Category Archives: Video Games

Sauder’s “Multimedia Storage Tower” Is Well Worth 40 Bucks

Sauder Multimedia Storage Tower, Cinnamon Cherry

Sauder

See it at Amazon 

(4/5)

Pros: Price (about $40 including shipping). Capacity. Ease of assembly. Satisfactory appearance.

Cons: Back panel’s permanent “fold marks.”

Last March I was in the process of completing my collections of (mostly) “racing” video games for the PlayStation 2; GameCube, and original Wii systems. I’d decided to segregate those older games from my flagship Xbox 360 console’s compatible games (kept in an adjacent billiard/games room), and so I ordered this Sauder Multimedia Storage Tower [from Amazon.com for slightly over $40], and I installed it in my home office’s 6’ x 6’ walk-in closet.

According to Amazon, this product’s “assembled measurements are 32.50 inches wide by 9.375 inches deep by 45.375 inches tall.” However, those numbers pertain to the maximum exterior size of the product, not its usable shelf space. Accordingly, prospective consumers should note well that the actual shelf width and depth (per my hands-on measurements) are 32.2 by 5.5 inches.

As for the usable height of each shelf tier, well, using some of the manufacturer’s predrilled holes (for which insertable little metal “supports” are provided), I’ve adjusted four (of the six included) shelves such that there are five tiers (not counting the top of the cabinet), each measuring about 8 inches high. [This assumes you want each tier to accommodate conventional “DVD” cases, like those originally included with most PS2, GameCube, or Wii video games.]

According to the manufacturer, this “storage tower” can hold 426 CDs or 280 DVDs. In actuality, I filled this tower with only 265 “DVD” cases, as follows: 150 PS2 games; 62 GameCube games; and 53 Wii games. [Sure, I could’ve shoehorned another four or five such cases, but that would’ve made for an annoyingly tight fit.] Now, on the one hand, I wish the shelves were each several inches wider (which would’ve let me display my entire collections of PS2, GameCube and Wii titles). On the other hand, I recognize that any amount of increased width would’ve likely engendered significant warping of the composite-wood shelf boards after several years. [Thus I’m philosophically content to compromise by storing my least significant game titles in a nearby chest of drawers.]

After about five months of use — with all shelves fully loaded with video game discs in DVD cases — there’s no noticeable warping. However, at least one other online reviewer has reported that after a year or more of use, a tolerably slight amount of warping has indeed begun to occur with his specimen. Considering the low cost of this product, I’m not unduly concerned about that issue. Besides, at some point in the future, I could easily invert each shelf board (after applying some dark Minwax stain to the presently unfinished underside), which should effectively reverse any such warping.

By the way, since inverting the shaped top piece of the cabinet would not be an option, I strongly suggest that you don’t place any weighty objects atop this product. [I myself have (primarily for display purposes) placed just five games there that I selected for their cases’ particularly attractive front-cover art. And since I’ve got that handful of featherweight objects positioned “face-forward” near the back edge of that top piece (where at least a modicum of additional support is provided by the thin, nailed-on back panel), I don’t anticipate any perceptible warping in my unit’s top.]

Regarding color, the manufacturer calls it “Cinnamon Cherry.” The actual specimen that I received looks pretty much like a somewhat reddish version of dark walnut. (My specimen looks a bit darker than the above product image.) Although I could’ve used a somewhat lighter hue (to more closely harmonize with a preexisting dark-oak closet shelf on which I’m displaying a six-foot-wide row of original PlayStation [PS1] games in standard “CD” jewel cases), I’m more than satisfied with this product’s somewhat darker color, and I certainly would prefer it to more extreme alternatives like “ebony” or “light oak.”

If you look carefully at the above (click-twice-to-enlarge) product image, you’ll notice that the woodgrain back-panel piece has two vertical “creases” running from top to bottom; this reflects the fact that that panel was packed folded, and only when you unfold and nail it to the rear of the cabinet’s edges does the back panel flatten out. (Actually, as you can see in the photo, it doesn’t quite completely flatten out; indeed, at those points where a videogame case is directly in front of a back panel crease, the case is effectively pushed a fraction of an inch forward. Fortunately, the degree of such discrepancy is slight enough to be scarcely noticeable.) Though the back panel’s permanent “fold marks” will scarcely matter for most installations, they could prove annoyingly conspicuous if much of the shelf space isn’t sufficiently filled with media or whatever.

Though this rock-bottom-cheap product obviously can’t match the hardwood custom cabinetry in my house’s featured books-and-music “library” rooms, it’s plenty good enough for displaying the aforementioned older videogame collections in my home office’s walk-in closet. In fact, this easy-to-assemble/move Sauder unit wouldn’t look half bad in many an apartment living space– especially if you’re not pernickety and/or must make do on a tight budget.

The Best (Top 48) GameCube “RACING & DRIVING” Games for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

Original GameCube console, "platinum" version
The GameCube console was released in late 2001 and discontinued in 2007. It was initially available in purplish “Indigo” and “Jet Black” colors; but a year later the above “Platinum” limited edition became available.

See it at Amazon 

Sure, an original Wii console plays a nice selection of "Wii" racing games But it also plays GameCube discs-- including many great racing/driving titles!
Sure, an original Wii console can play a nice selection of “Wii” racing-game discs. But it can also play “GameCube” game discs– including many worthy racing/driving titles.

See it at Amazon

 

Pros: Plenty of great-looking, fun-to-play racing and driving games were made for the GameCube. And many extant Nintendo Wii console models (manufactured before October 2011) are fully backward-compatible with GameCube games, controllers and memory cards.

Cons: Later Wii console models (introduced after September 2011) are not backward-compatible with GameCube games, controllers and cards.

 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to the list of games.)

Now, despite my owning numerous GameCube games, I’ve never owned or played an original GameCube console. And, frankly, I have mixed feelings about that thing’s outer appearance. On the one hand, I (generally) respect Nintendo’s longstanding willingness to introduce innovatory products – in this instance a console that’s not only shaped unconventionally but also plays unusually small-diameter game discs. On the other hand, that “cube” – especially when sporting its primary purplish (so-called Indigo) hue – strikes me as something befitting a toddler’s playroom, not a grownup’s game room. [That said, I’ll grant that a GameCube does look a bit less childish when wearing Jet Black or Platinum.]

Anyway, I bought my first Nintendo Wii console in January 2010; and I wasted no time taking advantage of that system’s backward compatibility with GameCube game discs, memory cards, and wired controllers. Moreover, I replaced my Wii console’s standard “composite” video cable with a third-party “component” cable – which (connected to my Samsung LCD TV) quite noticeably improved the on-screen appearance of not only Wii games but also GameCube games.

Though I’m also a fan of such video-game genres as arcade, shmups, and sports, my favorite genre – by far – is “racing and driving.” And I’m pleased that a respectable number of such titles were released for the GameCube during its “heyday” (if that word even applies to a console whose market share distantly trailed that of the competing PS2). I ended up buying 37 GameCube racing/driving games; and I would’ve bought still more had I not opted to get certain cross-platform titles in originalXbox, Xbox 360, or PS2 format.

With those 37 GameCube discs plus 24 Wii racing/driving discs, my original-Wii console continues to deliver its share of fun whenever I’m taking a break from my much larger Xbox and PlayStation collections.

During the months when I was painstakingly building my American video games collections, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for this or that particular system. Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — list of recommendable GameCube racing/driving-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].

However, note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which GameCube racing games ended up on the below list.

First, titles like “Driver” or “Grand Theft Auto” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such games on the list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on the list.]

Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema (Smashing Drive is a prime example). [However, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a small minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.]

As I’m American, my below list predictably comprises only NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my intention isn’t to discuss every game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.

 

RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL GAMECUBE “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA:

[Except where noted below, I own a GameCube-edition specimen of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game at Amazon, click its title.)

  1. 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
  2. 4×4 Evo 2
  3. Auto Modellista     [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this GameCube but also the virtually identical Xbox and PS2 editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  4. Burnout [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  5. Burnout 2: Point of Impact  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  6. City Racer
  7. Crazy Taxi
  8. Dakar 2 Rally
  9. Driven
  10. Drome Racers
  11. Extreme-G 3
  12. F-Zero GX
  13. F1 2002
  14. Freekstyle
  15. Hot Wheels World Race
  16. The Italian Job
  17. Jeremy McGrath Supercross World
  18. Kirby Air Ride
  19. Lotus Challenge
  20. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  21. Monster 4×4: Masters of Metal
  22. MX Superfly
  23. NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup
  24. NASCAR Thunder 2003
  25. NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona
  26. Need for Speed: Carbon  [Note: I opted instead for the slightly graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  27. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2  [Note: I own not only this GameCube edition but also the PS2, whose gameplay content differs somewhat.]
  28. Need for Speed: Most Wanted [Note: Regarding this late-2005 release, I sold my GameCube edition because I’d noticed that my Xbox 360 (likewise 2005) edition had sharper graphics. That said, this GameCube edition is still pretty nice in its own right.]
  29. Need for Speed Underground
  30. Need for Speed Underground 2
  31. Pac Man World Rally
  32. Pro Rally
  33. R: Racing Evolution
  34. Rally Championship
  35. Road Trip: The Arcade Edition
  36. Smuggler’s Run: Warzones  [Note: According to IGN, Smuggler’s Run: Warzones “is basically just Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory (for PS2) with some additions and improvements.” Hence I opted to get this enhanced GameCube version and skip the PS2 release.]
  37. Speed Kings  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  38. SSX 3  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  39. SSX Tricky
  40. Street Racing Syndicate  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  41. SX Superstar  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  42. Tube Slider
  43. Wave Race: Blue Storm
  44. XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association

Note: The following GameCube title is somewhat more a “combat-driving” than a “racing” game; nonetheless, I like it just enough to keep it in my collection.

Monster Jam: Maximum Destruction

Also note: The following two GameCube titles [both of which I opted to get in their (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox editions] are definitely more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they still might be of interest.

RoadKill

Starsky & Hutch

In this vein, the following GameCube title [which I opted to get in its PS2 edition] might likewise be of some interest.

SpyHunter

 

*   *   *

You may also enjoy the following:  

The 81 Best RACING Games for Original Wii

The 135 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

The 99 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 292 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 121 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 1

The Best (Top 99) “RACING & DRIVING” Games for Original (First) Xbox Classic Console for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

The ORIGINAL Xbox console, released in 2001
The ORIGINAL Xbox console, released on November 15, 2001

See it at Amazon 

 

Pros: Numerous delightful racing/driving games were released for the original Xbox console; moreover, many such titles are also compatible with the Xbox 360 system, whose superior (HDMI) video output can make original-Xbox games look better than ever!

Cons: However, roughly 50% of all original-Xbox titles are not compatible with Xbox 360 consoles; therefore, note well my three separate lists below.

 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to the lists of games.)

