Saturday, March 12, 2011

Slipstream

John Marine | 3/12/2011 04:49:00 AM | | |
UPDATED: February 27, 2012)

Slipstream was one of Capcom's first racing games well before Auto Modellista or any Capcom-version MotoGP games. It utilized Sega System 32 hardware for some amazing quality graphics. It was released in 1995 and was quite rare- only 150 PCBs (printed circuit boards) for Slipstream game were made. According to Wikipedia, this game was one of the first Capcom racing games since the 1988 game "F-1 Dream" for the arcades (1988) followed by a PC Engine version (1989). The most addictive factor of this game was the use of turbo boosts, especially when trailing a car. Getting right into the leading driver's slipstream gave you a free boost to overtake that driver for position. Be warned, though- other drivers could pull the same overtakes on you! This game was Capcom's vision of Formula One racing. There may be only eight cars to a track in Slipstream, but the action is immensely frenzied. And sadly, you've never played this game unless you played this in arcade rooms in Brazil. This game even mentions it was marketed only for Brazil.

Slipstream, then, represents one of many quality racing games that many people never got to experience in arcade rooms outside of Brazil. I sometimes feel completely responsible bringing light to things that are rarely discussed or have very few resources available for. So therefore, I will introduce Slipstream and put it out there for my readers and visitors. It would SURELY fit in my category of Little-Known or Forgotten Racing Games.





--- Slipstream at a Glance ---

I mentioned most of what Slipstream is about in the introduction. I will use the rest of this post to discuss this game based on impressions.

Modes.

• Time Trial - go for the best time while also battling an opponent.
• World Championship - race all four courses in the game in a championship.
• Passing Contest - pass as many cars as possible across the game's four tracks.

Cars.

You then select from one of eight different cars. Essentially, there are four cars with four different clones. All of the cars are based on actual F1 race cars. The cars are based on entries from Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton, and Williams. The cars are classified according to four characteristics: handling, acceleration, max speed, and rain grip.

Tracks.

Actual track names aren't used, but you can pretty much make out what each track is if you know your race tracks.

• German Grand Prix (High Speed Course; Hockenheim) - the perfect high-speed battleground in the game.
• Monaco Grand Prix (Tight Corners; Monte Carlo) - corner carefully on this prestigious street course.
• Japanese Grand Prix (Technical Course; Suzuka) - only the adept can win here.
• Australian Grand Prix (Wet Corners; Adelaide) - rain can come at any moment to slick the race track up. Be ready!


All that remains is getting your car to the finish line before anybody else does! Can you do it? Slipstream awaits you.



--- Slipstream Video Demonstration ---

This video demonstrates what many people outside of Brazil would never get to play in an actual arcade. So please enjoy this demonstration of Slipstream:


^ courtesy of PadixTUBE

I love hearing "SLIPSTREEEEEAM!" Don't you? :)



--- Thoughts on Slipstream ---

One that got away. Never mind that many people know Capcom as a powerhouse of fighting games and the MegaMan/RockMan series. I think this is a game Capcom could have developed and make into a fairly decent home game. Maybe this game could have featured every track from the 1994 Formula One World Championship. Maybe they could have featured more cars from the 1994 F1 season. One thing I would question, however, is if there could be an arcade-quality re-creation of Slipstream to translate its great graphics to home consoles. Or... would it be a very poor arcade-to-home conversion like OutRunners for the Genesis/Megadrive?

This game is a graphical masterpiece, though (speaking of Sega racing games) obviously not to the impressive detail of the arcade version of OutRunners. Just the fact this game used a proven arcade platform like Sega System 32 and use it beautifully is enough to earn some respect. I stress again- this game was not anything mass-produced. Therefore, its potential value worldwide could have been much greater than what it ended up as. Why didn't Capcom go for this? How come they couldn't have made this game to the world? I know there are games made for certain markets, but good games are good games regardless of what market they are exclusive or semi-exclusive to.

I was always curious about this game since first hearing about it online. Sadly, very few resources were available to really showcase this game. I was more than intrigued to learn more about this game and its graphics when I saw the YouTube video you saw earlier in this blog post. This would have possibly added some variety to Capcom's lineup instead of the usual Capcom suspects. Look at Konami- they are known for franchises like Contra, Metal Gear, Dance Dance Revolution, and stuff like that... but made a whole lot of racing games (including one of the most underrated racing games of all-time, Enthusia Professional Racing). Slipstream could have really been a solid game for at least the '90s. Maybe the only reason why it isn't being remade these days is because it is an FIA-licensed game. There are FIA graphics though it isn't any kind of seriously official FIA licensing of this game. Still- this could have been a great game to be released elsewhere in the world in addition to the Brazilian market.





In case you're curious, I am considering a future blog post about certain games that... just get away. Games that never crossed into multiple international markets, leaving them to be virtual unknowns to most people.

Here are as many resources as possible to learn more about Capcom's Slipstream:
Slipstream on arcade-museum.com
Slipstream on arcade-history.com


Thank you for reading!

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