Thursday, February 25, 2010

Little-Known or Forgotten Racing/Driving Games

John Marine | 2/25/2010 07:14:00 PM |
WARNING- this blog entry is VERY long! When I joined YouTube, one of my reasons was to discuss little-known racing games. Well now that YouTube's new channel layout really disallows you to actually see all the videos, I'm going to discuss as many old and forgotten games here. What you will see are MANY racing/driving games from video game history that are either little-known or forgotten. You may be introduced to games you may have never heard of before. Some games are probably forgotten for good reason- they weren't all that good. Please note that this lineup of games is not only about forgotten gems in racing game history. Instead, it's a look at various little-known or forgotten racing titles. This can include very good games... and very bad games. So keep reading because you're going to get schooled proper on little-known or forgotten racing games.

Are you a dedicated blog reader? Reason why I ask is... THIS BLOG ENTRY IS VERY LONG! So here are three options you have as you're reading this blog entry:

1.) Visit my playlist here: Little-Known or Forgotten Racing/Driving Games,

2.) Check out all of the videos in this embedded YouTube playlist below,
(embeddable player)


3.) Read below to see all 80+ games I have to mention and discuss!

The choice is yours, player! :D

--- Origins of This List ---
This project of mine on YouTube all began with one game- Le Mans 24 by Sega. Being a fan of Sega Super GT/SCUD Race, "Le Mans 24" was almost completely forgotten. This was the origin of my list of little-known or forgotten racing games. The game looks beautiful as well as having that lovely 24-hour racing model. "Le Mans 24" is both little-known and forgotten to many racing game fans. And please note, I am not talking about "Le Mans 24 Hours" (which is a racing classic), but rather the arcade game, "Le Mans 24."

As I started looking up many games online, there are many that are either little-known, forgotten, or both. The list below consists of games that are little-known and/or forgotten and WHY they are so. You have the Internet at your disposal, so if you see a game mentioned here, you're free to look up on (your favorite search engine) and even YouTube.

--- Origins of This List ---
My entire playlist can be found here: Little-Known or Forgotten Racing/Driving Games. These are the majority of little-known and/or forgotten racing games since I joined YouTube and started taking count of racing game titles. I'll be fairly brief in all of the games I've selected. But do remember... there are MANY MORE little-known or forgotten racing games. So I'll leave it up to you to find as many old racing games as possible. I'll only explain why they are forgotten as well as what they are about. Pictures, videos, and things of that nature... that's for you to do.

And remember... THIS ENTRY IS VERY LONG!!!

Racing Hero (1989).

The game is like a combination of the Hang-On Series and the OutRun series. Impressive graphics for its time.

Racin' Force (1994).

This racing game uses voxels (think 3D pixels) for the playing field. You race these GTP race cars similar to an old game- WEC Le Mans 24 released in the '80s.

Le Mans 24 (1998?).

A completely little-known arcade racing game from Sega. You can run the 24 Hours of Le Mans in this game. Passing cars earns you extra time while being passed takes away time. There was also a fictional course in addition to the two Circuit de la Sarthe races.

The Cycles.

PC-racing game that allows you to race motorcycles around a variety of real-world courses. Made by Distinctive Software Inc., the same people behind the 1990 PC racing classic, Stunts (or 4D Sports Driving).

Super Monaco GP (Arcade Version, 198?).

While you don't race the real F1 Grand Prix of Monaco course, you do race a ficticious track resembling Monaco. Graphics are absolutely amazing. You think it's 3D, but it really isn't. A testament to Sega's lovely use of sprite scaling.

Mille Miglia and Mille Miglia 2 (1990s)

Both games allowed you to race on various stages of the Mille Miglia using some of the fastest cars in their day. Absolutely challenging (yet rewarding) gameplay.

Drift Out '94 - The Hard Order (1994).

This game plays like the two games I mentioned earlier. Difference is, you're racing rally cars around a number of different rally stages. There are two stages to each locale, and you must clear the stages in time to advance.

GP World (198?).

This is a laserdisc game from Sega (as well as Bally Midway) that allowed you to race three different tracks. If you see that the video footage is very thin-looking, that's because this game had a double screen format.

Laser Grand Prix.

Taito's answer to GP World was "Laser Grand Prix" back in either the early 1990s or late 1980s.

Race Drivin' and Hard Drivin'.

