The Top 10 Raddest Racing Games of All Time
When I was a wee lad, I remember tearing around the backyard on my Transformers big wheel, pulling the e-brake at high speeds to pitch the back end out around corners, only to blindly scream through the next section with reckless abandon. These are the games that totally captured that feeling of raw power and flat-out gleeful fun of burning rubber and going fast.
By Brad Iger
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
When Nintendo Entertainment System hit the scene back in 1985, there were two games you had to have: Super Mario Bros. (duh, and it came with the system) and Excitebike.
Excitebike dropped you into the ruthless world of high-speed motocross racing, complete with dastardly cheap moves which could cause competitors to crash end over end, motors which would overheat by design, and – most importantly, a level editor, so you could setup an endless sequence of those turbo arrows followed by huge jumps. That intro song will be forever burned into my memory, and I kind of like that.
9. Test Drive III
Ahh, Test Drive. Many an hour in elementary school computer lab was misspent barreling down the highway in this game’s pixilated supercars instead of doing homework.
Besides the awesome-factor of the high speed police chases in “real” rendered exotic sports cars like the Lamborghini Diablo, the game’s elaborate anti-piracy decoder-wheel thing was pretty neat, and the ghetto work-around of photocopying each wheel and tacking them together added to the charm.
8. Forza 2 Motorsport
In the racing games genre, there will always be a segment of games which are considered to be for hardcore racing fans only. Until Forza, the only game franchise that really stood out as a series that sought to really appeal to this segment was the Gran Turismo series.
But for Microsoft, this was a problem, because the Gran Turismo series has always been a Playstation exclusive. So they responded with a GT of their own, the Forza Motorsport series, a hardcore racing title with a massive host of real tracks, licensed cars, and seemingly endless modification options.
Though Forza has traditionally aired on the side of arcadey-ness at times when Gran Turismo might’ve stood fast with unrelenting (and often frustrating) simulator-type physics, Forza 2 has two clear advantages in the current-gen battle:
- It’s finished.
- They’ve somehow cracked the code which kept licensed cars and damage modeling mutually exclusive.
Stunts! You were so badass! I could get into a Porsche 962 IMSA race car, floor it, take a corner at high speed, and suddenly… start spiraling up into the stratosphere for no reason at all! Stunts featured a great track editor, awesome cars, and it fit on one 3.5 disc. But the most important factor, the one which takes Stunts to a whole ‘nother level is that the game is laden with wacky physics bugs which seemed to pop up when you really pushed the cars to their limits.
Sharp turns at full speed could cause you to get sucked into an invisible hurricane, landing a jump wrong could land you on an invisible mega-trampoline which would send your car thousands of feet into the air, at which point you could get up, make a sandwich, and come back just in time to see your car explode upon finally hitting the ground. The possibilities were endless, and hilarious.
6. Wave Race 64
What Excitebike was to the NES, Wave Race 64 was to the Nintendo 64. Who knew jet ski racing was so friggin’ addictive? Wave Race also seemed to have an element of unpredictability due to the swells in the water and how they affected the jet skis, especially when trying to jump over obstacles and time your tricks.
Add to that the gauntlet of buoys you had to navigate through, ramps made from pieces of pirate ships, and varying weather conditions, it suddenly becomes very clear why this game was such a standout on the N64.