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Nathan Wind

Top-Down Racing Games

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The very first overhead racing game I played was the Oliver Twins' Grand Prix Simulator on the Amstrad and it's a genre I've adored ever since.  I must have played scores of these games over the years but I'm still finding ones I didn't even know existed, like the rather excellent Racing Gears Advance, as suggested by Vimster in the Game Boy thread which prompted my starting this topic.  I've recently also been enjoying Thrash Rally on the Neo Geo and am looking forward to playing Neo Drift Out again soon (played in the arcade as a youngster), and trying Over Top for the first time.  As I once again find myself becoming jaded with modern games - although there have been some fairly good recent examples like Toybox Turbos and Motor Storm RC - this is a genre that still excites me. 

 

Notable favourites of mine include the obvious choices, like the Micro Machines series, Mashed and Super Cars, as well as absolute classics like Super Sprint, Badlands and Ivan Ironman Stewarts' Super Off-Road.  I also love some of the perhaps lesser known examples like Power Drive Rally on the Jaguar, Speedster on the Playstation and now, of course, the aforementioned Racing Gears Advance.  So how about you lot?

 

Have a couple of videos.

 

 

 

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Grand Prix Simulator is awesome, I used to play the C64 version.  Also on C64 I used to enjoy On-Track Racing and Rally Speedway, neither of which really stand up to scrutiny today, sadly; the first has no drift in its cornering and the second is just a bonkers drive-over-all-the-flat-scenery affair.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Camel said:

Grand Prix Simulator is awesome,

 

 

It still plays brilliantly.  Jet Ski and BMX Simulator's do too.  I hadn't really considered it, but I suppose you could throw Toobin' in with this lot - another old favourite of mine.  I'd play the two player mode for hours with my mate on the ST.

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While I agree re GPS, and I still play it occasionally, I think BMX Simulator has always been a bit of a fun vacuum, which is a shame as it certainly looks great.

 

 

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I think I'm probably a bit guilty of rose-tintiness when it comes to BMX Simulator because it's one of my earliest memories of the fun of multiplayer gaming.  It's brutally hard for sure.

 

Another Codies game I had fond memories of was Super Stuntman.  It was one of the first games I loaded up when I bought an Amstrad earlier this year but my god it's aged badly.  I found it pretty much uncontrollable.  I remember being able to get through the speedboat stage up to the canyon jump as a kid, but I could never get that right.  Superb title music though!

 

 

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F1 Spirit series and F1 Dream are great overhead racers. ATR on the Amiga I always found to be a lot of fun (plus it's never given as much attention as Super Cars). Couple of other Amiga classics are Roadkill, Nitro (with robotic Roger Moore and Clint Eastwood) and Skidmarks. Although technically it's an isometric racer.

 

If that counts then RC Pro Am on the NES by Rare is a great game too...it's basically Micro Machines/Super Cars but isometric...

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I think I only ever had the demo, but I remember Slicks on the C64 having Dirt Rally level tension, as you were out if you crashed. Rose-tinted specs, I'm sure, but it felt like a good risk/reward mechanic back in the day.

 

I also have a bit of a soft spot for Roadkill for the Amiga 1200 (AGA!) after picking it up for £1 at one of those computer fairs where they sold original disks as 'blanks' when the games worked fine.

 

I had the Jamma PCB for Mille Miglia 2. Not as good as Neo Drift Out, but not bad as far as isometric stuff goes.

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Think we've done this before so not going to mention the classics but I was obsessed with Ignition on PC for quite a while back in the late 90s. Such a great game, full of variety, different types of vehicles, massive jumps and shortcuts all over the place. Loved it. 

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One I cannot recommend is Super Stock Car on the C64. Despite some fantastic late-era presentational polish, the handling is stiff, it lacks drift/slide, gets to the point where one crash basically ends your race, and is actually flat-out boring (no power-ups, no bonuses).

 

Super Sprint/Championship Sprint still play brilliantly. They have inertia more than drift really, hard to describe, but you can just throw the cars around the course. That's what makes a good top-down racer for me, the best ones have very fluid handling. You shouldn't really have to brake.