After getting my first Xbox 360 console (a special-edition-white, 4 GB “Slim” model whose price Walmart had steeply discounted) in 2013, I upgraded it by adding an official Microsoft hard drive. Not only was that hard drive a handy place to “install” Xbox 360 disc-based games (and thereby save wear and tear on the console’s optical-disc drive), but also it was downright necessary in order to play original-Xbox games via that “360” console.

I was surprised and delighted to discover just how great a supposedly “outmoded” original-Xbox game can look when played via my 360 console’s HDMI connection to the Samsung LCD TV on the game-room wall. For example, I was astounded by the incredibly sharp, vivid graphics of the excellent Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, which had been released way back in 2002.

And – since my favorite genre is “racing and driving” – I was keen to collect basically every “360-compatible” original-Xbox racing/driving game available. [I currently have 45 such original-Xbox titles (as shown in the first of three lists below), which nicely complement the 84 racing/driving titles I’ve got in Xbox-360 format.]

A few months ago (in spring 2015), I bought (from a trustworthy acquaintance) my first – and, so far, my only – “original-Xbox” console in nice condition. [Together with its included wired controller, that console looks just like the picture atop this review.] Naturally, I soon thereafter acquired a large handful of “360-incompatible” original-Xbox racing game discs that also happen to be “exclusive” to the original-Xbox console. (You can see those eleven titles in the second of the three lists below. So far, my favorite games in that batch are: Rallisport Challenge 2; MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology; and Furious Karting.)

During the months when I was painstakingly building my American video games collections, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for this or that particular system. Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — overall list of recommendable original-Xbox racing/driving-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].

However, note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which original-Xbox racing games ended up on the below list.

First, titles like “Driver” or “Grand Theft Auto” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such games on the list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on the list.]

Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema (Smashing Drive is a prime example). [However, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a small minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.]

As I’m American, my below list predictably comprises only NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my intention isn’t to discuss every game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.

 

RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL “ORIGINAL XBOX” RACING & DRIVING GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA

NOTE: I’ve divided my overall list into three shorter lists. The first list comprises original-Xbox games that can be played in Xbox 360 consoles (as well as original-Xbox consoles). The second list comprises games that can be played only in original-Xbox (not Xbox 360) consoles and weren’t released for any other console. And the third list comprises games that can be played in original-Xbox (but not Xbox 360) consoles and were released for at least one other competing console (such as the PlayStation 2 or GameCube).

LIST #1 (OF 3): “360-COMPATIBLE” ORIGINAL-XBOX RACING/DRIVING GAMES

[Note that your Xbox 360 console must not only have a hard drive installed but must also be online such that Microsoft can download the pertinent “emulation” file allowing your original-Xbox game disc to play via the Xbox 360 system. That emulation file is automatically downloaded and stored on the Xbox 360 console’s hard drive the first time you insert a 360-compatible original-Xbox game disc; thereafter, it won’t be necessary for that Xbox 360 console to be online in order to play that original-Xbox game.]

  1. 4×4 Evo 2       See it at Amazon
  2. APEX       See it at Amazon
  3. ATV Quad Power Racing 2       See it at Amazon
  4. Auto Modellista       See it at Amazon     [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this Xbox but also the virtually identical PS2 and GameCube editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  5. Burnout        See it at Amazon
  6. Burnout 2: Point of Impact       See it at Amazon
  7. Burnout 3: Takedown       See it at Amazon
  8. Colin McRae Rally 04       See it at Amazon
  9. Colin McRae Rally 2005       See it at Amazon
  10. F1 2001       See it at Amazon
  11. Flat Out       See it at Amazon
  12. Ford Mustang Racing     See it at Amazon
  13. Ford Vs. Chevy       See it at Amazon
  14. Forza Motorsport       See it at Amazon
  15. Grooverider: Slot Car Thunder       See it at Amazon
  16. Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge       See it at Amazon
  17. IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005       See it at Amazon
  18. IHRA Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition       See it at Amazon    [Note: This game typically costs well over 20 dollars – not because it’s particularly good (it isn’t!) but simply because it’s relatively rare. Thus I chose to settle for the basically identical PS2 edition, which is dirt-cheap.]
  19. IndyCar Series 2005       See it at Amazon
  20. Maximum Chase       See it at Amazon
  21. MotoGP       See it at Amazon
  22. MotoGP 2       See it at Amazon
  23. MTX Mototrax       See it at Amazon
  24. MX Unleashed       See it at Amazon
  25. MX vs. ATV Unleashed       See it at Amazon
  26. MX World Tour featuring Jamie Little       See it at Amazon
  27. NASCAR Thunder 2002       See it at Amazon
  28. NASCAR Thunder 2003       See it at Amazon
  29. NASCAR 06: Total Team Control       See it at Amazon
  30. Need for Speed Underground 2       See it at Amazon
  31. Outrun 2       See it at Amazon
  32. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast       See it at Amazon    [Note: This game typically costs at least 30 dollars because it’s relatively rare. Thus I chose to settle for the basically identical PS2 edition, which can be found for well under 10 dollars.]
  33. Pocketbike Racer           See it at Amazon
  34. Project Gotham Racing       See it at Amazon
  35. Project Gotham Racing 2       See it at Amazon
  36. Pro Race Driver       See it at Amazon
  37. Quantum Redshift       See it at Amazon
  38. Rallisport Challenge       See it at Amazon
  39. SEGA GT 2002       See it at Amazon
  40. Speed Kings       See it at Amazon
  41. SSX 3       See it at Amazon
  42. SX Superstar       See it at Amazon
  43. Test Drive (2002)       See it at Amazon
  44. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction       See it at Amazon

Note: The following two “360-compatible” original-Xbox titles are more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they might nonetheless be of interest.

RoadKill       See it at Amazon

Starsky And Hutch       See it at Amazon

In this vein, the following “360-compatible” original-Xbox title might likewise be of some interest.

SpyHunter 2       See it at Amazon

 

LIST #2 (OF 3): “NON-360-COMPATIBLE” ORIGINAL-XBOX RACING/DRIVING  GAMES THAT ARE “CONSOLE EXCLUSIVES”

  1. Carve       See it at Amazon
  2. Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver       See it at Amazon   [Note:  This game looks like a blatant imitation of the original “Stuntman” release for PlayStation 2. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; so, if you’re a fan of the Stuntman games, definitely check out this Xbox game and decide if it’s for you.
  3. Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller       See it at Amazon   [Note: I opted to skip this game. Somewhat like the “original” Crazy Taxi (which I have for GameCube), this game strikes me as a tad too annoyingly adolescent; moreover, whatever “racing” there is, is simply “against the clock,” not “head to head.” That said, if you’re a fan of this series, definitely check out this installment via YouTube and decide if it’s for you.]
  4. Furious Karting       See it at Amazon
  5. Group S Challenge       See it at Amazon
  6. IHRA Drag Racing 2004       See it at Amazon
  7. Midtown Madness 3       See it at Amazon
  8. MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology       See it at Amazon
  9. Room Zoom: Race for Impact    See it at Amazon
  10. Rallisport Challenge 2       See it at Amazon
  11. World Racing      See it at Amazon
  12. World Racing 2      See it at Amazon

 

LIST #3 (OF 3): “NON-360-COMPATIBLE” ORIGINAL-XBOX RACING/DRIVING  GAMES THAT ARE NOT “CONSOLE EXCLUSIVES”

I myself don’t own any of the following titles in “original-Xbox” format; instead, I own them all in other (generally PS2 or GameCube) formats. [My reasoning is that I’ve only got one original-Xbox console, but I’ve got several PS2 and (GameCube-compatible) original-Wii consoles; hence, I’d rather limit the amount of wear and tear on my sole original-Xbox-console specimen.] Nevertheless, for interested devotees/collectors of original-Xbox games, I’m providing the following list.

  1. 187 Ride or Die
  2. Arctic Thunder
  3. Burnout Revenge
  4. Colin McRae Rally 3
  5. Corvette
  6. Crash ‘n’ Burn
  7. FlatOut 2
  8. Ford Bold Moves Street Racing
  9. Ford Racing 2
  10. Ford Racing 3
  11. Hummer Badlands
  12. IndyCar Series
  13. The Italian Job
  14. L.A. Rush
  15. Lotus Challenge
  16. Midnight Club II
  17. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix
  18. Motocross Mania 3
  19. MX 2002 featuring Ricky Carmichael
  20. MX Superfly
  21. NASCAR 07
  22. NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup
  23. NASCAR Heat 2002
  24. NASCAR Thunder 2004
  25. Need for Speed: Carbon
  26. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
  27. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
  28. Need for Speed: Underground
  29. Powerdrome
  30. R: Racing Evolution
  31. Rally Fusion: Race of Champions
  32. Splashdown
  33. SSX Tricky
  34. Test Drive: Off-Road Wide Open
  35. TOCA Race Driver 2
  36. TOCA Race Driver 3
  37. Total Immersion Racing
  38. V-Rally 3
  39. Whiteout
  40. XGRA: Extreme G Racing Association

*    *    *

You may also enjoy the following:

The 135 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

The 292 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 121 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 1

The 81 Best RACING Games for Original Wii

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The Best (Top 292) “RACING & DRIVING” Games Compatible with PlayStation 2 (PS2) for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

Most recent version of the American (NTSC) PS2 console
One of the “Slim, black” versions of the North American (NTSC) PS2 console.  [Note:  The model SCPH-79001 CB has an EXTERNAL power supply. By contrast, the more recent model SCPH-90001 CB has an INTERNAL power supply.]
See it at Amazon` 

The "Ceramic White"(special-edition) version of the PS2 Slim console, which I use to play my PS1 games
The “Ceramic White” (special-edition model SCPH-79001 CW) PS2 Slim console, which I use to play my PS2 (and PS1) games. [Note:  My brand-new specimen didn’t come with the pictured “stand” that supports the console in the pictured, optional “vertical” position; hence I separately ordered that stand  from a different online vendor.]

See it at Amazon 

 

Pros: The library of collectible, fun-to-play PS2-compatible “racing” games on disc is huge. And many titles are priced low.

Cons: Most of the extant PS3 consoles aren’t backward-compatible with PS2 games.  And with virtually all PS2 consoles, in order to “save” games, you’ll need to have at least one reliable “PS2 memory card”– preferably an original Sony-brand [or perhaps Nyko] card, because cheap “generic” cards are notoriously unreliable.

 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to the lists of games.)

According to Wikipedia, the PlayStation 2 is

“… the best-selling video game console in history…. More than 3,874 game titles have been released for the PS2…, and more than 1.5 billion copies have been sold.”

Even factoring that the above-cited numbers of titles and sales pertain to the entire world (not just North America), it’s obvious that – 15 years after the PS2’s advent – American buyers of “racing and driving” games should have no trouble finding many affordable titles for their PS2 collections.

Even if no brick-and-mortar stores in your neighborhood still stock PS2 games, it’s generally easy to order such games online via Amazon, eBay, Half.com and other sites.