These games are really forgotten as one of the first simulation racing games. They tried to give a simulation feel to stunt racing. Don't worry about wrecking your car- you'll be doing this VERY often! It's even tougher in manual transmission cars. How so? Everything you have to do to start the car and get off cleanly is what you'll have to do even after you crash your car and respawn!

World Tour Racing.

This game is a formula-style racing game. This game was for the Atari Jaguar (remember that epic fail?).

Cisco Heat.

This is a strange concept. On the streets of San Francisco, brace yourself for one of the fastest races using... police cars? Yes. The 2D graphics look very interesting as your racing your cop car around the streets of San Francisco.

Cyber Cycles (1995)

Namco released this arcade game in 1995. Set in the future, you race with one of three different motorcycles on two different tracks. Green Hill is your basic kind of permanent race course while the more advanced course is Neo-Yokohama, a futuristic street course at night down... Yokohama in the future, apparently. I actually played this game before.

Speed Haste (1995).

I know very little about this PC game. I just personally haven't seen it before until seeing a YouTube video on it.

Whiplash/Fatal Racing

This was a game I wanted to get a long time ago, but like so many '90s game I've wanted to get, I eventually didn't.

Moto Champ (1973)

Of all the games you will see here, this is the ONLY game that is not an electronic game. Instead, it is an electromagnetical game from Sega.

Checkered Flag.

Checkered Flag was a failed attempt by Jaguar to overtake Sega's Virtua Racing. This game is basically Virtua Racing for the Jaguar, just with extra setting features and more tracks. But still, nowhere near as exciting and fun as Virtua Racing.

Ace Driver Series.

This is a futuristic Indy car racing game from Namco. It featured some very nice music and lovely graphics.


This game was created by Tatsumi on the same year I was born- 1983. This game can purely be described as Pole Position meets OutRun. You can choose multiple routes like in OutRun. This is a gem of a racing game.

Continental Circus (1989).

Apparently, the story behind the name of this game was that it was to be called "Continental CIRCUITS." Instead, it was called "Continental Circus," and usually is in conjunction with "F1 Circus." Regardless, this is Formula 1 carnage like never before from Taito!

Ultim@te Race Pro Series.

This is perhaps the most little-known AND forgotten PC racing game. Nobody knows anything about this racing game unless you've actually played it and this series before. I couldn't find a working demo of this game online. But basically, think of it as an extreme version of Daytona USA. Great graphics and lovely gameplay. It was one of the first few games to really capitalize on the lovely graphics the 3DFX graphics cards could muster.

All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) (1998 for PlayStation 1).

This game was a mystery until a future YouTube friend of mine shown me this game for the first time ever. This game allows you to race some of the finest (then) JGTC cars in its time on some of the most intense courses raced by the series now known as Super GT.

Super GT 24H (from Jaleco).

DO NOT confuse this game with the beautiful Sega racing title, "Sega Super GT"/"SCUD Race." While this game doesn't have the beautiful Sega graphics and Sega racing gameplay, this is a game that uses the Sega Model 2 engine. The biggest draw to this game is the beautiful time cycles. When you race the Long course, you note afternoon become evening, evening become night, night become morning, and more. While it's mediocre, it's worth a look just to see the long course and the nice time cycle.

Indy Car Racing 2.

What happens when NASCAR rules the roost? Other series get relegated and left for dead. That was probably the untimely fate of Indy Car Racing 2. While the NASCAR Racing series got a beautiful upgrade with NASCAR Racing 2 and NASCAR Racing 1999 Edition, ICR2 was left to die, basically. There would be a future downloadable program that allowed you to convert ICR2 tracks to be used in NASCAR Racing 2.

SODA Offroad Racing.

More people know "Monster Truck Madness" than "SODA Off-Road Racing." I know very little about this game, except I heard you could make your own off-road courses.

Top Gear Rally.

Think Top Gear, and you think of the insanity of the three Top Gear hosts and the Stig. However, this is NOT the Top Gear we are discussing. This is Top Gear Rally for the Nintendo 64. It was also called Boss World Rally (I believe). Up to 20 cars can compete on a track as you have a bevy of car settings, track settings, and more to become a championship rally racer across these very long rally courses. You need to listen to the introduction to this game, made by Barry Leitch. It's one of the most awesome songs used in any racing game. It's a mellow electronica-type song, but it has a fierce edge to it. MUST hear!

World Driver Championship (1999).

