- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Squaresoft
- Platforms/Release: NES: October 1987
- Genre: Driving
- Rarity/Cost: Common (US$1-10)
You get to choose one of two identically-performing cars, a not-Ferrari and a not-Formula-1 racer, and take it on a drive across eight levels. In their own way, the graphics are some of the best on the NES. Parallax scrolling on the background and a rising and falling horizon all contribute to a wonderful visual experience, even if Out Run did pioneer tricks like those the year before. But innovation or not, Rad Racer plays (almost) as well as it looks.
The basic controls are standard fare for pretty much every driving game ever: A for gas, B for brake, and Left and Right to steer. Pressing Down switches between three available music tracks, and Select toggles the anaglyph 3-D function on and off (more on that later). Holding Up activates a boost that gets you going even faster. It has unlimited usage, but is only available if you're going above 90 kilometers per hour. Having an unlimited boost function may seem artificial, but it's not like you can just hold it and win; you really have to slow down for the sharper turns. In most cases, you have to be going, at most, somewhere between 150 and 180 km/h to handle the curves without drifting out.
|Speed control is essental on turns. |
Of course, the music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu. I'm going to say it, I'm not a big fan of his, but I'll still say he's great at what he does. Each of the three songs you can select from each has their own mood, and you'll probably craft your own mental image of a level depending on which song you choose. That's what nostalgia is, ladies and gentlemen. It's a shame it's so easy to accidentally press Down and skip the track.
|The 3-D effect isn't all that great. |
But when the game looks so good without the 3-D effect, you can live without switching it on. Rad Racer does loads of things that were unheard of for the NES at the time, and does them well. It has a thrilling sense of speed, some unexpected talent, 3-D visuals, and it holds up just as well today. If you've ever wanted a home port of Out-Run, or if you like racing games in general, then Rad Racer is not to be missed.
Control: 4 3D glasses out of 5
Design: 4 3D glasses out of 5
Graphics: 5 3D glasses out of 5
Sound: 4 3D glasses out of 5
Value: 3 3D glasses out of 5
The Call: 90% (A-)
 "Rad Racer - NES Screenshots". MobyGames. http://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/rad-racer/screenshots.