I didn’t own a PS2 console until January 2010. And I didn’t start collecting PS2 racing/driving games till 2013; but by now I’ve bought 124 such PS2 titles [plus 121 such titles in PS1 format, which is compatible with PS2 consoles]; and I would’ve bought still more PS2 racing games if I hadn’t already collected certain “cross-platform” titles in their GameCube, Wii, Xbox and/or Xbox 360 editions.

During the months when I was painstakingly building my American PS2 games collection, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for this or that particular system. Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — list of recommendable PS2 racing/driving-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].

However, note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which PS2-compatible racing games ended up on the list (and in my personal collection).

First, titles like “Driver” or “Grand Theft Auto” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such titles on this list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on this list.

Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema. [Here too, however, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a small minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.

As I’m American, my below list predictably comprises only NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my intention isn’t to discuss every game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.

RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL PS2 “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA:

[Except where noted below, I own a PS2-edition specimen of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game at Amazon, click its title.)

  1. 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  2. 187 Ride or Die
  3. 4×4 Evo
  4. Alfa Romeo Racing Italiano
  5. Arctic Thunder
  6. ATV Offroad Fury
  7. ATV Offroad Fury 2
  8. ATV Offroad Fury 3
  9. ATV Offroad Fury 4
  10. ATV Quad Power Racing 2  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  11. Auto Modellista      [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this PS2 but also the virtually identical Xbox and GameCube editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  12. Burnout [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  13. Burnout 2: Point of Impact [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  14. Burnout 3: Takedown [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  15. Burnout Dominator
  16. Burnout Revenge   [Note: I opted instead for the graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  17. CART Fury: Championship Racing
  18. ChoroQ
  19. Colin McRae Rally 3
  20. Corvette
  21. Corvette Evolution GT
  22. Crash ‘N’ Burn
  23. Destruction Derby Arenas
  24. Downforce
  25. Downhill Domination
  26. Drive to Survive
  27. Driving Emotion Type-S
  28. DT Carnage
  29. DT Racer
  30. Enthusia Professional Racing
  31. F1 2001 [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  32. F1 2002 [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  33. F1 Career Challenge
  34. The Fast and the Furious
  35. Ferrari Challenge (2008)
  36. Ferrari F355 Challenge (2002)
  37. Flat Out [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  38. Flat Out 2 [Note: I opted instead for the improved 2008 re-release of this game for Xbox 360, titled FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage.]
  39. Ford Bold Moves Street Racing
  40. Ford Mustang
  41. Ford Racing 2
  42. Ford Racing 3
  43. Ford Racing Off Road
  44. Formula One 2001
  45. Freekstyle  [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  46. Gadget Racers
  47. Grand Prix Challenge
  48. Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
  49. Gran Turismo 4
  50. GTC Africa
  51. Harley-Davidson Race to the Rally
  52. Honda SBK: Superbike World Championship
  53. Hot Wheels: Beat That! [Note: I opted instead for the graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  54. Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  55. Hot Wheels World Race [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  56. Hummer Badlands
  57. IHRA Motorsports: Drag Racing 2
  58. IHRA Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition
  59. IndyCar Series
  60. Jak X: Combat Racing
  61. Jeep Thrills
  62. Jet X20
  63. Juiced
  64. Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights [Note: I opted instead for the graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  65. Kinetica
  66. The King of Route 66
  67. L.A. Rush
  68. Le Mans 24 Hours
  69. Midnight Club: Street Racing
  70. Midnight Club II
  71. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix
  72. Monster Jam: Urban Assault
  73. Motocross Mania 3
  74. MotoGP 3 [Note: Don’t confuse this PS2 game with the similarly titled original-Xbox release MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology (which is a distinct– and, by the way, not “360-compatible” — game that I play solely via my original-Xbox console).]
  75. MotoGP 4
  76. MotorStorm: Arctic Edge
  77. Mountain Bike Adrenaline  [Note: Unlike the somewhat similar PS2 game Downhill Domination, this game doesn’t offer competitive bicycle racing. But its “stopwatch” mode does offer some seemingly more realistic against-the-clock solo racing, which real-world mountain-bike riders would probably appreciate more than would most casual gamers.]
  78. MTX Mototrax [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  79. MX 2002 Featuring Ricky Carmichael
  80. MX Rider
  81. MX Superfly [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  82. MX Unleashed [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  83. MX vs. ATV Unleashed [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  84. MX vs. ATV: Untamed [Note: I opted instead for the Wii and Xbox 360 editions of this game.]
  85. MX World Tour: Featuring Jamie Little [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  86. NASCAR ’07
  87. NASCAR ’08
  88. NASCAR ’09
  89. NASCAR 2001
  90. NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup
  91. NASCAR 06: Total Team Control
  92. NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona [Note: I own not only this excellent PS2 edition but also the very similar Wii-compatible GameCube.]
  93. NASCAR Heat 2002
  94. NASCAR Thunder 2002
  95. NASCAR THUNDER 2003
  96. NASCAR Thunder 2004
  97. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 [Note: I own not only this PS2 edition but also the GameCube, whose gameplay content differs somewhat.]
  98. Need for Speed: Underground [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  99. Need for Speed: Underground 2 [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  100. Need for Speed: Most Wanted [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this 2005 game.]
  101. Need for Speed: Carbon [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  102. Need for Speed: ProStreet [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  103. Need for Speed: Undercover [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  104. NHRA Championship Drag Racing  [This is a 2005 release. Also see (directly below) its superior 2007 sequel.]
  105. NHRA Drag Racing: Countdown to the Championship
  106. Nitrobike [I prefer the bike control (“steering”) in this PS2 edition to that of the Wii edition (which I likewise own).]
  107. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
  108. Pac-Man World Rally [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  109. Paris Dakar Rally
  110. Power Drome
  111. R: Racing Evolution [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  112. Rally Fusion: Race of Champions
  113. RC Revenge Pro
  114. Ridge Racer V
  115. Riding Spirits
  116. Rumble Racing
  117. Saturday Night Speedway
  118. SBK Superbike World Championship [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  119. SCORE International Baja 1000 [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  120. Short Track Racing: Trading Paint
  121. Shox
  122. Ski Doo Snow X Racing
  123. Sled Storm
  124. Smash Cars
  125. Smuggler’s Run
  126. Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory [Note: According to IGN, Smuggler’s Run: Warzones (for GameCube) “is basically just ‘Hostile Territory’ with some additions and improvements.” Hence I opted to skip this PS2 release and get the enhanced GameCube version.]
  127. Speed Kings [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  128. Speed Racer: The Video Game
  129. Splashdown
  130. Splashdown Rides Gone Wild
  131. Sprint Cars: The Road to Knoxville
  132. Sprint Cars 2: Showdown at Eldora
  133. SSX
  134. SSX 3 [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  135. SSX Tricky [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  136. Star Wars Racer Revenge
  137. Street Racing Syndicate [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  138. Stunt GP
  139. Supercar: Street Challenge
  140. Super PickUps  [Note: When played in its “career/season” mode, the PS2 edition of this little low-budget game really entertains me– as does the Wii edition, which utilizes the Wiimote’s “motion-control steering” surprisingly effectively.]
  141. Super Trucks Racing
  142. Suzuki Super-Bikes II: Riding Challenge
  143. Suzuki TT Superbikes: Real Road Racing Championship
  144. Suzuki TT Superbikes: Real Road Racing
  145. Test Drive [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  146. Test Drive: Eve Of Destruction [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this game.]
  147. Test Drive: Off Road Wide Open
  148. Test Drive Unlimited [Note: I opted instead for the Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  149. TOCA Race Driver 2
  150. TOCA Race Driver 3
  151. Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3
  152. Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift
  153. Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift 2
  154. Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero
  155. Top Gear: Dare Devil
  156. Total Immersion Racing
  157. Tourist Trophy
  158. V-Rally 3
  159. Wave Rally
  160. Whiteout
  161. Wild Wild Racing
  162. Wipeout Fusion
  163. World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars 2002
  164. WRC: World Rally Championship
  165. XG3: Extreme G Racing Unlimited [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]
  166. XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association [Note: I opted instead for the (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition of this game.]

Note: The following PS2 title is somewhat more a “combat-driving” than a “racing” game. [I opted instead for its (Wii-compatible) GameCube edition.]

Monster Jam: Maximum Destruction

Also note: The following two PS2 titles [both of which I opted to get in their “Xbox 360-compatible,” original-Xbox editions] are definitely more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they still might be of interest.

RoadKill

Starsky & Hutch     

Also note that there are two “Stuntman” titles available for PS2, including the 2002 PS2-exclusive debut Stuntman, and the 2007 sequel Stuntman: Ignition [which I opted to get in Xbox 360 format]. While I do admire certain things about those “Stuntman” titles, I’m reluctant to characterize them as “racing” games or to declare them highly recommendable for the majority of players. But I do suggest that you consult several YouTube videos/reviews to help you decide if the PS2 “Stuntman” series is for you.

(PS2-COMPATIBLE) PS1 RACING GAMES

Of course, in addition to all the above PS2-format game discs, a PS2 console can play essentially any “original PlayStation” (PS1) game disc. [Thus the total number of recommendable PS2-compatible North American (NTSC) racing and driving games is actually around 292!]

To see my complete list of such PS1 racing titles, click the following link:

The 121 Best RACING Games for PS1

 

*    *    *

You may also enjoy the following:

The 99 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The 81 Best RACING Games for Nintendo Wii

The 135 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

 

Great Graphics and Music, but Mediocre Overall : GODZILLA – MONSTER OF MONSTERS for the NES

GODZILLA: MONSTER OF MONSTERS

for the Nintendo Entertainment System

Find it at Amazon 

(3/5) decent

Pros: Graphics, sound, music, ending; appropriately strange at times

Cons: Excruciatingly repetitive; difficulty level presents some problems

“In the year 2XXX, the earth receives a declaration of war from Planet X. With the whole solar system as the battlefield, bloody combat begins between space monsters and our guardians, Godzilla and Mothra!” Essentially, that’s the basis for any number of Japanese sci-fi movies relating to Godzilla, the giant fire-breathing reptile, so why wouldn’t it be the basis for Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, the first of several Godzilla video games?

GodMOM10
Rutrow! Those lousy Planet X-ians….

Developed by Toho Studios and released for the NES in 1989, the game finds the player controlling both the titular creature and giant insect Mothra as they gradually progress through the solar system, from Earth to the far reaches of Planet X, battling evil monsters and enemies of all sorts along the way. In the main game screen, the player manipulates chess-like representations of Godzilla and Mothra around hex grids in order to ultimately reach a base which allows for transport to the next planet. Maneuvering through any space on the grid instigates a pretty standard side-scrolling level in which either Godzilla or Mothra (whichever monster was being controlled) has to fight off smaller enemy units and destroy obstacles in order to advance. Each each monster in the game has both a life meter and a power bar: the life is self-explanatory (when it hits zero, the monster dies), but the power bar represents the monster’s ability to use a special attack (such as Godzilla’s radioactive death breath or Mothra’s life-zapping powder). Enemy monsters are scattered throughout the hex grids in the game and when these are contacted by a player’s monster, the game transitions to a sort of “beat ‘em up” level which plays out in front of a black background. The goal here is to reduce the enemy’s monster’s power to zero through hand-to-hand combat, with the special weapons being the attack of choice.