While it couldn't hold a candle to PlayStation's Gran Turismo series, World Driver Championship is considered by many to be the most beautiful racing game ever on the Nintendo 64. You're racing GT2-spec cars across mostly city streets. Gameplay is a bit boring, but it does have its exciting moments. The music can be a bit intolerable. The cars resemble certain real-world GT race cars, but are all fiction.

F-1 World Grand Prix.

Video System created the only American-shipped game in the long-running "F-1 Grand Prix" series of games, which dates back to 1991. It's was one of the best simulation racing games for the Nintendo 64. You could even challenge yourself to relive history... or rewrite history. You had a number of scenarios to challenge your abilities with.

POD (1997).

In 1997, a revolutionary processor called the MMX was unveiled, delivering amazing performance. This was one of the first games to capitalize on this. I had a very weak computer when I got a demo of this game from PC Gamer magazine.


I haven't played this futuristic game, but it is pretty fast and exciting.


Everyone had their ideas on the future of racing. For this game, you ARE the car! You race with these spiked gears or blades against other opponents in fierce competition.

Quantum Redshift (200?).

Quantum Redshift may be one of the most beautiful XBOX racing games ever. It was no WipEout or F-Zero, but it was truly beautiful.

Grand Prix Circuit (Commodore 64).

This title for the Commodore 64 was made by Distinctive Software Inc., which you've seen make Stunts and The CYCLES. The game was made in 1988. You race on one of four real-world racing tracks and able to race as and against multiple F1 teams.

King the Spirits (1995).

For the Sega Saturn, this game from Atlus allowed you the chance to get mad sideways in your four-wheeled drifting weapon. Real cars are featured, but don't have real names.

Bari Bari Densetsu.

Get ready for racing action on two wheels. There's a real storyline feel to this title with lots of unique animations and artwork. It was made by Taito in 1989.

J's Racin'.

Enjoy the full impact of Super Taikyu in "J's Racin'! This is the premier endurance racing series in Japan feauting some incredible cars bred and tuned for racing. It's all production-based cars rather than anything along the lines of a silhouette


The United States never got in on this game. This is a racing game from the underrated racing game maker, Genki. It looked to have a combination of circuit racing and drifting and a bevy of interesting cars to tune and race. It's described as a car tuning RPG. It looks like a great game. Just a shame the US didn't get this.

Superbike 2001.

EA Sports' Superbike series may be the best simulation motorcycle racing game series of all time.

Castrol Superbike Honda.

When I downloaded a demo of this game, this game has EXCEPTIONAL control of your motorcycle. And as the name suggests, you can only play as the Castrol Honda team like from the Castrol Honda RC45.

Night Driver (1976).

My brother played this game more than 20 years ago (because I was just a child or a baby when this game was played at my cousin's house... and, I have a strange memory). This game is quite hard to say the least.

Buggy Boy (1986).

This is a fun-looking game from the same makers of TX-1, Tatsumi.

Screamer (199?) and Screamer 2 (199?).

Both screamer titles deliver intense high-speed racing. Screamer 1 puts you behind the wheel of sports cars at breakneck speed in a variety of environments. Think of it as a classic Need for Speed title, only with more edge and character. Screamer 2 wa almost purely about rally racing with rally cars in rally environments.

Top Speed.

Taito released this game which has pretty cool graphics. It's just you, your high-speed sports car, and the highway. This game allows you to go crazy fast down the road. Everything seems a blur as you fly down the road.

WEC Le Mans.

Especially the Arcade version gives you an amazing performance of high-speed racing. You are racing a GTP race car on a nice interpretation of the Circuit de la Sarthe. There are some time cycles to content with and experience as day becomes night, and night becomes day.

F-Zero Climax.

This game is foreign to me, but looks incredibly exciting!

F-1 Grand Prix Series.

While Video System may best be known for the Sonic Wings (Aero Fighters) series, they've also made classic game series like F-1 Grand Prix. Three titles were released for [and only] the Super Famicom. There was an F-1 World Grand Prix II, but it was NEVER released to the United States, sadly. I think the only thing missing from F-1 World Grand Prix II is the Jerez Circuit round.

HUMAN Grand Prix Series.

Japanese developer, HUMAN, made their own series of F1 racing games. I think the first two titles were released to the United States known as "F1 Pole Position" through Ubisoft. Then in the mid-late 1990s, a game from this series was called "F1 Pole Position 64" for the United States for the Nintendo 64.

Gale Racer/Rad Mobile.

