Street Racer. Vivid Image (1994) Super Nintendo

I am going to shout this. THIS GAME IS SO 90s YOU GET POGS WITH THE GAME.

Now, I am going to whisper these three things very quietly, 1) I never knew there was a space between Ubi and Soft 2) Super Mario Kart on the SNES is borderline unplayable trash 3) I thought this game was a Street Fighter spin-off.

I’m not too proud to admit to two of those things, but I felt I needed to be honest with you all and since I clearly know nothing about this game, here we go.

Gameplay

Street Racer is a Kart Racing game, so expect short racing tracks with the usual twist of some form of combat.

Street Racer’s combat is pretty much Road Rash, with you whomping with the L and R buttons on the SNES pad to punch either side of your car. You take and receive damage, and taking too much will end your race. However, health is picked up by driving over the spanner icons on the track, meaning you don’t limp around the track like in Destruction Derby after the first corner. It also means you are encouraged to engage in some vehicular combat.

Grab the yellow spanners to refill your health.

In the Championship modes, points are awarded for landing the most punches in a race, a Star Bonus for collecting the most stars, Fastest Lap, and Racing position. It means that *IF* there is a “Bowser” dominating the racing you can still catch up by getting points other ways, but it does mean on harder difficulties you need to be racing and whomping to win overall. It means you have a motivation to play easier difficulties so that you learn the game’s mechanics rather than having to grind a cup to just to get the medal.

However, with 6 races in a championship you can have won it outright with 2-3 races of the season left as on my first attempt at the game I got 72 points, 2nd place was on 40 meaning I had won it with 2 races to go but had to carry.

To balance this it means on “Bowser’s Castle” you can come last and not blow your season. So thankfully on harder difficulties you can still make errors and not be overly punished. However if you finish lower than 5th you will lose a life or Gameover, which is annoying.

I don’t especially like these levels.

Races?

With each race lasting around 70 seconds, racetracks never out stay their welcome and you’re far less inclined to find some tracks annoying, though I suck on the Castle tracks. And with 20 tracks named and themed after it’s 8 characters, it means some tracks will be called Surf 3 (after the character named Surf) or Sumo San 2 and be based on the character they’re named after. I’ll give you chuffty points for guessing where Surf’s level is set.

It means that while tracks will look familiar after a few goes on season mode, there will be enough variety in the track listings on each playthrough to make it different enough, and again, ensure that the tracks remain interesting.

Blue squares give you speed boosts you can save.

Racers?

Each racer is a little different, and rather than having 3 attributes that define their ability there is 5, which affect; speed, acceleration, attack power, defence, and Handling. It means that there is realistically a character for everyone meaning not everybody wants to be “Toad”…

As for the characters themselves? They are all so 90s it hurts, there is a fat E-Honda sumo wrestler (Sumo San), a beach babe (Surf), Helmut a German fighter pilot, Hodja a Turkish dude with a flying carpet, Frank Instein who I think you can all guess whom he is modeled on, Suzulu an African native, Raphael a sex-pesting Italian, and Biff a big fat idiot who is American. You also unlock a Rabbit if and when you beat the Platinum difficulty season.

I wonder why Surf is my favourite character…

Other Modes

Ignoring the obvious ones such as head to head, Street Racer allows for a 4 way more using the Super Nintendo multitap. But it is the other modes you’ll most likely experience, as nobody bought a SNES Multitap!

Rumble is what is sounds like… A rumble! Here you have “battlemode” but rather than having 3 lives you all get a health bar and it is simply last racer standing wins. These modes are great fun in multiplayer, but are surprisingly tough against the AI.

Soccer is basically an early prototype for Rocket League. It would have been amazing in 1994, but nowadays it is pretty shitty. The games take place on a half sized football (soccer) pitch and all 8 racers go at it in a free for all game. I would have liked to see two teams on a full sized pitch and I think the mode would have worked much better. But as it is, this is easily my least favourite mode. You also get indoor, outdoor and Ice pitches for the soccer game and the differences are barely worth mentioning.

Modes, modes and more modes

Conclusion

This all brings us onto the tricky business of the scores. So…

Obviously Street Racer isn’t as good as Diddy Kong Racing as it lacks the depth, and it lacks some of the good  RPG elements introduced in Rock ‘N Roll Racing. However, Street Racer is a great game, play it with a buddy or track down the rocking horse shit that is a SNES Multitap and give Street Racer a whirl in 4 player mode.

It does look better than Mario Kart, the tracks are more varied, the graphics are more detailed, and half of the characters aren’t a pile of wank.

Even in single player you’ll have a good time, and there is a lot more depth to Street Racer than the moustachiod plumbers first few attempts.

Pros: character attributes make a difference, and means you’ll have favourite racers per race type. The music is pretty cool

Cons: The music drags after a while, the football mode sucks. Selecting a character is S L O W…

82%

Back in the Day:

The large selection of tracks was considered remarkable for the time and received particular praise, so too the ability to replay your races from different angles. Street Racer would go on to score 80%+ for the Super Nintendo.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Street Racer. Vivid Image (1994) Super Nintendo

  1. You got Pogs with this game?! Haha, I don’t know how I missed out on this one when I was a kid. I had a ton of those things, until my mom secretly got rid of them all one day when I wasn’t home!

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