Super Racing



The prelude to Virtua Racing? Sure, why not.




GENRE: Racing

RELEASE DATE: 07/02/88 – (JP)

SUPPORTS: The Paddle Control


Super Racing should have been released in the States for three reasons (one of which is, admittedly, not that good of a reason):


1) This here’s some good racin’. The gameplay is an interesting blend of R.C. Pro Am and Sega’s early F-1 racer, World Grand Prix. Many people love the former and, judging by the comments section on my review, nobody’s played the latter. But who cares, the mash-up works.

2) The Master System’s previous racing game was OutRun, released a year prior to Super Racing. OutRun‘s great and all, but after a year, the genre needed a new title in America. This is my meh reason. One could argue that OutRun is all you need.

3) Every piece of text in Super Racing is in English. A bare-bones instruction manual and a poorly rendered wireframe cover: these are the only things Sega would have needed to make in order to bring Super Racing over to a small, appreciative audience. Since I can’t travel back in time to 1988 to encourage Sega of Japan to release the game, let’s all be thankful we live in the age of digital downloads.


Super Racing (J) [!]001

I really think Hamshank has a chance this year.


Super Racing is a top-down Formula 1 racing game, an arcade racer with some light sim elements. You pick from one of five “F-1” cars (the names have been changed from the real F-1 cars to protect Sega’s pocketbooks), all of which have slightly varying turn radii, speed, and inertial force. Do these stats make a difference when you play? Not really. Figure out the tracks, learn how to turn, pass the other racers, and you can dominate with a “Murch,” “McLallen,” or a “Fellali.”


Super Racing (J) [!]004

Taking curves at… 58km/h?! Grandmas don’t even drive that slow!


After you’ve chosen your car, you pick which circuit you want, the Hi-Speed or the Technical. Hi-Speed raises your inertial force, making it more difficult to turn on a dime, while the Technical Circuit supposedly gives your car greater turnability. You choose from either circuit before you begin a course. I’ve never seen either of these options in any racing game before, and as I played, I couldn’t distinguish a difference between them. Perhaps if you super raced for hours and mastered the depth, width and length of the turns, you’d deduce which circuits work best for which course. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Super Racing isn’t Gran Turismo, so you don’t have to overthink your selection.


Super Racing (J) [!]002

Nothing funny about this screenshot. The Master System could do way better graphically.


Finally, you choose your difficulty, which determines how many courses you’ll race. Beginner has five courses, Average has eight, and Expert will have you tackling an endurance run of fifteen. Needless to say, you’ll need to be a McLallen baller to handle the devious turns found in West Germany among other Expert-only tracks. Each course begins with a qualifier run and a qualifying time. These runs exist to help you get a feel for the course and determine what position you’ll begin in the real race. The closer your time is to the qualifying time when you finish, the higher of a position you’ll start in. And you’ll want to start as close to the front as possible. The computer racers can be passed with practice, but they always seem to know where to sit in front of you. If you’re anywhere below fifth place starting out, it will be hard to take more than a couple spaces in front of you, unless you’ve memorized the course and the computer’s movements. Thankfully, there is a Practice Mode where you can study any course at your leisure. Super Racing thought of everything.


Super Racing (J) [!]003

The purple tracks give off a Dimetapp stench if you crash on them.


I’d never played a top-down Formula 1 racing game (do any others exist?), so imagine my surprise when Super Racing controlled like a heavier R.C. Pro Am. I primarily used the “Lotas” car – average speed, average turns, etc. The weight and physics of the car were flawless. Twisting and weaving around the track was exceptionally fun. Shifting gears with button 1 instead of ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ on the D-pad felt a little funky at first, but I grew used to it. The tracks themselves have good designs, but their surroundings leave a lot to be desired and don’t take advantage of the Master System’s exceptional color palette. That being said, I don’t play racing games to have my eyes massaged. I play to experience great speed, great destruction, and in Super Racing‘s case, hilarious misspellings of Formula 1 race cars.



Posts created 353

12 thoughts on “Super Racing

    1. In my opinion, the “top-down” racers aged much better than their pseudo 3d counterparts. The only games of my SMS library, I really have trouble revisiting are “World Grand Prix” and “Super Monaco GP”. It’s the only genre in which (at least I feel) graphics can be truly outdated.

      I’ll stick to some top-down Micro Machines action on my Game Gear!

  1. So does it support the gamepad and the paddle controller? Or just the paddle controller. If the latter that’s probrably why they never released it. I can’t imagine they sold a lot of paddle controllers.

  2. Hi Dylan,
    Prepare for a completely trivial post … my apoligies upfront!

    I just checked the “Mobygames” entry for this game, to see whether I could find a shot of the “track selection screen”. F1 racers belong to the rare category of games, usually featuring Belgian locales (Yeah we might be small but we do have an F1 track. Damn, am I uncharacteristically patriotic for a Belgian! And I don’t even like cars!). I was able to find a pic and we are indeed on the roster. Strange coïncidence, “Belgique” was the only name not spelled in english.
    (The more Funny even, when you consider that french speakers are greatly outnumberd by dutch speakers (40-60). Were this game to have been released in “België”, some – admittedly very narrow-minded – “flemish” gamers might have been slightly upset)

    And some more triviality … “British” ? Obviously Great Britain would have been to long. But no one of the developers seemed to have figured out, that they could have just put UK there instead (and it would have been more correct)! Also … Monako?

    So far my feeble attempt at mocking a tint aspect of a game! … one question remains though, did the belgian track feature “belgian” looking backgrounds ?

    On another note: The wikipedia article I’m writing about “Danan: The Jungle Fighter” is almost finished. I still need to add a blog review section, but perhaps I’ll wait for that until your review is in. I would very much like you to read it !

    As I’m not a native english speaker, the prose will certainly be lacking. While most of the article is written in a neutral tone – as is expected from WikipediaI – I also included an “plot analysis” section (mostly based on personal research and referenced as such), Although this is the most interesting part of the article, I’m afraid it will eventualy have to go 🙁

    Since you are a seasoned writer, any hints on improving it would be welkome!

    1. Your Wikipedia article looks pretty good! Particularly for a non-native speaker. The one tip I will give you for this article and for any other English writing you could do: omit needless words. Focus only on the necessary. Every English writer is guilty of adding words that aren’t necessary from time to time. In the case of an article related to a video game, think about what information people would most like to know about this game – to the best of your ability, of course, since every person is different. Your plot analysis is interesting, but I think you’re right, it will probably have to go.

      “one question remains though, did the belgian track feature “belgian” looking backgrounds ?”

      Outside of color scheme, none of the tracks looked that different from the other.

  3. I’ve been away for a while. It’s great to see you guys are still doing this project and now have a podcast. I’ll have to give it a try!

  4. I think at this point in the 8-bit era top down racers had an edge over OutRun and Hang On because the type never promised the realistic feel like those games did and for which they could never deliver. I think this is why the reception of the home port of OutRun especially was a little luke warm. In the arcades it was still an experience thanks to the glitzy cabinet so you didn’t mind the clunky gameplay because it was still fun but at home you are just sat in front of your tv playing an even clunkier game. Top down racers on the other hand could still be a lot of fun and lack the disappointment of the promise of simulation. You are still racing a car and it seems to me that the altered names add a bit of character to it but again furthers it from being a sim.

    1. This is a really insightful comment, Tony. I will say that I liked Hang-On and OutRun, to an extent, on the Master System, but Super Racing succeeds just as well, if not more than those games – and for the precise reasons you mentioned.

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