This early 1990s 2D racer had incredible graphics. It was als one of the first games to request you to turn on headlights, windshield wipers, and more. Amazing sprite scaling i nthis game. There were lots of graphical and environmental touches to this game that almost no other racing game had. Plus, it was Sonic's debut before he even got his own game.

NASCAR Racing (Papyrus, PC, 1994).

Enjoy the excitement and thunder of NASCAR in this game. This game allowed you to race as various NASCAR stars of their time. It was the first in perhaps the best-ever series of NASCAR games in history.

Turbo OutRun (198?).

A spiritual sequel to the classic OutRun titles, Turbo OutRun takes you on an American tour. Your job is to go from New York City to Los Angeles while racing crazy fast in your Ferrari F40 (or at least, it resembles the F40). That F40 has something fearful- insane turbos. Use it to help you blast down the road while traffic is a thing of the past!

OutRunners (1992).

If you've never seen this game in pictures or in videos, YOU NEED TO SEE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF THIS GAME! This game features some of the most amazing graphics for any 2D racing game in history. The graphics are outstanding. As for the racing, it was one of the first OutRun games to where you could actually choose different cars. It also featured two different routes for you to take. It basically took what past OutRuns have done and made everything better by leaps and bounds. This is sadly the ONLY OutRun I've played in an arcade. There is great music to listen to as well.

Virtua Racing Deluxe.

Virtua Racing is the godfather of many future 3D Sega Racing Games when it was unveiled in 1992. Two years later, the little-known Virtua Racing Deluxe was released only for the Genesis/Megadrive and 32X. This game adds two new courses and two more kinds of cars to race- a stock car and a GTP prototype race car. The unreal thing about this game was that this game was every bit as fast and as fun to play as the original version. However, you had to pay a lot to get this quality to your home to use fwith your 32X.

F1 Challenge (Sega Saturn, 1995).

It is a very cool Sega Saturn F1 game. Lovely music as well.

Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge.

No other 2D racing game has given you such an illusion of things like cliffs you could actually fall off of (not that I've played this game) or anything like that. You only

Jaguar XJ220.

At one point, the Jaguar XJ220 was the fastest car in the world. This game allowed you to harness the unreal power and performance of this beautiful and fast car. It had fantastic music.

F1 Beyond the Limit ().

This game challenged you to take on actual scenarios from the 1993 Formula 1 World Championship. This game was for the Sega Mega CD. Really ahead of its time in giving you actual scenarios from the actual 1993 season. Graphics were quite impressive as well.

Super Burnout.

Some nice music was in this motorcycle racing game for the Atari Jaguar.

F1 Pole Position.

Mentioned earlier, this game was released as "F1 Pole Position" for the Nintendo 64 in the States, but this game originally made by HUMAN entertainment was actually very lackluster.


Considering how long this series would last, not many people know about the original title. Also, I've never played the original WipEout because my first WipEout was WipEout XL.

WipEout 64.

The only WipEout for the Nintendo 64 was basically WipEout XL for the N64. But for what you get, it's pretty amazing what this game was able to achieve. Maybe the most fun aspect is that you could play multiplayer action without needing some kind of link cable like with the PlayStation 1. Everything you love about WipEout XL is in lovely detail for the Nintendo 64. This game contains certain Super Weapons and about eight cool songs. Considering this is on an N64 cartridge, it was amazing just finding out what this game was able to accomplish including featuring some cool music.

Power Drift (Arcade, 1989).

This game was an exciting and comical showcase of sprite scaling. Everything looks and runs amazing in this game, especially the Arcade version.

R: Racing Evolution.

While not a true Rider Racer title, this was an attempt by Namco to make a more sim-oriented title in the Ridge Racer universe. Real-world cars and venues were featured including some fictional courses.

Off-Road Redneck Racing.

This was an off-road racing game within the universe or realm of Redneck Rampage.

Burning Road 2 (1997).

Where else can you enjoy racing cars and motorcycles on the same track? Drive hard or ride hard!

TT Superbikes.

You may see this game and this series on bargain racks, but I got to tell you- the sense of speed and control seems amazing. While I've never played any of these titles, some say that this is an enjoyable game series as long as you have the patience to understand how the game plays and how to operate these motorcycles. This is all about real road racing- road racing on country roads and city streets in the United Kingdom. All in its dangerous glory.

Battle Grand Prix.

