Race Drivin’ – Game Boy
Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Platform: Nintendo Game Boy
Developer: Argonaut Games
Release Date (NA): 1992/1993
Nerd Rating: 2 out of 10
One might have fond memories of riding in the back of the minivan playing the ever-living daylights out of their Game Boy. One might remember jumping from platform to platform with Mario in Super Mario Land. Others might remember stealing a shovel from the shop and being called a THIEF in The Legend of Zelda, Link’s Awakening. I remember these things because they were the highlight of my drive and made traveling not so boring. But I wasn’t always blessed with such awe-inspiring creations all the time. There was a particular game I had growing up and I remember thinking it was amazing! That game was Race Drivin’. The cover-art sets the “coolness” of this game and makes kids go “HOLY CRAP! I WANT THAT!”
There’s a little jagged box popping out on the front of the cover that reads “3D SENSATION!”… The idea of any video game being “3D” in the early ’90s was all anyone needed to generate even the smallest of sales quantity. You could put a corn flake inside of any empty box and write “REAL 3D CORN FLAKE!” and it would sell more copies than Cybermorph. The fact that advertising your game as “3D” was all it took to get a kid’s interest is sad, but my hat is off to the marketing directors because they found a way to get this crappy game in my hands and I’m pretty upset about it.
Race Drivin’ is a sorry excuse for anything that is “fun”… It’s a pile of elephant dump surrounded by fresh baby poop. First off, the music and sound is atrocious. Granted, the Game Boy was never really known for having stellar sound effects or John Williams-type music. But many Game Boy game developers put in some great effort and found a way to make magic out of the limited technology available (such as Zelda, Donkey Kong Land 2, Wario Land, and more). Secondly, the animation is simply pitiful as they attempt to call this game 3D. The animation is painfully plain and boring with little to no variety in scenery except for the occasional barn, road sign, or some other indeterminable object.
In defense of the developers, they were attempting an impossible task (and not in their defense, they shouldn’t have tried). The technical hardware provided by Nintendo was extremely limited, albeit moderately powerful considering the time period in which it was built. The game does offer a few cool tools such as a speedometer, manual transmission (which is simply operated with the D-pad by pressing the up button to shift up and down button to shift down), some really cool track features such as loops, ramps, etc, and an RPM meter to help you know when to shift gears (although the sound of your motor helps more than reading the RPMs in this game). The stunt track is by far the best available option in the game.
There are 2 cars to choose from: Speedster and Roadster. But I noticed no difference in abilities between the two. There are 3 game modes to choose from: Autocross, Stunt, and Super Stunt. Trying to play this game in manual mode is practically impossible because you will NEVER have enough time to downshift by the time you see the curve up ahead. Not only is it difficult to navigate a simple 45 degree turn, in no small part because of the plain and simple graphics and lack of depth, but they force you to reach a checkpoint before time runs up or it’s game over! The other race cars are literally polygonal blocks.
Regardless of the track or car you choose, you will be wildly dissatisfied with the overall experience of Race Drivin’. The graphics are piss-poor, the sound effects are outright annoying, the menu page music is simple, boring, and running on a short loop, and the controls are clunky and difficult. When one puts Race Drivin‘ into their Game Boy and hits the power button, they will soon be drivin’ off the cliff. After a mere 10 minutes of this game, you will find yourself falling asleep at the wheel. Perhaps a little alcohol would make this game slightly more fun, but the last thing you want to do is get pulled over by a giant untextured polygon.
With little to no innovation or depth, hardly any playability, and certainly no quality graphics or sound, Race Drivin’ feels more like being stuck in traffic. It was fun when I was a kid but not at all fun in this day and age. And with new technology, will never be fun again. Save your money. Save your time. Run away, don’t drive. Race Drivin’ crashes and burns in this one.
Nerd Rating: 2 out of 10
Submitted by NerdBerry
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