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Arcade-style racing games


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Racing games that take place in "realistic" environments, but don't necessarily follow real-life physics and take on a more arcade-style whimsical approach. Some of my favorite series of such games would have to include:

OutRun

Burnout

Midnight Club

FlatOut

Top Gear

Rush

Cruis'n

Asphalt

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My go to is still Outrun 2006 - I have the disc in my collection and it has a permanent spot on my desktop.

 

Honourable mention to Rumble Racing, a PS2 racer that was no insta-classic but lots of fun in multiplayer, with SSX-y trick boosts and Mario Kart-style powerups on the track. The surrounding presentation made it seem like a cheap and cheerful distraction but it could cause entire evenings to vanish. When's that coming to the PS+ Premium Classics Catalogue?

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Both the Hydro Thunder games are epic.

 

The Motorstorm series, even the third which was a bit of a departure from the first two…

 

Virtua Racing is fun, I still enjoy the Megadrive version now and again and the Switch port is incredible. 
 

I recently picked up a Japanese copy of Sega Rally for my Saturn. That game never gets old.

 

The very first Need for Speed. Best on 3DO, but I don’t have one  anymore so Saturn and PC have to do. 
 

I liked Cruisin’ Blast 😂

 

I also really enjoyed Dirt 5. It felt like a 90s racer, and the over the top weather effects were cool. 

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1 hour ago, JamesC said:

I think Split/Second is incredible and Blur is really good too. 

 

 

Ah right, on PS3. I'm also reminded of Driver, Need for Speed, and Stuntman. Need For Speed has been described to me as flipping back and forth between arcade and simulation, but I think it tends to lean closer to arcade:

 

ZoZzd4p.jpg

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Burnout 2, it's Burnout, but with all the issues fixed (your car doesn't crash when you merely clip something, you can see every bend coming) but before they introduced takedowns and the scenery got cluttered and grey.

 

Pure and Split Second have already been mentioned. 

 

The Ridge Racer series, which peaked with the incredible PSP Ridge Racers 2. 

 

Daytona on 360 and PS3 finally getting a better than arcade home port. 

 

Sega Rally on Saturn and the PS2 home port that came bundled with SR2006 are still a lot of fun today. 

 

Outrun 2 of course.  Such an incredible home conversion. Those slides are a joy to perform with controls tweaked to perfection.

 

Sega Rally 3 - Revo . Frame pacing issues aside, the PC version of this is brilliant. I'm not sure why it feels so much better than the console versions.  

 

Cruisin Blast, greatest game in the world for about an hour.  Never gone back to play it since the day after I bought it.  Amazing game, utterly ruined by dreadful rubber banding. 

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2 hours ago, jonnyalpha said:

I think that was Pure. Was that Blackrock games? It was good fun anyway.

 

Recently got it on Steam and a couple of file swaps allows it to work 

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Sega Manx TT Superbike is great fun, despite its tiny selection of tracks.  Cheap as Saturn games get as well.

 

Slipstream has provided me with quite a few hours of fun.

 

I've never played an Asphalt game that I didn't think was shite.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, fat flatulent git said:

Sega Manx TT Superbike is great fun, despite its tiny selection of tracks.  Cheap as Saturn games get as well.

 

Slipstream has provided me with quite a few hours of fun.

 

I've never played an Asphalt game that I didn't think was shite.

 

 

 
Understandable. For what it’s worth, I think Asphalt 8 is great for iOS and Asphalt 9 is great for Switch, though I can see others preferring other racers like Need For Speed and Burnout over it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to my Steam Deck I’ve played Ridge Racer properly for the first time - I was relatively late to PlayStation, so my first Ridge was Type 4, which is clearly the better game in all regards, but the original still has merits.
 

Though that’s not to say it isn’t a curious beast - there’s a level of unpredictability to the drifting, a roughness that was smoothed out in later games, which on one level is kinda bullshit - it can be hard to know whether a drift is going to result in sliding long after the corner has passed, or if the car’s going to snap back to the road halfway through the manoeuvre - meaning you’re not sure whether to oversteer or under steer. 
 

And yet there’s just something extremely satisfying about that. For such a simple game - one course, with one slight variant and mirror mode - the skill ceiling is really high. And actually, that simplicity encourages you to keep replaying to try and get better and better. The flat, simple polygons, basic menu presentation and earnest soundtrack add to this. 
 

I’ll always prefer Sega arcade games over Namco, those tribal bonds were tied too early to escape from, and Sega Rally is the better game by far, but it’s easy to see why PlayStation was such a huge success at the time with games like this. 

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Need For Speed Nitro on the Wii - not much to it but it at least fits better on the system than if they'd tried to cut down a bigger game. 

 

Burnout Dominator on PSP/PS2 - it's a cross between 3/Revenge and 2 as it has the boost chaining. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Vimster said:

Great stuff, but they want £18 for a digital album. Not happening :(. 

 

Not to worry, that's mostly for the fans (and is a normal Japanese CD sticker price). The rest will have to wait a tiny bit longer. :)

 

 

You can also find the entire playlist on YouTube btw:

 

 

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unique_twin_stick_controls.gif?t=1655372

Inertial Drift is fun, though the twin stick controls take a little getting used to.

 


slip3.png?t=1649097784
 

Slipstream is a fun Outrun-type retro game. This GIF doesn't show the Powerdrift (another amazing game) style horizon tilt when cornering, which is pretty cool. It also features a customisable game speed and rewind feature.

 

 

image.png.90156c2e7d58d9709329e4354d06e10c.png

 

For more Out Run clones, there are also  the very enjoyable Final Freeway 1 & 2R on mobile. Probably the most Out Run of them all.

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Ohhh, I’ve just rediscovered Initial D Street Stage, the PSP version of (in my opinion) Sega’s last great arcade racer series. What a treat! I haven’t played it since my house was burgled and my PSP stolen. The handling is very Sega Rally, and all the tracks are Japanese mountain roads. 
 

I think there’s a PS2 game and PS3 game as well, although the latter will be hard to emulate I think. 

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OutRun 2006 is still (and probably will forever be) the pinnacle of the genre I reckon. Definitely a desert island game for me.

A shame of biblical proportions that it now remains chained to the PS3/Xbox 360 era forever.

However if it's proper arcade racing on modern consoles you're looking for, just buy any of the Judgment games, hit the local arcades and have a go on the fantastic late 90s Sega arcade racer Motor Raid

 

Spoiler

Motor_Raid_arcade_flyer.jpg

 

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