Interesting concept, failed execution. You race a variety of courses around the world with a variety of drivers. Everything's in top-down mode with a split screen. The most interesting aspect is that you can take on a computer or human opponent in one-on-one races or in Survival Mode. The one-on-one races are usually five laps long, and it's a Best-of-3 format. The vertical split-screen format of this top-down racing game just obscures lots of things into view.

Kawasaki Superbike Challenge.

This was a game I once played before. Never played through it a whole lot, but it was a pretty good motorcycle racing game for the Super Nintendo. Not great, but good.

V-Rally 3.

This was a game I'd see often on bargain basement shelves and bins. Looking at it for the PlayStation 2, it's just so beautiful to look at. It's a beautiful-looking racing game even today.

WRC Rally Evolved.

Never released to the United States, this game offers impressive detail on rally racing in the World Rally Championship. The scope of cars you can race is amazing- everything ranging from current (as of the cars in the game at its time) rally cars to classics can be raced. The action is pretty awesome from what I've seen. Unfortunately, I think this game was ONLY marketed for Europe.

GTC Africa.

In this game, you race in various locations in Africa. I'm not sure how to explain this game. You're mostly racing rally cars across various cities and countries in Africa. But that's as much as I know, unfortunately...

SD F1 Grand Prix.

What happens when Formula 1 racing meets Super Mario Kart? You get this Super Nintendo game released only in Japan.

Kat's Run.

Released by Atlus in the mid-1990s, this Super Famicom game is a high-speed racing game featuring... Kei cars. There's a storyline to this game supposedly, but I can't really tell you.

Asphalt Urban GT 2.

The N-Gage has been a fading memory in its own right. However, this game looked pretty good for such a forgotten game system.

Grand Prix Challenge.

G4 TV "X-Play" gave this game a "2 out of 5" because of its intense challenge. More sim-happy racers think this is one of the best Formula 1 racing games ever for the PlayStation 2. It has beautiful graphics and some nice music. It's based on the 2002 season of F1.

Hang-On GP '95.

Hang-On Grand Prix '95 was a modern attempt at making Hang-On relevant again. Unfortunately, it fell flat with only six tracks in a game that is nowhere near as fun as the classic Hang-On titles.

Racing Lagoon.

What happens when you cross Final Fantasy (or your favorite traditional RPG series) with touge racing? You get a game like this. The "battle" sequences are kind of like random battles that automatically load you into these quick races. This was basically a true car-RPG. Victory in battle yields you some credits good for tuning your car. Oh, and if there are those DNA ties to an RPGs, what if I told you that this game was made by Squaresoft?

--- Other Little-Known or Forgotten Racing/Driving Games ---
Now if you can believe it, there are some games NOT in my playlist, and I'll tell you more about some of those little-known

Grand Prix Star.

Jaleco's foray into Formula 1 racing yielded this game and this series. The first arcade title featured Hockenheim and Monte Carlo (though not using their names). What I liked about the first game is how the clouds in the air move.

F1 Exhaust Note and F1 Super Lap.

The only difference between these two arcade games from Sega is that F1 Super Lap actually features real F1 teams. I think for both games, you are racing on only one track in a four-lap race. The graphics look impressive for these 2D games.

GP Rider.

GP Rider is similar to the two F1 games I mentioned, and this Sega arcade racing game has you racing on only one track while trying to finish four laps around the course.

GT Racing (1996).

This game was released in 1996 for the Super Famicom. You race around eight different Japanese race tracks with a number of real world cars. Cars come from makes ranging from Alfa Romeo to Toyota.

GT 64 Championship Edition.

This 3D racing adventure for the Nintendo 64 was pretty boring as a whole. However, I do remember playing and renting this game. All of the cars are from the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC, now known as Super GT). You are only racing on street courses. The American version has three different course with two different variations each. If you think this game is too much on racing on city streets, you'd be exactly right when you learn that the name of this game's Japanese variant is called (thanks: Wikipedia) "City Tour Grand Prix: Zen Nihon GT Senshuken." And the Japanese version has one extra track not released for the North American and European versions.

That was a LOT of reading! And well... this was a lot of games I've found on YouTube. Note that some games from my YouTube list were not included in this massive blog entry. All I can say is... if you love racing games, learn to love and appreciate the entire scope of racing games from the past and the present. This list gives you some much-needed insight. The moral of this blog entry? Appreciate all racing games both past and present. They bring so many things to the table even if most of them aren't as classic or as loved as other racing games.

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