 

Playing BMX Racer recently, it wasn't that bad, although it hasn't aged well. It really was a super-hyped game at the time. Definitely superseded by many games but surprisingly good fun, especially with another human opponent (what isn't?).

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9 hours ago, Vimster said:

One I cannot recommend is Super Stock Car on the C64. Despite some fantastic late-era presentational polish, the handling is stiff, it lacks drift/slide, gets to the point where one crash basically ends your race, and is actually flat-out boring (no power-ups, no bonuses).

 

Playing BMX Racer recently, it wasn't that bad, although it hasn't aged well. It really was a super-hyped game at the time. Definitely superseded by many games but surprisingly good fun, especially with another human opponent (what isn't?).

I'd forgotten about Super Stock Car, the C64 version looks quite different to the Amstrad one.  Looking at it now it does look really slow and lifeless but the licensed cars are a nice touch for a budget game.

 

BMX, GP and Jet Ski were among the first games I loaded up again recently and I thought they'd all aged well.  BMX is definitely tough, with the twitchy handling and the fact that if you so much as look at a trackside object the bike throws you over the bars, but I found I soon got used to it again and it was still a fun little racer.  It's interesting comparing the difference between it and Unirally for me.  Unirally being a game I never played until recently and have no childhood memories of, so I found it difficult to find the patience to persevere with it. BMX Sim is obviously hard, unfairly so, but because of my fond memories of it I was quite happy to sit there playing it again. 

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I worked on Toybox Turbos, so its nice to hear at least one person who enjoyed it, Nathan. :)

 

Also, as a side note, the physics programmer who did all the handling in Mashed also worked on Toybox Turbos!

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I wrote about Super Skidmarks for BlueKeycard last issue:

 

http://bluekeycard.com/2016/07/31/super-skidmarks/

 

It's more about games that push at the boundaries they create for themselves, but Super Skidmarks was bloody brilliant. I accidentally spent ages playing it when I was meant to be just grabbing a few quick screenshots too, so I can definitely say that it's still bloody brilliant.

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15 hours ago, ScouserInExile said:

Loved, loved, loved Super Sprint on the C64. Played it to death. Fantastic game.

 

ST version was also a pretty good conversion - three players on one screen, too.

 

I have fond memories of playing SuperBug in the arcades, one wet summer in the 70s; not strictly a racer as I recall - think it was just you on the track - but the wheel and 4-speed gearbox was fun for a kid.

 

SuperBug.jpg

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Super Sprint is terrible on the C64 :(

 

As good as any conversion of Super Sprint is, it's just never going to the be the same without the arcade cabinet's super spinny wheels to steer with.

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Sadly the only real way to play Super Sprint style games is finding some of the good home ports before emulation the ports compensate for not having a wheel with no lock on it.

 

I guess that means the Atari ST version of Super Sprint is probably the way to go now.

 

I remember being hooked on a demo of Slicks on the C64 one summer. Sadly living in Australia and being on the dole at the time meant I could never get my hands on the full thing.

 

Just look at it!

 

 

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Other than the ones mentioned I loved Rally Cross Simulator on C64 (don't look on YT as the only videos I can find of it are played by someone who appears to have no hands), not sure if it would stand up today but as a kid I loved it.

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As above, the RecklessRacing series on iOS is excellent - but there's quite a few others.

 

Drift n'Drive is great and Rush Rally 2, which is excellent with the other views, has recently added an overhead cam.

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1 hour ago, ilpostino said:

Other than the ones mentioned I loved Rally Cross Simulator on C64 (don't look on YT as the only videos I can find of it are played by someone who appears to have no hands), not sure if it would stand up today but as a kid I loved it.

 

By Gavin Raeburn, who would go on to be producer on the TOCA and Colin McRae games.

 

For the C64 I love

- Slicks: as close to Micro Machines that the C64 ever got, six Grand Priz tracks and a clever "bet your car" feature

- Turbo Kart Racer: fun budget game, only thing that lets it down is a couple of bugs

- Supercars: good conversion of the Magnetic Fields game

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