It’s a harsh truth in the current gaming industry that, despite the genre’s popularity, there are more bad racing games nowadays than there are good ones. Unfortunately, Tomy’s Speed Racer game, a title that has been released for two years in Japan now joins the multitude of lackluster racing games that make their way onto store shelves.
No matter what era you’re from, Super Speed Racer, based on the 1960s cartoon series of the same name, has you playing as a star driver who rides in an extremely gimmicky race car called the Mach 5. All of the signature Super Speed Racer cartoon characteristics are present and accounted for in this game, letting fans of the show momentarily give a weak grin or even a nod to the game’s familiarity.
But since nostalgia alone will never be enough to make a game successful, let’s just cut to the chase. Most of the trick moves in this game have a special function – the autojack lets you jump over obstacles to access hidden paths, the saw wheels (large circular blades that comes out the front of the car) cuts down any trees that are in the way, and so on. Unfortunately, because it’s so difficult to execute these maneuvers (imagine having to scroll back and forth between a handful of options all while trying to pay attention to the road), it comes off as something that was thrown in last minute and acts more like a mild diversion than a cool feature.
And due to those few tricks essentially being the backbone of the game, it would seem that instead of trying to develop it to its fullest potential, the developers took this somewhat cool game mechanic and put it into a pre-established mold that’s been found in half a dozen other racing games. In fact, when you look at it closely, Speed Racer is really nothing more than a poor man’s version of Ridge Racer, albeit one that has a few extra trademarked gizmos thrown in as an attempt to break up the game’s monotony.
At its core, all this game really does is trying to imitate what the old Ridge Racer was but fails miserably at doing so. Even with the extra tricks that the Mach 5 car can do (grip tires, saw blades, night vision, super jump, etc…), there’s no denying that the tricks themselves are poorly implemented and fail to make the game feel entertaining or even challenging for that matter.
Super Speed Racer’s age shows in the fact that it’s missing nearly every cool new feature that were added to racing games over these last two years, such as having a larger number of tracks (this game has three, if you count the alternate paths diverging off the single main course), more cars/racers (there are only three other unlockable racers here, including Racer X), varying weather conditions and just about anything else that you can possibly think of.
In short, it’s incredibly dated, so unless you have a desire to go through the rib cage of a dinosaur skeleton for whatever reason, you could pick any racing game other than this one and it would be more fun to play.