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SummaryNot the best the NES has to offer.
The GoodThe controls are very responsive and fluent which few other games can play, unlike R.C. Pro-Am you don't shift between pre-set directions, but you are just driving a car as if you were playing it on an arcade. I don't know any other game on our 8-bit friend that does this which makes it rather special. I am especially fond of the turns because they require a great execution or you'll fly off the track.
You aren't really racing against opponents as much as you are trying to make it to the end of the stage. The fact that you are racing against opponents who all know the game better than you do always gives me second though about racing games, so it's nice to see this game takes a different approach. Making it to the end of a stage is also made harder by a very strict time limit, so there is still a lot of challenge to be found here.
Graphically it looks pretty good even though you can see that most of it is just a flat backdrop and the actual game consists only of a handful of obstacles and scenery that are repeated over and over again, it becomes even more impressive when you put on your 3D-glasses, look like an idiot and hit that select button because that is when the game's main selling point is shown. The 3D is even advertised on the box as one of the main features and it doesn't disappoint.
If you fail to make it to the end of the stage, you get to see a map showing how far you got. A very nice touch because it often turned out I was just a few inches away from the next checkpoint or even the finish line which gave me an urge to try again and do it better this time.
The BadIt's pretty annoying that whenever you hit an obstacle you are launched into the air and have to wait a tedious seven seconds before you are back on the stage again, especially because the timer keeps running. It also makes no sense that when you hit another car, you aren't just slowed down, but you bounce off him like all the vehicles are made from rubber. It's also wonderful when both these problems come together and instantly lose you the entire match.
There are only two cars to choose from which is a little lacking even by NES standards. You get a red one and a white one, none of which are particularly well designed and they just make you wish you were playing something with a little more variety.
The Bottom LineRad Racer is pretty good, but unless you are truly interested in the concept of a 3D racing game on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, I would stick to R.C. Pro-Am which truly is the better racer. There is nothing really wrong in terms of graphics, but it just lacks the polish and design that made most NES games so great.
If there is room for more than one racer in your collection then Rad Racer is still worth getting, die-hard NES collectors practically have to own this game because of the 3D graphics, but otherwise don't bother, 2 1/4 stars.