Main hex grid screen, with several monsters visible.

All the hex grid maps in the game are made up of different types of terrain which seem (somewhat) appropriate given the planet they’re on – Earth, for instance, is made up mostly of mountains and rocky outcroppings, while Mars is mostly volcanic. The farther the player gets in the game, the more difficult and frankly, bizarre the terrain: some planets are made up almost exclusively of so-called “sub-space” terrain, in which multi-colored blobs swirl around or giant, bubbling brains must be destroyed. Each planet includes a heavily-fortified “base” as its final hexpoint – all the player actually has to do is reach and occupy this base with both Godzilla and Mothra (or the last surviving one of the two). It really pays to defeat all the enemy monsters on any given planet however since this is the best way to “level up.” Advancing Godzilla and Mothra’s level gives them more life points, but also increases their power bar, allowing for more devastating special attacks.

Godzilla working through a side-scrolling level….

One of the things a player will notice about this game is that the side-scrolling levels are pretty chaotic. Godzilla’s basic weapons during these stages are punches, kicks, and tail swipes, while Mothra can fly around the screen using her eye laser to dispatch enemies – and plenty of enemies there are. Aside from various types of ground units, many of which fire beams and projectiles, a constant stream of missiles and bombs of various type swirl around with the player in the crosshairs at virtually all times. Godzilla and Mothra wind up taking substantial damage throughout any level they’re in, but in many cases, this abuse is almost inconsequential since there is an almost endless supply of life-replenishing power-ups available. There’s no incentive for the player to try and avoid incoming enemy fire, since it’s all but guaranteed that a power capsule will pop up within a short amount of time, so for the most part, Godzilla just stumbles right into enemy fire (though he can jump and duck to avoid it if desired).

01-620xand here’s Mothra progressing in front of a striking background.

I suppose the fact that Godzilla and Mothra can just absorb damage is fairly consistent with the movies (these are monsters after all!), but it winds up making the game somewhat pointless. There’s not much skill involved in negotiating levels since Godzilla and Mothra simply push through most any opposition coming their way with minimal difficulty. I should note that it is possible to be overwhelmed and killed (particularly in the “city” areas) and that there are a few enemies (including a flying torch of doom) that will severely damage the player if it is encountered. For the most part though, the side-scrolling levels lack much of a challenge and get painfully repetitive – there are a relatively limited number of level layouts, meaning that the exact same one will be encountered numerous times. Consider that a player has to negotiate eight hex grid planets before beating the game and you can begin to understand how and why this quickly becomes tiresome.

hqdefaultBattle scene – Godzilla squaring off against Gigan.

As much of a breeze as most of the side-scroll levels are, the actual monster battles get increasingly difficult over time. While the Earth board only features two enemy monsters, later levels feature up to eight, at least three of which are incredibly tough to defeat. The selection of villainous monsters in the game is pretty interesting since it seems that Toho was trying to raise the profile of some of their lesser-known films. It’s not a shock that fan-favorite monsters like King Ghidorah and Mecha-Godzilla would show up in Monster of Monsters and even Hedorah, the smog monster, isn’t that much of a stretch, but the appearance of cuttlefish Gezora, reptile/flying squirrel Varan, giant robot Moguera, and four-legged Baragon (creatures who didn’t feature in any of the legitimate Godzilla films) is surprising – one can even notice imagery that relates back to Atragon, Dogora, and even Matango, a.k.a. Attack of the Mushroom People.

nesThe various monster graphics are outstanding for a game of this era.

Though Ghidorah pops up as the (obvious) final boss, my pick for the most imposing monster in the game is Gigan, a beast who first appeared in a pair of movies in the 1970s and didn’t make much of an impression. In Monster of Monsters, Gigan proves how formidable a monster it really is, attacking with laser beams, hooked claws, and a buzz-saw that juts from its abdomen. This saw attack is probably the most devastating thing a player will have to deal with in the game: it has the potential to pin Godzilla against the side of the screen, diminishing his life bar at an alarming rate. While Godzilla has the ability to stand up pretty well against the enemy monster assaults – and can deliver plenty of punch of his own, I have to say that Mothra frequently seems entirely useless. Since her body is quite small, she can avoid some enemy attacks and is able to do things that the bulkier Godzilla can’t, but it becomes a chore to drag her through the hex grid and I often wind up purposely killing her.

hqdefault.jpg3Mothra, your journey is futile, even against a leper mushroom blob.

Graphically speaking, Monster of Monsters is actually pretty impressive: backgrounds during the side-scrolling levels are rather stunning at times, with the individual sprites being pretty cool to look at as well. The actual monster animations steal the show however: all these gorgeous-looking and surprisingly detailed creatures move fluidly and seem to react well to what’s happening around them – they all respond to attacks in different ways and seem to show pain (this is especially true in the case of Varan, who reels back in agony when an especially brutal attack comes his way). Sound throughout the game is also excellent, with the various creatures all having their own war cries and whimpers…though strangely, Godzilla’s trademark howl is conspicuously absent. I’ve also got to point out that the music in this game is fabulous. Each monster and every planet has its own theme, and many of these are extremely memorable and catchy; I think this is one of my favorite NES game soundtracks.

GMoM_endingA melancholic, lonely ending…which I rather like.

The frequently quirky Godzilla: Monster of Monsters has numerous problems that keep it from becoming a great game or even an above average title for the NES, but I think it’s OK for its time overall. Though very repetitive, with side-scrolling levels that are eventually dull and mostly a time-waste due to the over-abundance of power-ups, the monster battles deliver the goods in terms of what a player would want and offer up significant challenges. I really enjoy the visuals and sound present here and find the almost somber game ending to be quite satisfying – a real contrast to the typical NES game “Hollywood ending.” Monster of Monsters isn’t something that I’d entirely recommend, but I’ve certainly played worse; those who enjoy the Godzilla series might want to check this out just to say that they did.

PE7ctWu

Click above to read the (pretty cool) creepypasta based on the game.

The Best (Top 81) “RACING & DRIVING” Games Compatible with Original Nintendo Wii Console for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

The GameCube-compatible Wii console that I bought in January 2010
The GameCube-compatible Wii console that I bought in January 2010.  Note: I’ve got this connected to an LCD TV via a component-video cable. (Using a “component” — instead of the standard “composite” — cable noticeably improves picture quality for not only Wii but also GameCube games.

See it at Amazon 

Wii console with Mario Kart
Alternatively available, this bundle includes not only the GameCube-compatible Wii console but also the “Mario Kart Wii” game plus a “wheel” (“motion-control” accessory) that can also be used with many other Wii racing/driving games.

See it at Amazon

 

Pros: Numerous racing titles are compatible with the original Wii console.

Cons: But the plethora of “shovelware” and “hard-to-steer” games compels the discriminating player/collector to cull the wheat from the chaff.

 

Preface (Feel free to skip ahead to the list of games. )

While the original Wii isn’t exactly renowned as a racing or driving platform, many compatible — and enjoyable — racing games do exist, especially for its earlier console models incorporating GameCube compatibility.

As you likely know, the original Wii’s own library of games is deservedly notorious for the plethora of low-quality, “shovelware” titles. Removing such lowly games from consideration still leaves you with the fact that no cross-platform driving/racing title for Wii is likely to be as graphically impressive as its counterpart for the contemporaneous Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 system.

Moreover, more than a few otherwise promising games implement the Wii’s controversial “motion-control” approach to steering your vehicle, etc. Now, with certain titles that approach does work splendidly or at least tolerably well (especially if you temporarily place the standard Wii controller — aka “Wiimote” — within a passive “wheel” device, such as the one made by Nintendo). But far too many other titles implement motion control so badly that it’s a veritable deal breaker to almost any player – especially considering that such games often provide no alternative control choices (i.e., no Nunchuk, GameCube or Classic controller option). [In this vein, it may be helpful to consult Wikipedia’s pertinent lists regarding which Wii games are compatible with this or that type of controller.]

One example of a Wii game that implements “motion-control steering” frustratingly badly is Jimmy Johnson’s Anything with an Engine. My Xbox 360 [and, presumably, the PlayStation 3] edition has much more manageable steering. A second such example is the game Ford Racing: Off Road. My PlayStation 2 edition’s steering is all right; but the Wii edition’s steering is intolerably bad.

Note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which Wii-compatible racing games ended up on the list (and in my personal collection).

First, titles like “Driver” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such titles on this list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on this list. [But I’ve no such compunctions about certain seemingly universally beloved kart-racing titles – like the ones involving “Mario” or “Sonic” – that don’t unduly annoy adult sensibility.]

Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema. [Here too, however, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.

Note:  I’m American. Unsurprisingly, my below list comprises NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my intention isn’t to discuss every game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D+”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.

RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL NINTENDO Wii “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA:

[Except where noted below, I myself own the Wii edition of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game, click its “See it at Amazon” link.)

