Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Nintendo's Rad Racer -Nintendo NES
Retro Gaming Review

 Nintendo NES console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewNintendo Rad Racer for Nintendo NES Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Rad Racer
Manufacturer: Square
Platform: Nintendo NES
Release Date: 1987
Part #: NES-RC-USA
Rating: 4 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Nintendo Rad Racer Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Nintendo Rad Racer Screenshot:
Nintendo Rad Racer for Nintendo NES screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

After playing a lot of Indy 500 and Street Racer on the Atari 2600, Rad Racer sent my eyes wide open. It reminded me of racers I'd played in arcades and it had so many options for my novice-driving self. I was infatuated with the game and couldn't get enough! This game fueled my craving for Sega's Out Run and other similar games of that ere.

My next realization was it's difficulty. Progressing from course to course is fairly difficult. You need to employ a variety of skills to reach the next level - beginning with, "don't crash". You can keep trying by pressing START and A to continue onward. Although it is said you can cheat...

Rad Racer's Story Arc

There's no story to be had. You're not a heroic racer trying to avenge an opponent or a smuggler trying reach a secret destination to cash-in. It's a race. You're driving.

Rad Racer's Game Play

Select between a 328 Twin Turbo or F1 machine. Your D-pad lets you steer left and right, with the UP position engaging Turbo (once you reach 100mph) while the DOWN position changes the background music. The A button accelerates and B will Brake. Simple, right?

If high intensity racing get to you, slap the start button to pause and get your nerve back (or snacks). Watch for the curve signs to give a bit of forewarning to the shifting road. Taking a turn too wide will cause you to slide off the course where you're likely to hit a tree or other obstacle, although you might get lucky.

As you progress, the other cars on the track increase in difficulty. They'll be less cooperative in letting you pass and sometimes all three lanes will be blocked. Naturally, this costs you time as does the annoying crash-recovery in which you must wait as your car slowly slides from the accident to center screen. Arggg!

Holy shit! Check this out...
Rad Racer was the first racing game for the NES and was quite successful due to it's similarity to arcade favorites like Out Run. Even if time runs out, your car can continue to coast and can
still reach the checkpoint if close enough.

The sequel, Rad Racer II, is not thought of as an overall improvement to the original and it was released three years after the first game. That's an eternity in sequels at the time.

Crashing almost always prevents you from reaching checkpoints once you get close to progressing to the next level. Anything costing time has a higher penalty as you close in on the final check point.

Driving directly behind another car protects yo from attack, but may also slow you down. You can gain in turns by taking them faster from the outer lane and cutting across to the inner lane.

Rad Racer's eight stages offer a lot of sights and terrain. Stage 1 lets you drive from daylight into dusk and a night scene. Stage 2 is a night drive towards the San Francisco skyline. Stage 3 takes you through mountainous terrain. Stage 4 is set in Athens with the iconic Greek temples on the horizon.

If you persevere, Stage 5 is a night drive towards a city skyline. Stage 6 leads you through Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Stage 7 introduces a variety of weather conditions to throw you off your game. Stage 8 is the final stretch along a coastal highway.

The moving backgrounds are nicely done, the winding roadway moves effortlessly and the scaling of other vehicles adds to the illusion. Rad Racer is challenging and a lot of fun to play. If you want to play advanced levels without earning the privilege, you can select a specific stage Stage at the game's start up. After selecting a car, the demo screen appears. Press B one time less than the course you want to play. To start at level 4 press B three times. Then hold Up and RIGHT (the diagonal) and press START.

 Nintendo NES console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Nintendo Rad Racer

is a challenging fun game that brings arcade racers of that era to the NES. The diverse scenes across the stages is nicely implemented and the scaling as objects come and go is quite smooth.

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