RACING IN SHAPESLAND
Released in the Arcade in 1992, ported to Sega Genesis/megadrive in 1994.
Virtua Racing was actually designed to showcase a 3D graphics platform for Sega but they felt the results were so good that they turned it into actual game. This game paved the way for Daytona USA and Ridge Racer it started the 3D racing genre, there were 3D racers before but nothing quite like this.
This is an arcade racing game so there is no backstory but if you require one then, you’re an ace driver out to win everything!
The game consists of 3 tracks all of varying difficulty, Big forest (easy), Bay Bridge (medium) and Acropolis (hard). There were three versions of the game in the arcades, an upright single player, a twin seater and a single seater sit down with hydraulics. All versions had a steering wheel accelerator, brake and flappy paddle levers for changing the 7 gears if you selected manual.
Also it had a start button and four viewpoint buttons in red, blue, green and yellow which allowed you to swap between four views which was a first for this genre. The races were all closed circuits and were broken into three or so checkpoints which you had to pass with the time you had, once these checkpoints were passed the time would be added for the next checkpoint. So finish the all the laps with the time you have and try and come first.
IN THE REAL WORLD
Your back would be fucked in the first 100 meters thanks to the Octadecagon (18 sides) wheels. Big forest the easy track has you starting from the pit lane with the race already underway, how the fuck is that easy?!? Exposed trees, windmill and fucking cows walking up to the side of the road, nice F1 race track! Shit can those cows scoot if you aim your car at them, maybe I should race one of them around the track because their faster than my car, literally.
I had dreams about this game once I played it for the first time in the arcades and it was the first time I ever payed a dollar for a game. I thought I could actually drive a car after playing this and wouldn’t hear anything else on the matter! When this got ported I couldn’t wait, but I was disappointed, the D-pad just didn’t cut it for a racing game yet I still played it constantly and used my imagination to fill in the graphical gaps.
Later in life I actually bought the twin version for my home but we moved and I had to sell it because of its size and over all weight! While I had it I loved playing the GP mode (rarely used in the arcades) which ran for 20 laps. I loved watching my lap times fall then go back up when my tyres went off, then stopping in the pits to change tyres. That being said I can’t recommend this to new players, I am looking at it with rose-coloured glasses and even if you could find the arcade version you would just say Daytona was better and you would be right.
Good feeling of speed (except for cows)
Nice elevation on roads
GP 20 lap mode requires pitstop for tyres
Feels great in cockpit
Racing against another player always good
Polygon graphics are dated
Only 3 tracks
Daytona did everything better.