  1. Bigfoot: Collision Course       See it at Amazon
  2. Big Foot: King of Crush       See it at Amazon
  3. Build’n Race       See it at Amazon    [This game is pretty much “shovelware,” but (with the option to steer via the Nunchuk) it actually ends up providing a bit of fun and challenge using the various pre-built tracks. However, you must learn to ignore (or simply snort/chuckle at) the intermittent pollyannaish “encouragement” of the female commentator.]
  4. Cruis’n       See it at Amazon   [This game was originally going to be titled The Fast and the Furious. (Otherwise, it has no relation or similarity to the latter title for PS2.)]
  5. Dodge Racing: Charger vs. Challenger       See it at Amazon
  6. Ferrari Challenge       See it at Amazon
  7. ExciteBots: Trick Racing       See it at Amazon
  8. ExciteTruck       See it at Amazon
  9. F1 2009       See it at Amazon    [This title is essentially a Wii exclusive (not counting the PSP and iOS versions). Moreover, it’s actually a respectably decent “F1″ game (factoring the Wii’s graphical limitations) that lets you use several alternative-control options (involving the Nunchuk or the Classic controller).]
  10. GT Pro Series       See it at Amazon    [Evidently this 2006 launch title was largely a port of the 2003 Japan-only GameCube title GT Cube. Most critics roundly disparaged this Wii release; but I think it’s actually pretty good (for a Wii game), what with its decent implementation of Wiimote motion control.]
  11. Honda ATV Fever        See it at Amazon      [Warning: Though the graphics and steering (with the Nunchuk, not the Wiimote!) are decent, this game’s difficulty level (AI) is set so unreasonably high that — so far — I’ve been lucky to finish a race in sixth or seventh place (out of eight competing racers). Frankly, if frequently winning is important to you, you’d do well to skip this title.
  12. Hot Wheels Track Attack       See it at Amazon
  13. Indianapolis 500 Legends       See it at Amazon
  14. Mario Kart Wii       See it at Amazon
  15. Maximum Racing: Drag & Stock Racer  See it at Amazon      [Note: To me this low-budget game — which does allow Nunchuk steering — is desirable primarily because of its “stock” car racing mode. Important: The instructions manual doesn’t mention the necessity to select (from the menu) the “stock high” (instead of the default “stock low“) option. (Unless you select “high,” the game is essentially worthless because your car won’t be nearly fast enough to keep up with any of the 15 “AI” cars!)
  16. Monster Jam     See it at Amazon  [Note: I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  17. Monster Jam: Path Of Destruction       See it at Amazon  [Note: I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  18. Monster Jam: Urban Assault [I own not only this Wii edition but also the PS2, whose racing details differ somewhat. (Feel free to consult YouTube to compare the two.)     See it at Amazon 
  19. MX vs. ATV Untamed    See it at Amazon  [Note: So far, I actually prefer this Wii edition to the Xbox 360 (which I likewise own).]
  20. NASCAR Kart Racing       See it at Amazon
  21. NASCAR The Game 2011       See it at Amazon
  22. Need for Speed: Nitro       See it at Amazon     [Note: This is the only “Wii-exclusive” NFS game (and thus the only NFS title that I opted to get for my Wii console). But the following five additional NFS titles are likewise available for Wii: “Carbon;” “Hot Pursuit;”  “ProStreet;” “The Run;” and “Undercover.” So, if you don’t have access to the presumably superior Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 editions of those five titles, you might opt to settle for the (presumably tolerably good) Wii versions.]
  23. Nitrobike       See it at Amazon  [I own not only this Wii but also the PS2 edition. The latter version’s control (steering) is preferable; nonetheless, this Wii is “okay,” provided you can find it cheap (I paid slightly under two bucks).]
  24. Rig Racer 2        See it at Amazon     This “shovelware” Wii title is just good enough to make my list. I find it rather amusing in that it involves strictly “big-rig” trucks racing and doesn’t take itself seriously. [Besides, it cost me only 99 cents at a GameStop store.] This game uses only the Wiimote in “motion-control” mode; however, that approach is implemented surprisingly well in this little game — especially if you temporarily place the Wiimote in a Mariokart type of “wheel” (accessory). Be sure to select the “easy” difficulty level; and note that the Wiimote’s “–” (minus sign) key is for “reverse,” which you’ll likely be needing, now and again, till you’ve mastered your truck’s steering and braking.
  25. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing       See it at Amazon   [I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  26. Speed Racer       See it at Amazon   [I opted to get this title in its PS2 edition instead of this Wii (which supports only the Wiimote– not the Nunchuk, GameCube or Classic controller).]
  27. Speed Zone        See it at Amazon      [This game’s compatible with not only the Wiimote but also the Nunchuk, GameCube, and Classic controller. (With this game, forget the Wiimote and Nunchuk and instead use the GameCube or maybe the Classic controller!)]
  28. Super PickUps       See it at Amazon   [Call this low-budget release “shovelware” if you must, but I personally love this little game! I had already owned (and likewise relished) the PS2 edition before taking a chance on this Wii version, which – to my surprise and delight – actually implements the standard Wii controller’s motion-control mode more than tolerably nicely. Tip: For the best gameplay experience, select the initial menu’s “career” (instead of “quick race”) option, and then select “Season.” You’ll thereby see an onscreen “nitro boost” meter that makes for a much more lastingly satisfying challenge.]

 

(Wii-COMPATIBLE) GAMECUBE RACING GAMES

Until October 2011, all original Wii consoles sold in America were backward-compatible with Nintendo GameCube game discs. As of this writing, unused GameCube-compatible Wii consoles are still being sold at tolerably affordable prices (e.g., about $200, including shipping, via Amazon.com). [See the two pertinent pictures/links at the top of this review.]

[Except where noted below, I own a GameCube-edition specimen of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game at Amazon, click its title.)

  1. 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
  2. 4×4 Evo 2
  3. Auto Modellista     [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this GameCube but also the virtually identical Xbox and PS2 editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  4. Burnout [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  5. Burnout 2: Point of Impact  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  6. City Racer
  7. Crazy Taxi
  8. Dakar 2 Rally
  9. Driven
  10. Drome Racers
  11. Extreme-G 3
  12. F-Zero GX
  13. F1 2002
  14. Freekstyle
  15. Hot Wheels World Race
  16. The Italian Job
  17. Jeremy McGrath Supercross World
  18. Kirby Air Ride
  19. Lotus Challenge
  20. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  21. Monster 4×4: Masters of Metal
  22. MX Superfly
  23. NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup
  24. NASCAR Thunder 2003
  25. NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona
  26. Need for Speed: Carbon [Note: I opted instead for the slightly graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  27. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
  28. Need for Speed: Most Wanted [Note: I sold my copy of this late-2005 game after noticing that my Xbox 360 edition of it had sharper graphics. That said, this GameCube edition is still pretty nice in its own right.]
  29. Need for Speed Underground
  30. Need for Speed Underground 2
  31. Pac Man World Rally
  32. Pro Rally
  33. R: Racing Evolution
  34. Rally Championship
  35. Road Trip: The Arcade Edition
  36. Smuggler’s Run: Warzones
  37. Speed Kings  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  38. SSX 3  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  39. SSX Tricky
  40. Street Racing Syndicate  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  41. SX Superstar  [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  42. Tube Slider
  43. Wave Race: Blue Storm
  44. XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association

Note: The following GameCube title is somewhat more a “combat-driving” than a “racing” game; nonetheless, I like it just enough to keep it in my collection.

Monster Jam: Maximum Destruction

Also note: The following two GameCube titles [both of which I opted to get in their “Xbox 360-compatible,” original-Xbox editions] are definitely more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they still might be of interest.

RoadKill

Starsky & Hutch

In this vein, the following GameCube title [which I opted to get in its PS2 edition] might likewise be of some interest.

SpyHunter

 

*   *   *

You may also enjoy the following:  

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The 134 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

The 95 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 291 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 121 Best RACING Games for Original PlayStation (PS1)

 

The Best (Top 135) “RACING & DRIVING” Games Compatible with Xbox 360 for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

Left: The "Special-Edition" WHITE Xbox 360 Slim console that I bought in 2013. Note: I quickly upgraded this console by adding an official Microsoft 250GB hard drive.
Left: The “Special-Edition” WHITE Xbox 360 Slim console that I bought new (at Walmart) in 2013 for a net cost (after selling the bundled, unwanted “Skylanders” stuff) of only $159.  Note: I upgraded that console by installing an official Microsoft hard drive. (Their 500 GB model is most highly recommended for collectors. But save money by not ordering it directly from Microsoft but instead via Amazon.com! Also note; The specimen that I received via an Amazon Marketplace seller came in a Microsoft product box stating “PAL” region; nevertheless, it works fully normally in my North American [NTSC] console.)
See it at Amazon 

 

Pros: Today many Xbox 360 games can be collected (as used specimens) at affordable prices. The quality of “360” games still compares pretty nicely with that of games for “eighth-generation” consoles (e.g., Xbox One or PlayStation 4).

Cons: Think twice about buying any “downloadable” games (via Xbox LIVE) for your Xbox 360 console. (I’ll explain why below.)

 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to the list of games)

It wasn’t till 2013 that I got my first Xbox 360 console. By having waited so long after the console’s 2005 advent, I was able to buy three brand-new “Slim” consoles (in my preferred special-edition white hue) – each including a white, wireless controller – for scarcely more than what I would’ve originally paid for just one unreliable “deluxe” console. [Some might wonder why I bought more than just one Xbox 360 specimen. Well, on the one hand, I like knowing that I’ll almost certainly be able to play at least one of those consoles for the next two decades, i.e., years after one or two of ‘em have probably stopped working. On the other hand, I could end up selling one or both of the “backup” consoles someday as “still new, tested” specimens.]

Moreover, waiting so long to leap aboard the “360” bandwagon enabled me to purchase most of my compatible games at significantly discounted prices.

Note that I do have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which games ended up on the list (and in my personal collection).

First, titles like “Driver;” “Grand Theft Auto,” and “Fast and Furious” [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such titles on this list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on this list. [But I’ve no such compunctions about certain seemingly universally beloved kart-racing titles – like the ones involving “Sonic” – that don’t unduly annoy adult sensibility.]

Third, if a game absolutely forces me to be connected to the Internet in order to play it, I will neither buy nor endorse that game! [Hence you won’t find The Crew (a late-2014 release) on my list.]

Note:  I’m American. Unsurprisingly, my below list comprises (with two qualified exceptions, i.e., F1 2013 and WRC 2) only NTSC editions. And some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my general intention isn’t to discuss any particular game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in several instances just a “D+”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection.

NOTE:  I’ve divided my overall list into three shorter lists. The first list comprises ordinary retail (on-disc) Xbox 360 games. The second list comprises several “downloadable” Xbox 360 games. And the third list comprises retail on-disc games that were released for the original (2001) Xbox console yet are compatible with any North American Xbox 360 console having an official, Microsoft-brand hard drive.

COLLECTIBLE RETAIL XBOX 360 “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC (DVD) IN NORTH AMERICA:

(To view a picture of a particular game, click its “See it at Amazon” link.)

