Posted on March 9th, 2010 2 comments
Posted on March 9th, 2010 17 comments
I’ve got fond memories of this. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that it’s my favorite “sprite-scaling” arcade racer of all time; certainly it’s the pinnacle of the sub-genre, which got its start with Out Run back in 1986. It’s packed with awesome little details, from the hilarious voice work to the way your avatar adjusts his gloves right after the start of the game — and no, you can’t control the car while he’s doing this.
The first game on Sega’s System 32 platform (and therefore the first 32-bit arcade game ever), Rad Mobile is neat partly because of its sheer length. A successful trip through Out Run takes about six to eight minutes; crossing the USA in Rad Mobile takes up to eighteen. It’s a test of concentration, especially in the later stages where the roads narrow and get packed full with cars driving at high speed and switching lanes without signaling — a very realistic simulation of East Coast traffic, even today.
Sega released a port called Gale Racer for the Saturn in Japan, but it’s not very good — I mean, the cars are 3D models, for Chrissakes.
Also worth noting: This game actually beat out Sonic the Hedgehog, the Genesis game, to market by about five months, making this (believe it or not) the character’s video-game debut. Wikipedia has no citation for this, but my copy of Famitsu DC’s Sega Arcade History — itself a collector’s item these days, going for 5000 yen or so in the aftermarket shops — confirms the dates.