Wednesday, 3 April 2013

D - Driving Dangerously! My Top 10 Driving & Racing Games

Back in the days before I had a driving license, or more truthfully before I was legally allowed to drive on public roads, driving and racing simulation games filled that gap quite satisfactorily. Many of the driving games of yesteryear before the HD era did not give you the sensation of speed or the realism of racing, but they still were great fun whether they were surreal, pragmatic or otherwise. Again, there maybe notable exceptions, such as Forza or Need for Speed, but hey, I ain't played them all! Here is my personal top 10 driving video games.
The racers attempt to test the freeway jump from Speed

#10 Ridge Racer Type 4 - Ahh, the drifting on the cliff tops and nutty danger-feel of speed this gave you, and all on the hush-hush, apparently. Illegal racing eh? Tut tut! The original game  took my notice in the arcades and earned my respect, but each sequel built on the concept with improvements all across the board, and Type 4 is the ridge-ly great game of the bunch. A PS classic. The Japanese grid girl was fit-as too.

#9 Buggy Boy - The racer that got the most playtime on my CPC of old, just because of how hard but irresistibly enjoyable it was. It had longevity too; it gave a good selection of tracks and your buggy could jump and ski-drive using the rocks and logs scattered around the track. Innovative for it's time, and a fitting name for me in my youth. Maybe.

#8 Burnin' Rubber - The GX4000's bundled game based off WEC Le Mans. It wasn't the best or the most responsive, but graphically it was awesome with a wonderfully manic crash sequence. Damn difficult too with strict time limits, and is probably the most played racer I could list due to my endless attempts to beat it. A nod must go to the fine theme music too.

#7 Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 - Split screen! This was very new at the time and as such made for a top two-player game, all the while giving a great sense of speed for a 2D racer. It also gave you the chance to drive the Lotus Elan, which was way-cool back in the early nineties.  Smooth presentation and colouring, was successful then and is still great now.
Can you see the criminal??

#6 Chase HQ - You are an elite police officer akin to Miami Vice, you drive a Porsche 928 and get to chase down felons and smash their getaway car up. Movie style racing at it's best, fast and fun with twists and turns, providing a impressive impression of perspective. And didn't you always want to tell Nancy to shut the hell up when she was giving to grief over the radio! Very pick-up-and-play.

#5 F-Zero - The Super NES's mode 7 showcase launch game, and didn't it deliver with virtue. The pseudo 3D worked a treat, dropping many a teenage jaw at the time, giving a feeling a crazy speed and danger. The music was also utterly top drawer and the car's designs were excellent. A depiction of future racing portrayed with grace, until...

#4 Wip3out - Now, like the previous entry, this set the bar far far higher within the fictional visualisation of futuristic racing. With ever-so-cool hover cars that looked the bees-bollocks; ridiculous speeds, mean and original weapons, challenging tracks and of course, a soundtrack to drop dead for. Featuring Orbital, The Chemical Brothers and DJ Sasha, the OST helped make it the best of the Wipeout series. One of my all time favourites so much so, I had two copies. No idea why.

#3 Gran Turisimo 3 A-Spec - 'The Ultimate Driving Simulation' this was billed as... well, it was if cars could never suffer damage in reality. An insurance company nightmare! That was a ridiculous facet to this game, however, the choice of cars, the detailed customisation and the splendid race tracks; all lifted from their real life counterparts were just outstanding. Graphically and acoustically excellent, and it really did give a feeling of real driving to a degree. A wonderful title.

#2 Burnout Revenge - Carnage, crashes, and chaos, this is a smashing game. Erm. Very fast, perhaps too fast, but with so much to find and do, or just mess around with, a most excellent smash-your-opponents-off-the-road arcade racer taken to the extremes of mentalness. Love it, but for a more friendly action packed fun experience....

Mario was left on the start line sulking while Yoshi chatted up the Princess
#1 Super Mario Kart - Nintendo put the exclamation point on jolly racing fun with Mario Kart, but added a huge competitive edge which tipped the balance towards outstanding. It had a perfect layout and tight responses, loads of tracks and familiar smile-inducing characters and was great in any mode you played it in. One of the most revered racing games, it just rocked in sheer terms of outright joy. Nobody I know disliked this, and always had a great time playing. The later versions were brill also, but the original is always the best in my book. It's a shame real plumbers don't drive with this much skill.

Handbrake on! That's it, my top 10 Driving games. I think a fair few of these titles will be on other gamers lists, but again, feel free to add your two-tyres worth. Next up, we take a look at a selection of mediocre and poor games which I am inexplicably fond of, Endearing games if you will, ones I return to play time and again despite their obvious issues.

Bug... 'Out!


  1. I have GT3 but have yet to play it, need to get around to that cos it's mean't to be brilliant :) And you know Burnout Revenge is a fave of mine too.

  2. Wip3out is an exquisite racer. Used to have that and Wip3out: Special Edition lol so you're not the only one with two hehe! Need to find them. Ridge 4 I still play to this day, GT, Mario Kart... so many ace choices! :)