special >> 25 greatest >> racing games
Welcome to BlueStorm's "25 Greatest" series, which kicks off with the 25 Greatest
Racing games made. Here, we'll countdown what is the 25 greatest racing games
according to BlueStorm. You may ask, "why not just do this in the Top 11 section?"
Well, because sometimes it's hard to just pick 11 games, so we're upping the ante
to 25 games. Plus, this is a whole new series devoted to the greatest things the
world of gaming has to offer, and you'll soon see the difference between the Top 11
lists and the 25 Greatest lists.
There will be one nagging problem, though, or this paticular list. As I'm writing this
countdown, there are three big racing games that are soon to be released: Forza Motorsport,
Midnight Club III, and Enthusia Professional Racing. So, if and when these games are
released, they may be fitted onto this list some point in the future (maybe a "part 2" of sorts).
That just seems to be the problem with writing these types of lists, is the timing. Oh well,
fixes can be made.
Anyway, enjoy the feature.
|Test Drive: LeMans
System: Dreamcast , Publisher: Infogrames, Year Released: 2000
The number 25 game on the list is the Dreamcast version of Test Drive: LeMans. Maybe
some of you out there have heard of this game, maybe you forgot about it, or perhaps
this is the first time you've heard of it. Both the PS1 and DC versions of Test Drive:
LeMans were released to little fanfare, which wouldn't be so suprising if we were
talking about the PS1 version, which was an average racing title. But the Dreamcast
version turned out to be one of the best looking racing games on the system, and
even better than some of the first-year racers of the PS2 (even today, this game
features some sharper textures than the ones found in a great deal of PS2 titles).
The gameplay was also readily accessable to novices or expert racers alike. The real
downside is that the game wasn't terribly long or big, as it could only do so much with
8 or 9 courses. Still, even now, TDLM is a great racing game, and if you own a
Dreamcast (still), you may want to hunt this game down if you don't already have it.
|Need For Speed: High Stakes
System: PS1 , Publisher: EA Games, Year Released: 1999
Although many have said that the Hot Pursuit games of the NFS series are the
best ones pre-Underground, I would tend to disagree with that statement. I preffered
the fourth entry in the Need For Speed line, which had the title of High Stakes.
The gameplay changed rather dramatically here compared to the games before it. Yes, you
still drive expensive, exotic cars. But now you could earn money to buy new cars and
upgrades. In the High Stakes mode, you can play against another player (who also
has a NFS:HS file on a seperate memory card) to win the other player's car. While
I wish that the framerate was a lot smoother and higher, this was still a fine entry
in the NFS franchise.
System: Arcade - Dreamcast - N64 , Publisher: Midway, Year Released: 1999-2000
Hydro Thunder may be one of the simpler racing titles on the list (after all, it's
basically made up of single races), but it's still pretty damn fun. It's straight-forward
racing from one point to another, beating the timer and trying to get the highest
position possible (which is no easy task). Probably one of the last great racing games
Midway released in arcades before the company decided to call it quits on the
arcade business (I'm not counting Rush 2049, because it was published by Atari Games
in arcades and by Midway on home consoles). The Dreamcast version of the game is the
most accurate arcade-to-home port of the title, with the N64 version coming second (there
was also a PS1 version, but it's probably not worth mentioning since it was the
most inferrior version). Hydro Thunder will return to consoles again in Midway
Arcade Treasures 3, due on all platforms in late 2005.
|Gran Turismo 2
System: PS1 , Publisher: Sony Computer Ent., Year Released: 1999
You may think it's odd to see GT2 so far down on the list (although for a
game just to make it on the list should be honor enough), mind you that all 4 Gran Turismo
titles made the list. This one ranks lowest due to the fact that it's the buggiest
version of Gran Turismo to be released. If you bought one of the original releases
of GT2, you may have found a nasty bug that erases your game if you enter the
machine tests. Sony did later recall the game, and a fix was made in future versions. Aside
from the erasing glitches, there were many spelling errors in car descriptions and even
car names (the Suzuki Cappuccino for one, was spelled "Capcino"), and many of the
car restritions were not enforced (in the special car events, you basically drive any
car you want, as long as it met the HP requirement). But not all was bad. GT2 boasted
over 500 cars, had over 20 courses, introduced the rally mode and was so big, that
the game spanned across two discs, one for the simulation mode and one for the
arcade mode. While it wasn't totally the "best" GT game made, it's still one of the
best racing games made.
|Wave Race: Blue Storm
System: Gamecube , Publisher: Nintendo, Year Released: 2001
No, this game isn't on here because this site shares a similar name, there
is good enough reason to include this game. Wave Race : Blue Storm served as one
of the launch titles for the Nintendo Gamecube system back in 2001, and while
it didn't feel like much of a sequel, it was one hell of an upgrade. Something
that was instantly noticeable was how much cleaner and sharper the graphics looked
compared to Wave Race 64 (which at the time, was technically stellar). The character
models lookd so much smoother rather than the rough angular models used in the
N64 classic. Everything about it did make it seem like there was a noticable
difference between the new generation of games and the last generation of games.
But the gameplay stayed the same. The championship mode had a very similar set-up and
the stunt mode had a very similar set-up. While this wasn't such a bad thing, it
would have been nice to see a few more innovations. The only things new to Wave Race
Blue Storm was the weather effects and the boost meter, and some new characters. Other
than that, it was Wave Race 64 in a prettier package. Again, was it like this was a
|Need For Speed Underground
System: PS2 - Gamecube - Xbox , Publisher: EA Games, Year Released: 2003
Up until Need For Speed Underground, street racing games seemed to be far and between.
