For this edition of Games From my Childhood, I thought I would highlight some of the old racing titles that I use to play. All three games are from the PS1 era of gaming but all three titles are very different from each other. I myself wasn’t into realistic racing quite as much as I was into the more Mario kart style racing, but in saying that, I am going to avoid the more obvious titles such as Mario Kart and try and show some games you might not be as familiar with.
During the Playstation 1 era there were a lot of games and in my opinion, no other generation in gaming allowed the freedom that this era did. Street Racer was essentially Mario Kart, re-skinned with more realistic looking characters, on slightly different tracks. The game contained weapons and a selection of characters to play as. The biggest part of this game that I remember, is being able to punch each other as your drove past. The sumo dude shoot his palm out, a bald dude came ready with his baseball bat and the genie looking fellow could fly on his magic carpet. The other part that stuck with me, was the annoying rabbit you had to race, who was a pain in the arse. It gave me vibes similar to when you raced Ripper Roo in Crash team racing.
Continuing through this Playstation era of experimentation was a game called Supersonic Racers. This game was a top down view but again it contained a large variety of wacky racers (not from the actual Wacky Racers) each having their own unique vehicle. I don’t remember any of the characters specifically except for the taxi driver known as Duncan. The game contained a large selection of tracks, which weren’t always easy to play and often took some mastering in order to be successful. The part of the game which I enjoyed, were the races where if you were in last place you would be out and you had to sometimes desperately navigate the map in order not to be knocked out.
Now Vigilante 8 is not quite your standard racing game and more themed around the idea of blowing the crap out of each other. You have a selection of drivers to choose from, each one holding a different vehicle and special weapon. The idea was to collect dangerous weapons whilst dodging and speeding along to avoid incoming damage. The game held a pretty fun story, allowing you the opportunity to unlock new characters in boss-like battles. This game also held a multiplayer mode – which me and my brother took full advantage of, trying to destroy each other. Some of the individual character weapons were a little crazy, the one that sticks to mind is the hive of bees that could be unleashed on your unsuspecting victims.
Destruction Derby 2
Following on from Vigilante 8, is another game that is not your typical racing game. Destruction Derby did in fact have a racing mode, where you would go around a set track, completing a number of laps, hoping that you would come first. However, this game had a slightly different spin. The title of this game has the word destruction within it and man, you could turn your opponents into a group of wheels by the end of a race. Your car and the others around you can suffer damage, and the more damage you took, the harder it became to drive. The damage could be localised to the wheels, the engine or rear; meaning that if you lost of couple of tires, steering become a chore and if you lost your engine….well then your car would be engulfed by flames and you would lose. The game also contained a destruction mode, where you drove around a loop, smashing each other to bits until only one was left standing. Me and my brother could never manage to survive the ordeal but my mother had her technique mastered. Instead of driving forward, she would reverse around the track, using her rear each (where nothing important to the car is located) and smash her opponents straight in their engines. Safe to say, this strategy worked a treat.