  1. Baja: Edge of Control       See it at Amazon 
  2. Blood Drive        See it at Amazon
  3. Blur        See it at Amazon
  4. Burnout Paradise        See it at Amazon
  5. Burnout Revenge       See it at Amazon
  6. Dirt       See it at Amazon
  7. Dirt 2       See it at Amazon
  8. Dirt 3       See it at Amazon
  9. Dirt Showdown       See it at Amazon
  10. F1 2010       See it at Amazon
  11. F1 2011       See it at Amazon
  12. F1 2012       See it at Amazon
  13. F1 2013       See it at Amazon      [Note: This particular title’s British (PAL) edition is “region-free,” i.e., fully compatible with North American (NTSC) consoles. (As of this writing, you can order via Amazon.com either the PAL edition [the one I myself own] or the much pricier NTSC equivalent.)]
  14. F1 2014       See it at Amazon
  15. F1 Race Stars       See it at Amazon
  16. Fatal Inertia       See it at Amazon
  17. Flat Out: Ultimate Carnage       See it at Amazon
  18. Forza Horizon       See it at Amazon
  19. Forza Horizon 2       See it at Amazon
  20. Forza Motorsport 2       See it at Amazon
  21. Forza Motorsport 3       See it at Amazon
  22. Forza Motorsport 4       See it at Amazon
  23. Fuel       See it at Amazon
  24. Full Auto       See it at Amazon
  25. Grid        See it at Amazon
  26. Grid 2       See it at Amazon
  27. Grid Autosport (“Black Edition”)       See it at Amazon  
    [Note:  Might as well get this expanded “Black” edition (which includes an extra car, etc.), since — ironically — it’s available for less than the cost of the “Standard” edition.]
  28. Hot Wheels: Beat That       See it at Amazon
  29. Import Tuner Challenge       See it at Amazon
  30. Indianapolis 500 Evolution       See it at Amazon
  31. Jimmie Johnson’s Anything with an Engine       See it at Amazon
  32. Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights        See it at Amazon
  33. Mayhem 3D       See it at Amazon
  34. Midnight Club: Los Angeles – Complete Edition       See it at Amazon
  35. Monster Jam       See it at Amazon
  36. Monster Jam: Path of Destruction       See it at Amazon
  37. MotoGP 06       See it at Amazon
  38. MotoGP 07       See it at Amazon
  39. MotoGP 08       See it at Amazon
  40. MotoGP 09/10       See it at Amazon
  41. MotoGP 14       See it at Amazon
  42. MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship       See it at Amazon
  43. MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame       See it at Amazon
  44. MX vs. ATV Alive       See it at Amazon
  45. MX vs. ATV Reflex       See it at Amazon
  46. MX vs. ATV Untamed       See it at Amazon
  47. Mx vs. ATV: Supercross       See it at Amazon
  48. Nail’d       See it at Amazon
  49. NASCAR 08       See it at Amazon
  50. NASCAR 09       See it at Amazon
  51. NASCAR The Game 2011       See it at Amazon
  52. NASCAR: Unleashed       See it at Amazon
  53. NASCAR The Game: Inside Line       See it at Amazon
  54. NASCAR ’14       See it at Amazon
  55. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)       See it at Amazon
  56. Need for Speed: Carbon (2006)       See it at Amazon
  57. Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)       See it at Amazon
  58. Need for Speed: Undercover (2008)       See it at Amazon
  59. Need for Speed: Shift (2009)       See it at Amazon
  60. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)       See it at Amazon
  61. (Need For Speed) Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)       See it at Amazon
  62. Need for Speed: The Run (2011)       See it at Amazon
  63. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)       See it at Amazon
  64. Need for Speed: Rivals (2013)       See it at Amazon
  65. PocketBike Racer      See it at Amazon
  66. Project Gotham Racing 3       See it at Amazon
  67. Project Gotham Racing 4       See it at Amazon
  68. Pure       See it at Amazon
  69. Race Pro       See it at Amazon
  70. Ridge Racer 6       See it at Amazon
  71. Ridge Racer Unbounded       See it at Amazon
  72. SBK Superbike World Championship       See it at Amazon
  73. SBK X: Superbike World Championship       See it at Amazon
  74. Score International: BAJA 1000       See it at Amazon
  75. Sega Rally Revo       See it at Amazon
  76. Ski Doo: Snowmobile Challenge       See it at Amazon
  77. Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed       See it at Amazon
  78. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing       See it at Amazon
  79. Split/Second       See it at Amazon
  80. SSX       See it at Amazon
  81. Stuntman: Ignition       See it at Amazon
  82. Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends       See it at Amazon
  83. Test Drive Unlimited        See it at Amazon
  84. Test Drive Unlimited 2       See it at Amazon
  85. World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars       See it at Amazon
  86. WRC 2: FIA World Rally Championship       See it at Amazon  [Note: Although this 2011 game wasn’t released in North America, its British “PAL” edition is (unlike all other Xbox 360 PAL editions in the WRC series) “region-free” and thus can be played on North American “NTSC” Xbox 360 consoles. I ordered my preowned copy via Amazon.com’s link to their “United Kingdom” website for $14.89 USD (including shipping from England to USA).]

DOWNLOADABLE RACING GAMES

Note that several excellent racing games are also available – strictly as downloads – via Microsoft’s “Xbox Live.” Apart from Daytona USA (whose demo wasn’t quite impressive enough to convince me to buy the full game), the following three titles are noteworthy (and I enjoy them all very much):

  1. Hydro Thunder Hurricane
  2. Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad
  3. SkyDrift

[However, if lasting value matters to you, heed my warning (in the addendum below) regarding buying any downloadable games for your Xbox 360 console!]

“ORIGINAL XBOX” RACING GAMES COMPATIBLE WITH XBOX 360 CONSOLES

Many (but not all!) racing games for the original Xbox console (released in 2001) are likewise compatible with any Xbox 360 console having an official, Microsoft-brand hard drive. [Flash memory/thumb drives don’t work with original-Xbox games; moreover, third-party/generic, non-Microsoft hard drives reportedly won’t work reliably, if at all, so don’t even try that!] Thus I’m also providing the below list of the 43 original-Xbox racing titles that I deem worth keeping in my “360” collection (and which generally look better than ever via my 360 console’s HDMI connection to a modern TV).

[Also note that your Xbox 360 console must initially be online such that Microsoft can download the pertinent “emulation” file allowing your original-Xbox game disc to play via the Xbox 360 system. That emulation file is automatically downloaded and stored on the Xbox 360 console’s hard drive the first time you insert a 360-compatible original-Xbox game disc; thereafter, it won’t be necessary for that Xbox 360 console to be online in order to play that original-Xbox game.]

RETAIL “ORIGINAL XBOX” RACING GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA (AND COMPATIBLE WITH NORTH AMERICAN XBOX 360 CONSOLES):

  1. 4×4 Evo 2       See it at Amazon
  2. APEX       See it at Amazon
  3. ATV Quad Power Racing 2       See it at Amazon
  4. Auto Modellista     See it at Amazon     [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this Xbox but also the virtually identical GameCube and PS2 editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  5. Burnout        See it at Amazon
  6. Burnout 2: Point of Impact       See it at Amazon
  7. Burnout 3: Takedown       See it at Amazon
  8. Colin McRae Rally 04       See it at Amazon
  9. Colin McRae Rally 2005       See it at Amazon
  10. F1 2001       See it at Amazon
  11. Flat Out       See it at Amazon
  12. Ford Mustang Racing     See it at Amazon
  13. Ford Vs. Chevy       See it at Amazon
  14. Forza Motorsport       See it at Amazon
  15. Grooverider: Slot Car Thunder       See it at Amazon
  16. Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge       See it at Amazon
  17. IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005       See it at Amazon
  18. IHRA Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition       See it at Amazon    [Note: This game typically costs well over 20 dollars – not because it’s particularly good (it isn’t!) but simply because it’s relatively rare. Thus I chose to settle for the basically identical PS2 edition, which is dirt-cheap.]
  19. IndyCar Series 2005       See it at Amazon
  20. Maximum Chase       See it at Amazon
  21. MotoGP       See it at Amazon
  22. MotoGP 2       See it at Amazon
  23. MTX Mototrax       See it at Amazon
  24. MX Unleashed       See it at Amazon
  25. MX vs. ATV Unleashed       See it at Amazon
  26. MX World Tour featuring Jamie Little       See it at Amazon
  27. NASCAR Thunder 2002       See it at Amazon
  28. NASCAR Thunder 2003       See it at Amazon
  29. NASCAR 06: Total Team Control       See it at Amazon
  30. Need for Speed Underground 2       See it at Amazon
  31. Outrun 2       See it at Amazon
  32. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast       See it at Amazon    [Note: This game typically costs at least 30 dollars because it’s relatively rare. Thus I chose to settle for the basically identical PS2 edition, which can be found for well under 10 dollars.]
  33. Project Gotham Racing       See it at Amazon
  34. Project Gotham Racing 2       See it at Amazon
  35. Pro Race Driver       See it at Amazon
  36. Quantum Redshift       See it at Amazon
  37. Rallisport Challenge       See it at Amazon
  38. SEGA GT 2002       See it at Amazon
  39. Speed Kings       See it at Amazon
  40. SSX 3       See it at Amazon
  41. SX Superstar       See it at Amazon
  42. Test Drive (2002)       See it at Amazon
  43. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction       See it at Amazon

Note: The following two “360-compatible” original-Xbox titles are more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they might nonetheless be of interest.

RoadKill       See it at Amazon

Starsky And Hutch       See it at Amazon

In this vein, the following “360-compatible” original-Xbox title might likewise be of some interest.

SpyHunter 2       See it at Amazon

 

Addendum

Warning:  The three downloadable games that I cited above [Hydro Thunder Hurricane; Jeremy McGrath’s Off-Road; and SkyDrift) arguably don’t constitute good long-term value, because once your “primary” console breaks — and Xbox Live support for Xbox 360 is eventually terminated (as Microsoft did in early 2010 for the original Xbox console) — your precious downloads will effectively disappear!

[Note: An acquaintance of mine recently mused that it’s conceivable Microsoft might, upon terminating Xbox 360 support, provide some compensatory means for any past purchaser of such downloaded games to freely play his downloads on Xbox 360 consoles other than his “primary” (original) one. But I believe that’s merely wishful thinking, because past history suggests it just “ain’t gonna happen.”]

Admittedly, “for the time being” I’m still relishing the ninety-five dollars’ worth of superlative games (including some non-racing, “arcade” titles) that I downloaded from Xbox Live. Even so, I’m also increasingly feeling that I impulsively made a ninety-five-buck mistake. And I sure won’t be shelling out for any more such downloads.

*   *   *

You may also enjoy the following:  

The 99 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 292 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 121 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 1

The 81 Best RACING Games for Original Wii

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

 

The Best (Top 121) “RACING & DRIVING” Games for Original PlayStation (PS1/PSX) for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

ps1 console
The redesigned, smaller version of the original PlayStation console

See it at Amazon 

The "Ceramic White"(special-edition) version of the PS2 Slim console, which I use to play my PS1 games
The “Ceramic White” (special-edition) version of the PS2 Slim console, which I opt to use to play all my PS1 games — including the “racing” titles on my below list. [Note: Presumably, PS1 games could look still nicer via a PS3 console (with its HDMI connectivity), but I haven’t personally verified this.]
See it at Amazon

 

Pros:  Used PS1 racing games are generally quite affordable and easy to find via trustworthy online vendors (e.g., Amazon and eBay). And there are well over a hundred PS1 racing titles – which are compatible with all PS2 and (presumably) PS3 consoles.

Cons:  Fifth-generation-console racing games’ graphics arguably aren’t as exciting as their counterparts for more recent systems. And many PS1 racing games don’t provide “analog-thumbstick” steering (as a control option to “digital D-pad” steering).

 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to my list of game titles.)

Edgar Rice Burroughs once defined golf as a mental disorder. Similarly, I myself – only partly jestingly – have long defined collecting as a species of mania. All my life I’ve been afflicted with this recurring madness. In youth I focused on philately. But in adulthood I’ve settled on books, music, and video games. I find those three subjects ultimately more gratifying than stamps, coins or cards. For not only can I passively behold my sundry objects ranged alphabetically on display shelves, but also I can open or play any single title and lose myself within a captivating alternate reality.

While my taste in music and books might seem stodgy (I collect primarily “classical” and “nonfiction”) my taste in videogaming is more wide-ranging. That said, I favor the following genres: arcade; shmups; and racing. Of the three, my favorite, by far, is racing— in virtually any form, not just the usual “cars, trucks or bikes.”

During the months when I was painstakingly building my (arguably definitive) American racing-games collection, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for any of my several old consoles— including the PlayStation 2 (which is PS1-compatible). [Note:  PlayStation 3 consoles are likewise backwardly compatible with most PS1 games. However, I myself don’t presently own a PS3.]

Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — list of recommendable PS1 racing-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].

However, I do have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which titles made my list.

First, titles like Driver or Grand Theft Auto [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such titles on this list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes (in games like Crash Team Racing and Twisted Metal) normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer. [But I’ve no such problem with certain seemingly universally beloved kart-racing titles involving Pac-Man, Kirby, Mario and Sonic that were released for later consoles and scarcely annoy adult sensibility.]

Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema. [Here too, however, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.

Note:  I’m American. Unsurprisingly, my below list comprises only NTSC editions. And some games bear different titles (or weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my general intention isn’t to discuss any particular game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in some instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection. 

[To see a particular game at Amazon, click its picture or title.]

1.    All Star Racing

All Star Racing

 

2.    All Star Racing 2

All Star Racing 2

 

3.    Andretti Racing

Andretti Racing

 

4.    ATV Mania

ATV Mania

 

5.    ATV Quad Power Racing

ATV Quad Power Racing

 

6.    Bravo Air Race

Bravo Air Race

 

7.    Burning Road

Burning Road

 

8.    CART World Series

CART World Series

 

9.    Castrol Honda Superbike Racing

Castrol Honda Superbike Racing

 

10.    Championship Motocross (Featuring Ricky Carmichael)

Championship Motocross Featuring Ricky Carmichael

 

11.    Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breakers

 

12.    Colin McRae Rally

Colin McRae Rally

 

13.    Colin McRae Rally 2.0

Colin McRae Rally 2

 

14.    Demolition Racer

Demolition Racer

 

15.    Destruction Derby

Destruction Derby

 

16.    Destruction Derby 2

estruction Derby 2

 

17.    Destruction Derby Raw

Destruction Derby Raw

 

18.    Ducati World Racing Challenge

Ducati World Racing Challenge

 

19.    ESPN Extreme Games (aka 1Xtreme)

ESPN Extreme Games

 

20.    F1 2000

F1 2000

 

21.    F1 Championship Season 2000

F1 Championship Season 2000

 

22.    F1 World Grand Prix: 1999 Season

F1 World Grand Prix 1999 Season

 

23.    F1 World Grand Prix (2001 release)

F1 World Grand Prix

 

24.    Ford Racing

Ford Racing

 

25.    Ford Truck Mania

Ford Truck Mania

 

26.    Formula 1

Formula 1

 

27.    Formula 1 Championship Edition

Formula 1 Championship Edition

 

28.    Formula 1 98

Formula 1 98

 

29.    Formula One 99

Formula One 99

 

30.    Formula One 2000

Formula One 2000

 

31.    (Car & Driver Presents:) Grand Tour Racing ’98

Grand Tour Racing ’98

 

32.    Gran Turismo 1

Gran Turismo 1

 

33.    Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2

 

34.    Hydro Thunder

Hydro Thunder

 

35.    IHRA Drag Racing

IHRA Drag Racing

 

36.    Jarrett & Labonte Stock Car Racing

Jarrett and Labonte Stock Car Racing

 

37.    Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000  [Note:  This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000_front

 

38.    Jet Moto

Jet Moto

 

39.    Jet Moto 2

Jet Moto 2

 

40.    Jet Moto 3

Jet Moto 3

 

41.    Killer Loop

Killer Loop

 

42.    Michelin Rally Masters

Michelin Rally Masters

 

43.    Mobil 1 Rally Championship

Mobil 1 Rally Championship

 

44.    Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix

 

45.    Motocross Mania

Motocross Mania

 

46.    Motocross Mania 2

Motocross Mania 2

 

47.    Moto Racer

Moto Racer

 

48.    Moto Racer 2

Moto Racer 2

 

49.    Moto Racer World Tour

Moto Racer World Tour

 

50.    Motorhead

Motorhead

 

51.    NASCAR 2000

NASCAR 2000

 

52.    NASCAR 2001

NASCAR 2001

 

53.    NASCAR 98   [Note:  Mine is the slightly expanded “Collector’s Edition.” The standard edition (not shown below) has different cover art.]

NASCAR 98 Collectors Edition

 

54.    NASCAR 99   [Mine is the standard edition (as shown below). Also available is a (presumably slightly expanded) “Legacy Collector’s Edition.”]

NASCAR 99

 

55.    NASCAR Heat

NASCAR Heat

 

56.    NASCAR Racing (’96 Season)

NASCAR Racing

 

57.    NASCAR Rumble

NASCAR Rumble

 

58.    NASCAR THUNDER 2002

NASCAR THUNDER 2002

 

59.    NASCAR Thunder 2003

NASCAR Thunder 2003

 

60.    NASCAR Thunder 2004

NASCAR Thunder 2004

 

61.    Need for Speed

Need for Speed

 

62.    Need for Speed II

Need for Speed II

 

63.    Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit

 

64.    Need for Speed: High Stakes

Need for Speed High Stakes

 

65.    Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed

Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed

 

66.    Need for Speed: V-Rally

Need for Speed V-Rally

 

67.    Need for Speed: V-Rally 2

Need for Speed V-Rally 2

 

68.    Newman Haas Racing

Newman Haas Racing

 

69.    NGEN Racing

NGEN Racing

 

70.    No Fear Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

No Fear Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

 

71.    Peak Performance

peak performance

 

72.    Polaris SnoCross

Polaris SnoCross

 

73.    Porsche Challenge

Porsche Challenge

 

74.    R4: Ridge Racer Type 4  (two-disc set, in double-wide jewel case)

R4 Ridge Racer

 

75.    Racing  (A1/Agetec)

Racing A1

 

76.    Rage Racer

Rage Racer

 

77.    Rally Cross

Rally Cross

 

78.    Rally Cross 2

Rally Cross 2

 

79.    RC de Go

RC de Go

 

80.    Red Asphalt

Red Asphalt_front

 

81.    Re-Volt

Re-Volt

 

82.    Ridge Racer

Ridge Racer

 

83.    Ridge Racer Revolution

Ridge Racer Revolution

 

84.    Road Rash

Road Rash

 

85.    Road Rash 3D

Road Rash 3D

 

86.    Road Rash Jailbreak

Road Rash Jailbreak

 

87.    Rollcage

Rollcage

 

88.    Rollcage Stage 2

Rollcage 2

 

89.    Rush Down

Rush Down

 

90.    Rush Hour

Rush Hour

 

91.    S.C.A.R.S.

S.C.A.R.S.

 

92.    Sea-Doo Hydrocross

Sea-Doo Hydrocross

 

93.    Sled Storm

Sled Storm

 

94.    Sno Cross Championship Racing

Sno Cross Championship Racing

 

95.    Snowboarding (A1/Agetec)

Snowboarding A1

 

96.    Sports Car GT

Sports Car GT

 

97.    Sports Superbike 2

Sports Superbike 2

 

98.    Starwinder  [Note:  This game — whose cutscenes overshadow its actual “racing” segments — only barely qualified for this list!]

Starwinder

 

99.    Streak: Hoverboard Racing

Streak Hoverboard Racing

 

100.    Superbike 2000

Superbike 2000

 

101.    Supercross

Supercross

 

102.    Test Drive 4

Test Drive 4

 

103.    Test Drive 5

Test Drive 5

 

104.    Test Drive 6

Test Drive 6

 

105.    Test Drive Le Mans

Test Drive Le Mans

 

106.    Test Drive Off-Road

Test Drive Off-Road

 

107.    Test Drive Off-Road 2

Test Drive Off-Road 2

 

108.    Test Drive Off-Road 3

Test Drive Off-Road 3

 

109.    Thunder Truck Rally  [Note:  Nice cover art notwithstanding, this relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

Thunder Truck Rally

 

110.    TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4×4

TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4x4

 

111.    TNN Motorsports Hardcore TR

TNN Motorsports Hardcore TR

 

112.    TOCA Championship Racing

TOCA Championship Racing

 

113.    Tokyo Highway Battle

Tokyo Highway Battle

 

114.    Touring Car Challenge

Touring Car Challenge

 

115.    Turbo Prop Racing

Turbo Prop Racing

 

116.    Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point

 

117.    VR Sports Powerboat Racing

VR Sports Powerboat Racing

 

118.    Wipeout   [Note: This “original” Wipeout game is a noteworthy title for PS1 collectors; however, my take is that its gameplay’s relative shortcomings make it seem altogether superfluous for gamers who already own any of its superior sequels, including Wipeout XL and/or Wipeout 3.]

Wipeout original

 

119.   Wipeout XL

Wipeout XL

 

120.    Wipeout 3

Wipeout 3

 

121.    Wreckin Crew  [Note:  This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

Wreckin Crew

 

*    *    *

You may also enjoy the following:  

The 292 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 99 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The 81 Best RACING Games for Original Wii

The 135 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

Destroy Everything Onscreen: GUERRILLA WAR for the NES

GUERRILLA WAR

for the Nintendo Entertainment System

image-placeholder

Find it at Amazon 

(4/5) cool

Pros: Extremely fun when taken in small doses – especially with two players

Cons: Difficulty level is frustrating for various reasons; gets tiresome down the line

Probably one of the games that caused the most confusion for youngsters when it came out back in 1988 (“why is this called Gorilla War?”), Guerrilla War for the NES remains one of the best overhead-perspective, run-and-gun titles the system had to offer. The players (up to two can play at a time) assume command of unnamed guerrilla fighters as they attempts to infiltrate an island nation all the way to the Capitol, where they hope to “destroy” an enemy leader and therefore bring peace to the land. After being dropped near the coast by boat, the players quickly find themselves in the middle of swarms of enemy fighters – normal commandos firing machine guns as well as more specialized personnel launching grenades or firing rockets. Levels progress at the players’ pace (they don’t self-scroll) and not all enemies have to be eliminated in order to progress: once a certain location is reached, a boss battle commences regardless of anything else going on. The game consists of ten levels, sending the player through forests, swamps, towns, a sewer system, and finally to a heavily-guarded enemy fortress, and the action throughout the game is absolutely furious.

50920-guerrilla-war-nes-screenshot-soldiers-can-appear-also-from

Main perspective of the game – note the yellow hostage in the upper right of the screen.

Players have initially have two options with regard to their offense: a relatively low-powered machine gun is the basic weapon and the player can also throw grenades which inflict more substantial damage. Throughout the course of the game, various power-ups can be acquired which significantly increase the firepower of the basic gun. Ranging from missiles to a devastating flamethrower attack, these power-ups only last as long as the player stays alive then disappear, but they nonetheless make playing the game much easier. Ammunition supplies are infinite, so one can literally blast away with little regard for much else…unless saving various hostages who appear throughout the game is viewed as a priority. To be honest, there’s little incentive to save these hostages, most of whom appear to be tied to posts in the ground. A player receives 1000 (relatively useless) “points” for each hostage rescued and is docked 500 points for each one inadvertently killed, but the “points” don’t do much except keep a tally of how much destruction the player has wrought. Since hostages can quite easily be killed in the chaos of battle, it’s almost a miracle to save any of them.