Probably the best known street racing title pre-NFSU was the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series
that appeared on the Dreamcast and later on PS2. The problem with the TXR games was that it
lacked licensed cars. It really wasn't until the growing popularity of street racing in
the last couple of years that a game company would take notice of this tuner-car culture.
That was, until Need For Speed Underground came out in 2003. NFSU, at the time, was
considered to be a very flashy-looking game with a load of new special effects
that really hasn't been seen in other games. But then as time passed by, other companies
were making their street-racing titles in the same style as NFSU, and other games started using
the same soft-lighting/bloom lighting techniques EA used in NFSU, and the technique just
became less and less impressive, and more generic, since almost EVERYONE was doing it
(even EA in games like Def Jam: Fight For NY, GoldenEye Rogue Agent and NFSU2). But
despite the trend the game caused, the game is still a good racer (although NFSU 2 added a lot
more than what was offered here). It offered some intense racing action (especially when
you unlocked the nitrous parts), and something that was far different from the classic
NFS design. Too bad that there are not that many courses to race on, and that the gameplay
seemed to become repetitous past the halfway mark. But even so, this remains as one
of the more influential racers in recent times.
|Ridge Racer V
System: PS2 , Publisher: Namco, Year Released: 2000
It seems like with every new console from Sony, Namco is right there at launch with a
Ridge Racer title. The PS1 had the original Ridge Racer, the PS2 had Ridge Racer V, and
the recent PSP has Ridge Racer (which is a newer RR title using courses from past games).
Ridge Racer V didn't really recieve that much fanfare when it hit the PS2 in October 2000,
even though it was basically the only racing game available at launch (Midnight Club might have
been there at launch, but I think it came a month or two afterwards). Although this was
a new Ridge Racer title for a new system, the game design was pretty much the same as past
RR titles (although ignoring R4). Hell, even some of the courses were the same. But it
still stood as a fun and challenging arcade racing game, and included enough features
to make your time worthwhile. While you won't get the same amount of replay value as
say, GT3, the arcade nature of the game makes it easy to just pick up and play every so often.
If you haven't given RRV a look (and I'm sure there's many of you who haven't, as the game
only moved about 200,000 units in it's 5 years), go down to a used game store and give it
a try. On Gamestop, it's one of the cheaper used PS2 games available, ranging from $5-7.
That's cheaper than a rental.
|Stunt Race FX
System: Super NES , Publisher: Nintendo, Year Released: 1994
I'm not sure how many of you remember this game (especially if you're in your
teens and reading this article), as it's nearly 11 years old, but it's one of the
earliest 3-D racing games to appear on a home console (I think Virtua Racing hit the
Genesis in 1993). Sure, the game may not look like much today with it's flat-shaded
and primitive polygons, but back in 1994 it was something truly special. Even against
today's games, though, there's still something to Stunt Race FX. It was a simple, yet
challenging racing game, and included a pretty tough stunt-track mode where you
needed to collect stars in a given amount of time. The vehicles looked goofy as
hell, as they for some reason had to have eyes like they were cartoons, but at least
the game was fun, and was the only other actual 3-D Super FX title aside from StarFox
that was fun.
|Project Gotham Racing
System: Xbox , Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Year Released: 2001
Project Gotham Racing served as one of the launch titles for the Xbox back in
November 2001, and like Ridge Racer V for the PS2, it was one of the only racing games
available at launch. PGR is actually an enhanced port of Metroplois Street Racer, a
racing game that appeared on the Dreamcast in 2000, which was a game based upon
the fact that how you drive is just as important as to how fast you drive. PGR kept
every course from MSR (San Francisco, London and Tokyo), and threw in New York for
some extra courses. The car lineup also changed from the numerous sedans and sport coupes,
to sport coupes, roadsters and supercars. The kudos system was also tightened up
a little more from MSR. The Gotham series is a much needed franchise in the current
gaming market, as it provides a different type of racing than what you would usually find in other
racing games. The style system is far from a gimmick, it's what makes the game.
|Metropolis Street Racer
System: Dreamcast , Publisher: SEGA, Year Released: 2000
Now you're probably wondering why MSR ranks one position higher than PGR. As
I said for PGR, that game was basically just an enhanced port of this game. MSR
introduced the type of racing where style is just as important as speed, and actually
influenced games such as Need For Speed Underground where scoring is concerned. MSR
also did something else that PGR didn't, have races take place during the actual time
of day. Metropolis Street Racer actually used the Dreamcast's internal clock for
something useful. Depending on what the time was in your system, the race could take place
at morning, noon or night. Of course, it also depends on what timeline you're playing from
(at least one of the courses will be at night, because of the international timeline). It
was something different and something unique that I had not seen offered in racing games
before. Also something unique was the graphical style. The cities had a photo-realistic
look to them, which made this game look much more realistic than any other game on the
market. Sure, the builidngs were low on polygons, but the effect the photo-realistic textures
had made up for that. For the time, it was one of the most incredible racing games
I had ever seen. That was until Project Gotham Racing 2 (also by Bizarre Creations). MSR
is one game that can be seen as a fairly big acheivement in this current generation of
Come back again for games 15-6!