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SummaryClassic racer by ... Squaresoft ?
The GoodWell, if you don't know what's Squaresoft (also called Square Co, Ltd), I don't know where you do come from. Anyway, it's the company that developed Rad Racer. Anyone who know Squaresoft knows Final Fantasy (except if you player only Rad Racer, heh, in that case, read first my Final Fantasy review ;-) and anyone who knows Final Fantasy know that little rumor about the release of the very first Final Fantasy on the NES (this is also the very first Final Fantasy trivia on Moby Games). Squaresoft was in trouble, they released only bad games and were gonna to shut down, when they decided to make a big effort to make one great game, and that game was Final Fantasy, the game that did all the popularity and all the greatness of Square. Everyone know this, but nobody care about the bad games that put Square in trouble. What's that exactly ? Believe it or not, this is the only reason while I've player Rad Racer. I wanted to see the games that Square released before Final Fantasy, just for curiosity, and I've been really curious to see if they were that bad. Yeah, Rad Racer has been released by Square before Final Fantasy, but I don't think the game is that bad. First of all, I'm not interested in racers at all. I just hate cars. I prefer listen the nice sing of the birds. This is one of the only racers I've played with some other NES racers (yes, I play all NES games I can regardless of their genre), I remember another one called Spy Hunter that was totally different than Rad Racer. So I can't compare Rad Racer with others racing games stuff, I'll simply say what I think about the game.
The 3d-Road track effect is very impressive. Really, it looks great for a 8-bit system. Square didn't totally have this idea, because another racing game was released by Nintendo in the very early NES years (called F1-race or something), it also comes with 3d perspective, but it was badly done and very far of what is Rad Racer. Not only the track has turns, but the road isn't flat, it has hills and this render a very great 3d-effect. All others stuff, enemy cars, tree, panels, come in various sizes in function of the distance between you and them, to make a pseudo-3d effect. I guess this give an even better effect with red/blue 3d glasses. I tried, but it didn't work at all (maybe because those glasses didn't come with the game package). Nasir, the programmer, seems to be definitely very good at maths stuff with all those graphical effects. In a technical viewpoint, this game is one of the greatest of all the NES history because of all maths stuff that should be behind those 3d effects (this isn't the only time I noted that in an early Squaresoft game).
I liked pretty much how the game plays. You just have to accelerate as much as possible, take turns right, avoid getting squashed by enemy cars, and avoid trees, panels, stones, etc.. that are sometimes on the side of the track. If you hit any of them, your car will do a mega-crash, and you'll lose a lot of time. If you don't complete a part of the track until an amount of time, the game's over and you have to redo the track from the beginning. Pretty interesting, but become too much tough in the later stages (5 - 8) because the amount of time is too much short (accident once and the thing is over).
You can choose between 3 musics or not music at all by pressing the down button at any time. If no music is selected, you'll hear the motor of enemy cars. I liked the music 1 and 3, but I didn't liked much the second one. I know the one who composed these music is the same one who did the whole Final Fantasy series, and he's done MUCH better, but this is still okay.
Last thing, it's the first game by Squaresoft that was released in Europe, and the last one until Secret of Mana.... I've preferred have no Rad Racer release and a Final Fantasy release instead.... but it's still better than nothing.
The BadI hate hearing the noise of your motor. This is incredibly *scaring*. Sometimes I just want to crash to have some seconds of silent. Well, if I had the choose to select a silent Rolls Royce car instead of a F1, I would be happy. Actually, this problem also comes with every other racing games I tried, it was even worse on others, so I won't complain.
Also, the game is too much repetitive. Yeah, you race in different places with different circuits, different backgrounds, against different cars.... but the game is still to much repetitive. If you completed the first track, you can see to yourself than the 7 others are exactly the same with different background and harder. That's all.
The Bottom LineRad Racer is definitely a NES classic, thanks to Nintendo that helped Square to produce the game, etc... It was even more popular that Final Fantasy at this time. The problem is that there is no Square logo on the box at all, the name of "Square" is just written once very small behind the box... This isn't nice for Square, remember that they had trouble back at that time, and Nintendo just stole the few great things they made.
Altogether, that game is interesting, and if you like action you may give it a try.