Sunday, 22 January 2012

Virtua Racing Deluxe (32X)

Not the flashiest title screen, but it's got a voice shouting "Virtua Racing!", so I'm happy.

The original arcade version of wasn't the first polygon racing game, not by a long shot. But back in 1992 it was probably the most graphically advanced ever made, the test game for Sega's shiny new Model 1 arcade hardware. But this is just the 32x port, so I'm not expecting much.

Oh cool, I get to pick what type of car I'm driving in. The arcade version only lets you drive the Formula One car. I imagine that the prototype car will probably be as easy to steer as a wall-seeking bullet, so I'll go with the nice comfortable stock car.

The 32X is capable of texture mapping, but they've left their polygons clean for this port. I suppose they'd be struggling to come close to the detail and speed of the arcade version as it is without throwing textures all over everything too.

Five tracks really doesn't seem like a lot. Though to be fair the original version only had three.

I'll go to the Big Forest, because arcade racers tend to be bloody difficult and I'd like to at least have a chance of finishing the race.

Whoa, my boxy pit crew is awesome! I just hope they manage to get those wheels onto my car before the race starts.

I love bridges in racing games, I'm not sure why.

This is actually very slick. Not just the game, but the handling too, I'm struggling to keep the car on the track.

It's always nice to have some scenery to look at while I'm racing. The fairground reminds me of racing Suzuka Circuit in F355 Challenge or Forza 2.

I'm suddenly curious about how this looks in the arcade version.

Virtua Racing (Arcade)
Okay that actually is a bit better. Way more detail there. Still no textures though.

Virtua Racing (Genesis/Mega Drive)
The 32Xless Mega Drive also got a version of the game, which surprised me.

It looks a bit ass by comparison to the other versions, but I'm amazed they got this to run at all on the hardware. In fact they had to add a unique chip to the game cartridge called the Sega Virtua Processor (Sega's equivalent to Nintendo's Super FX chip) just to calculate the polygons.


There's no songs to listen to as I'm racing, but I get a short riff whenever I pass a checkpoint (and there are a lot of checkpoints). Which is cool, it makes it feel more arcady. Actually it makes it sound like a pinball game.

Oh cool, there's a full 3d cockpit view. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting them to have bothered putting this in.

I think I'll stick with this view actually. I always drive better when I'm inside the car.

Crap! Okay, I'll stick with third person cam! The driving is so slippy I can't keep control of the car from inside view.

One second left!

COME ON YOU BASTARD! The checkpoint line is right there!

I made it the checkpoint! But it didn't give me even close to enough extra time to make it to the next one.

When I do badly at racing games I tend to assume it's my own fault rather than a problem with the game. If the handling seems dodgy and I'm crashing into walls, well maybe I'm just a shitty driver. But checkpoints not giving me enough time... that's just bullshit, surely?

Well I screwed that up.


I decided to give it another try, and this time I'm trying to keep the car on the road. If I stray too far into the grass I'll spin out, which probably won't improve my chances of finishing this race.

Yes! Made it to the finish line, with time to spare. I'm only in third place, but I think I can live with a bronze trophy.


I guess third place isn't good enough then.

Hey, I can watch myself fail from helicopter cam. If I want to be depressed.

I did give the prototype car a shot in the end, and it turned out pretty much as I expected. I'm in 16th place, I've been lapped, and the right side of my car has been torn off.

Well it wasn't a bad game. I'm not exactly dying to start up another race though.


  1. Good review. If I'm not mistaken, this is supposed to be better than the subsequent Saturn version, but I can't judge for myself since I've never played that one. Funnily enough, there also seems to be a consensus that the 32X Virtua Fighter was better than the original Saturn Virtua Fighter (which was so bad Sega ended up giving Saturn owners a free copy of Virtua Fighter Remix).

    That special chip in the Genesis/MD version was so expensive that the game retailed for $100 in the U.S., or about twice as much as the typical Genny game. No surprise they never used that chip again.

  2. The Army Cadet camp I used to go to when I was a teenager had the arcade version of this in the cantina. It was pretty mind-blowing at the time!


Semi-Random Game Box