Guerrilla_War_-_NES_-_Boss_1Boss Battle!

What one immediately notices about this game (developed by SNK and based on a popular arcade cabinet of the time) is that it’s very, very busy: the stream of enemies thrown at the player is both constant and voluminous. Players are all but surrounded by enemies coming from all sides and behind from the time the game is started to the point where it’s shut off. Considering the steep difficulty then, it may be a good thing that Guerrilla War offers an endless number of continues – at the game over screen, the session can be immediately restored from the last point reached. The downside to this, of course, is that this game (like the monster mash Rampage) isn’t much of a challenge: the sense of accomplishment one receives from finishing it is minimized by the fact that it’s literally impossible to “lose” Guerrilla War provided an hour or so is dedicated to completing it.

guerrilla-4Sadly, achieving this screen doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment.

Graphically-speaking, Guerrilla War isn’t especially flashy, but is quite decent for its time (remember, it’s damn near thirty years old at this point), with nifty level design and plenty of colorful visuals. There’s also some nice attention to detail considering its age: for instance, certain varieties of enemies (including those crouched down or in foxholes) are lower than the player’s machine gun, so they can’t be dispatched in the same manner as others. Some of the landscape objects (sandbags for example) can be destroyed by grenade or rocket fire, allowing for level destruction that was uncommon in games of this time. It’s also pretty neat that enemy tanks spiral out of control and fire wildly just before they explode.

guerrillawarnes-08Twisting and turning through the sewer level.

I like the fact that the game doesn’t necessarily just progress from the bottom of the screen to the top; there are some twists and turns to the levels that a player has to negotiate, which can lead to some intense crossfire and firefights to deal with. The bosses thrown at the player during the course of the game are fairly memorable, and an appropriately hectic if unremarkable music score adds to the frantic pace of the proceedings. I should also note that this game provides genuine catharsis since the goal is to essentially shoot every damn thing on the screen. I even can’t entirely deny a sense of satisfaction that’s achieved from “accidentally” torching hostages with the flamethrower: call me a sadist, but this becomes amusing in the same way that shooting the nurses who rush across the screen during the side-scrolling shooter Operation Wolf does. Finally, this game is an absolute blast to play cooperatively along with a friend; one of the most downright fun two-player titles out there as far as I’m concerned.

Guerrilla War-2Graphics aren’t especially flashy, but I think they’re nice-looking.

Probably the most frustrating thing about this game (aside from the fact that a player is likely to get killed many, many times while playing it) is the fact that gameplay and formula of the title is rather familiar. The sheer number of military-themed shooting games for the NES was staggering – the system was introduced in the midst of the Cold War after all – and while the capably-made Guerrilla War is a definite step up from some of the more listless titles out there, one can’t quite shake a feeling of “been there, done that” while playing. Additionally, the game’s strengths work against it on some level: since there is so much going on onscreen at any given time, the game has the potential to flicker and noticeably slow down on occasion. This can be very irritating to deal with, especially during the final few levels. It also should be said that there’s not a ton of variety to the gameplay here: though immensely fun in relatively small doses, the game does get tiresome down the stretch, seeming like absolute overkill by the time one reaches the last stage.

Guerrilla_War_-_NES_-_Stage_ClearWait a second…is that Cuba?

An interesting note: in the original Japanese version of this game, the playable characters were named “Fidel” and “Che,” and since the country being infiltrated bears a striking resemblance to Cuba, it’s not hard to figure out what this game was based on. Per Nintendo’s strict censorship requirements, most traces of the game’s original story were removed from the North America version of the game, but a title screen showing a recognizable portrait of Fidel Castro does inexplicably remain.

guerrilla-war-02Definitely NOT Fidel Castro…

Imperfect though it may be, I think the developers behind Guerrilla War honestly made the best out of the technology of the time that they could. This game is extremely playable and quite fun for what it is: a title that’s ideal to throw on and chill out with for a few minutes after a long day. It might be a little rough around the edges, but game publishers hadn’t quite figured out the capabilities of the NES in 1988. That this game functions exactly as it’s supposed to – and as one would expect it to – isn’t necessarily an altogether bad thing despite the fact that the game might seem somewhat blah in comparison to both later NES titles and (obviously) to games of today. Despite its gorgeous cover art, I probably wouldn’t call this one of the absolute best NES games, but it is a very solid B-title that’s well worth playing – especially if you can snag a friend to play along with.

Gameplay Video:

A Crude and Rude Unlicensed Zap Gun Abomination for the NES: CHILLER

CHILLER for the Nintendo Entertainment System

image-placeholder

See it at Amazon 

(0/5) bogus

Pros: Blood & Guts on the NES! A few clever moments.

Cons: Pointless and absurdly short; terrible response from zapper input; graphics and music are abysmal

One of the coolest yet most underutilized accessories for the Nintendo NES was the zap gun. Included with early versions of the console (in conjunction with the iconic Duck Hunt game), this device was shaped similarly to a futuristic pistol and allowed a player to “shoot” targets on the screen. As great as this prospect sounds, there were less than two dozen games that were compatible with the zapper by the time the NES has run its course, making the device seem (in much the same manner as the R.O.B.) more like a gimmick than an honest part of the NES gaming experience. Most of the light gun titles operated in essentially the same way: shoot all the stuff that pops up onscreen before time and/or life runs out. Despite the fact that it’s kind of hard to screw up this established formula, one title stands on its own as not only the worst zap gun game, but perhaps one of the most terrible NES games of any type: 1990’s Chiller.

be your own dirty harry
Nothing more satisfying that blasting ducks with the Zapper…er something like that.

Based on the controversial and potentially objectionable arcade cabinet of the same name, a game which promised – and delivered – some graphic violence and even brief nudity (note: the nudity was cut from the NES version), Chiller comes out of the horror movie universe and takes the premise of the player being a sort of ghost buster, blasting various ghosts and ghouls. Or at least that’s what the manual claims – in reality, one goes through the game not only shooting obvious monsters, but also people who have been strung up in various medieval torture devices. In case it wasn’t obvious given Nintendo’s history of censoring any title that didn’t fall in line with their strict policies with regard to content, Chiller was one of those unlicensed titles released without the Nintendo Seal of Approval, housed not in the traditional solid gray cartridge, but in a slightly misshapen one that’s a sickly-looking shade of light blue. Releasing this game without Nintendo’s approval did allow the developer (American Game Cartridges, who also released the similarly controversial Death Race, a crude predecessor to Carmageddon) to include as much outrageous content in the game as they wanted, but it also meant that the title as a whole plays like it was developed in about fifteen minutes in someone’s basement.

WTF
WTF?

Chiller includes all of four static screens during the entire course of its gameplay, starting off in a graveyard before moving into a haunted hallway and finally into two separate screens which are set in a dungeon. Each screen offers the player the chance to shoot various sprites that either pop up or roam across the screen before a time limit runs out – the graveyard, for instance, has a nun pushing a baby carriage, a hand tossing human skulls into a squirming pit of doom, and even a cheerleader who can be shot to pieces. On each screen, certain objects can be interacted with by targeting specific areas of the screen with the gun, leading to a few genuinely clever moments. In the hallway, a hole can be blasted into the floor so that a woman fleeing from a giant, ghostly face falls to her doom into it and a severed hand can be shot so that it falls to the ground only to be picked up and carried away by a dog. The torture chambers offer even more gruesome interactions: a man suspended above a river of blood can be fed to a crocodile swimming below by shooting the pulley that’s holding him up, while various people can be either blasted apart or tortured to death based on where the player aims the zapper. There’s nothing quite like reaching the final screen, only to be able to not only reduce two chained humans to piles of blood and viscera but also ensure that one unfortunate man’s skull is crushed in a vice.

double wtf
Double WTF???!?

Sound like fun? Well it is…to a certain extent. Unfortunately, a minimal amount of imagination or actual craft has gone into this title. Graphically speaking, Chiller is not only incredibly simplistic but also positively horrendous, appearing to have been one of the first titles made for the NES, not a title that was developed during the system’s heyday. It’s almost laughable to compare this to most anything else that was produced in 1990: games like the positively vibrant Ducktales, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, or frankly most any of the hundreds of other NES titles look even more stunning when placed alongside the drab, dull, and utterly lifeless Chiller. The game’s sound scheme (which consists of a single, heinously repetitive music track and a variety of crummy blip bloop sound effects) doesn’t improve the gaming experience at all and actually makes it all the more completely infuriating. Once the player reaches the end of the fourth screen, the game simply repeats an infinite number of times until the player no longer hits enough targets to continue, or he collects every one of a series of “talismans” that appear throughout the game. There’s no honest reward for collecting all the talismans since all one gets is a congratulatory screen of text. Woo! I sincerely doubt any player would honestly want to continue playing this game after a few minutes: there simply is no point.  Did I mention this game is two player?

look it those graphics!
Lookit those graphics!

Speaking from a technical standpoint, the game doesn’t impress either: each time the zap gun is fired, it initiates a black screen in which all potential targets momentarily show up (in a nut shell, this is how the gun detects where the player is targeting and is essential to the gun’s function). On most games which utilize the zapper, this screen appears for such a brief period of time that it’s all but imperceptible to the human eye. The corresponding screens in Chiller, on the other hand, definitely are visible, and since a player can see where all potential targets onscreen are, any sense of honest challenge in the game (at least relating to finding targets) is eliminated.

that makes me wanna play...
Well that certainly makes me wanna play the game….

Knowing that the zapper is incompatible with hi-def televisions, I broke out an old tube TV to test how well the zapper works on this game and was generally unimpressed with the game’s responsiveness. Honestly, this same problem exists on most zap gun games to some extent, but Chiller sets a new standard in how poorly a game responds to zapper input. I should point out that one can play this title using only the controller, but as is typically the case, the game becomes infinitely more difficult and nearly impossible at that point since a target reticule has to be manually (read: slowly) maneuvered around the screen. By the time a player using the controller has been lucky enough to hit a few targets, the time limit will almost certainly have been reached.

hallway
Every screen in the game is seen in this review. As Porky Pig would say…THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

I recall many times looking over the display box for Chiller at the local game rental shop and can now safely say that I am most glad that I did not choose to rent it at any point. (Considering that the cover art proudly proclaims that “Dead People Are Cool,” I’m unsure how I could possibly have resisted this temptation…) It boggles the mind that a game not only this short and unsubstantial but also this undeniably shoddy would even be sold at any point, and I can only imagine how disappointed I would have been had I wasted my hard-earned allowance on a complete P.o.S. like this. While some unlicensed NES titles were equally as good and maybe even better than their licensed counterparts, a truly reprehensible game like Chiller throws a bad light on these frequently quirky, very obscure titles as a whole (I can safely say that the infamous Bible Adventures – you know the game where you could throw Baby Moses into the drink – looks flawless in comparison). In the end, I would urge any vintage gamer – even those who, like myself, are fascinated with the unloved and neglected titles out there – to avoid Chiller at all costs; surely, there are much better ways to kill time than this.

guillotine