - unless it’s Need For Speed, of course, because the recent demise of (almost) every other arcade racer on the market has effectively left it in a class of one, an anachronism harking back to simpler, wilder times, long before realism and licensing became all the rage.


#68

Just a Few Old Games I Like, Mainly Racing but here’s 1 that’s not:
Car Builder for MS-DOS, Got a Few Features I’d like to see in Automation (Fuel Tank Location & Size, Wind Tunnel & Detailed Road Test), Was on a PC in my High School Auto Shop:


Onto the Racing Games:
@nialloftara I think I also Played 1nsane, IIRC I got a CD with the files for it from a Neighbor Years & Years Ago, Along with a CD with a SNES Emulator & some Roms. I Might still have the CD around somewhere unless I got rid of it.

Next, a Good ol NES Gem, Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing, Fantastic 8 Bit Soundtrack!:

Next on the List, Andretti Racing for the PS1, Still got the Disc for it:



That’s all that come to mind right now


#69

Can Confirm, Found the Disc, got Insane Racing marked on it, Popped it in the Computer, Got a Folder called Insane with a Date Modified of 29/05/2002


#70

The mid-late 90s was the heyday for officially licensed games based on Champ Car. Here are two of the more notable ones.

CART World Series - Developed and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America, and released in 1997 for the PS1, it featured the full driver and team lineup for that season, and allowed players to make adjustments to their car pre-race, as well as attempt to qualify to improve their starting position. It was also possible to either compete in the CART championship spanning all the tracks, or race on just one of them. Interestingly, due to licensing issues, the Penske cars are depicted in-game with an all-white livery.

Newman Haas Racing - Also based on the 1997 CART season, but this was co-developed by the now-defunct combo of Studio Liverpool and Bizarre Creations, which was responsible for the first two PS1 Formula One games, and it showed in the gameplay, audio, and visuals. No, it didn’t feature Murray Walker, but as a time capsule of the golden age of American open-wheel racing, it’s well worth seeking out. Unlike CART World Series, however, this game had a turbo boost system with a limited duration per session.

Simply by playing either of these games, you will be reminded of what has been lost since CART merged with the IndyCar Series (formerly the Indy Racing League) - the ex-F1 drivers, the international venues (except for Toronto) and even some of the US circuits such as Laguna Seca - IndyCar wouldn’t dare to revisit those tracks today due to a relative lack of recognition among the general public. In fact, expanding beyond North America would go a long way to restore the series’ prestige, in my view at least.