Developed by Vivid Image
Published by Ubi Soft
Released in 1994
'Pulsar' and 'R Type'. 'Final Fight' and 'Streets of Rage'. ‘The Legend of Zelda' and 'Golden Axe Warrior'. ‘Strider’ and 'Run Sabre'.
I enjoyed playing with words, so the name ‘Street Racer’ was very deliberate. Since we had racing and fighting in one and ‘Street Fighter’ was absolutely amazing and very popular this name would stick I thought.” The logo design and its colouring was also a deliberate choice by Dinc, one that would maximise sales from brand association. “I asked the guys to deliberately make the logo very similar to‘Street Fighter’ down to the colours and the look.” Of course there's a reason why ‘Mario Kart’ and ‘Street Fighter II’ were worth replicating in the first place, they were both incredible and iconic games. 'Street Racer' may have pulled in the punters by riding on their popularity train, but it had a lot to live up to.
It is possible to win using either method but what seems to work best is a combination of all out nastiness at the beginning (when the pack is bunched up) followed by a spell of fast and accurate driving. Championship Points are awarded according to your position at the end of the race, but additional points are awarded for damage inflicted to others. It is therefore possible to not finish first and still get the most points from a race.
In true 'Whacky Races' style these special moves range from ghosts getting called on to attack and distract opposition drivers, spikes coming of tires and even electrifying a car so that should others touch it they get incinerated. It’s a good idea that adds to the quirkiness of the game while defining the personality of each individual racer. These abilities can be activated at a press of a button and a recharge period means that it’s thankfully not possible to over use them. Beyond these special moves though, attacks follow a template that's best described as being like 'Road Rash'. You can attack to either side as often as you want, with the only rule being that you can't do this while cornering. Each hit landed on an opponent lowers their health gauge, which in turn affects their performance on the tracks.
As well as individual abilities, each character also has a number of their own self-styled courses which reflect their personality even if they re-enforce cultural stereotypes. Sumo San inhabits a future-Tokyo setting a stark contrast to Suzulu’s African savannah dirt track.
Each track feels varied, though less imaginative than those seen in 'Mario Kart', however some are far too short with lap times of just nine or ten seconds on a few circuits. To counteract this, 'Street Racer' allows you to change the number of laps that make up a race. The default option of five does seem about right though and it's a mystery how anyone would be patient enough to circle the same stretch of road thirty times.
The first mode “Rumble” is probably closest to the balloon bursting fun that Mario engages in. Like a 16 bit destruction derby the aim is to simply knock opponents out of an arena. In the original 'Mario Kart' to ensure consistent victory you have to spend a lot of time tactically thinking. The battle course are full of places to hide and there's a surprising amount of planning needed to calculate how best to use the weapon you have picked up while simultaneously avoiding a projectile that your opponent has. Without using the DSP chip, 'Street Racer' couldn't use projectile weapons in any mode. Consequently the best tactic in any rumble stage is to circle the centre of a level, wait while the other drivers defeat each other and then simply drive into anyone that remains. However, despite the short comings of rumble mode it works a lot better than "Soccer" mode. Almost as if fighting and driving wasn't enough already, Vivid Image have attempted to shoehorn in yet another genre; the sports sim. CVG Magazine called it “a combination of ‘Road Rash’, ‘Mario Kart’and ‘FIFA’”. This mode sees all eight racers chasing after a football so they can drive it into a solitary goal. It’s less fun and more frustrating than it sounds. The bulk of the time you play, you're simply chasing the ball only to have every one of your attempts on goal blocked. However the computer characters’ efforts almost always sail in.
|Mega Drive Version.|