I believe that rock and roll lives in all things. Thusly, the title of this game is accurate. Whether or not it is apt is yet to be seen.
When, after stuffing too many bags of coke up my anus, I see, out of the corner of my eye, a startling looking lady with teeth perhaps the size of shot glasses and breasts the size of really big breasts, I feel that I have become one with the gods of rock and roll. And after every stage dive I do, and every concert hall I tear apart with my blazing awesome shit, I know that, somewhere, there is a baby being born who is loving all that shit. And the baby might be mine. I love women, but contraception turns me off. It’s not that it’s not rock and roll, I just can’t stand the idea of anything in between me and the one groupie who didn’t pass out at the after party. So, maybe what I’m trying to say is, if God exists, he’s probably my kid. Cause I’m everyone’s father. I’m rock and roll incarnate.
When I get in my crazy car from the future and sail away into the dream of nothingness that is the average American lifestyle, I sinfully imagine that my dreamgirl, Paprika, is there with me. And when I’m racing around corners like I’m all high and shit, I think of the people manning the drones on my home planet, and I think of the people getting shot by those drones, and I probably don’t give a shit.
So, when I say that I give my stamp of approval to a game with a title like ROCK N ROLL RACING, it means so much more than love. It means more than sex. It means more than Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and all those other religions combined. It means that this game is truly rock and roll.
So, when you’re at home with your family and with your money and with your sip-of-wine at dinner, think of how awesome this game is, and just be like “Okay!” Cuz, man, things don’t get much better than listening to Highway Star pumping through in 16-bit Stereo and racing around a track suspended above lava, with some kind of laser gun on your truck. That’s messed up.
G is for gameplay.
G is for good.
G is for graphically competent.
G is for going to actually keep playing this.
G is for gambling on a new, innovative idea.
G is for greativity (which is creativity, spelled more creatively)
G is for gut – the place where you feel it when something’s awesome.
G is for gushing with praise.
G is for “golly, who’d’ve thought this’d be fun?”
G is for “get more Mode 7 up in my face! I can’t get enough!”
G is for G-Spot, something that provides better orgasms (or so says the cover of Cosmo I saw the other day)
G is for “Grandma managed to find a game worth having, what a wonderful Christmas!”
You’ve probably figured out the punchline: this game has NO G. Race Drivin’. They couldn’t even bother to finish the name of the game before pinching this code-loaf.
I’m starting to wonder what’s left to say about racing games on the Super Nintendo. Most titles you encounter tend to follow the same formula set by Pole Position back in the early 1980’s, with either a behind-the-car or first-person perspective and pseudo-3D graphics for the track. Some of these tried to inject a bit more depth into the gameplay by introducing elements such as turbo pads (boosts speed), brake and suspension wear (boosts realism), or banana peels (boosts energy and cardiovascular health, not to mention clichéd physical comedy antics).
But therein lies what seems to be the root of my issue with most of these racing games. There just doesn’t seem to be all that much variety. Find the accelerate button, maybe the brake button (not the buttons to change gears, though, as I can do a fine enough job of losing with an automatic transmission), and go. I mean, I did find this game somewhat entertaining. I also found Pole Position entertaining as well back in the day. There’s not a huge difference between the two here. Sure, Newman/Haas IndyCar looks nicer with its 16-bit era graphics. That would be just mean to compare the graphics of Pole Position to it. On the other hand, your car doesn’t immediately explode on impact in a giant ball of fire and assorted parts in this game like it does with Pole Position. Points lost for that mistake, Newman/Haas.
This game also proudly features racing driver Nigel Mansell. I don’t know who he is, but I can’t deny the allure of his majestic mustache. Points regained.
I couldn’t help but wonder though how much different this game would be if it was instead Newman/Haas IndyCar featuring Clint Mansell, with the soundtrack replaced by old Pop Will Eat Itself tunes. Alright, the transition to SNES music would have most likely been a bit painful. Either way, a racing game with “Not Now James, We’re Busy…” (which covers James Brown’s 1988 arrest after a high-speed car chase) playing in the background would have been far more entertaining and appropriate.
Wait a sec…a racing game with a drug-addled James Brown at the wheel as well? Solid fucking gold.
Ever since scientist and inventor Rick Moranis proved people-shrinking technology to be a disquieting possibility in the documentary Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, I’ve had nightmares about it happening to me. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat (as opposed to my usual hot sweat) screaming that the bed is a matchbox stuffed full of facial tissue. So far this has never been the case, but I put to you that it’s only a matter of time. I consider playing Micro Machines to be training for that fateful day, when I suddenly find myself forced into a deadly race on someone’s kitchen table.
To ensure that the training reflected reality as closely as possible, I selected the leather-clad cool dude character Spider (pictured above) as my driver and the hapless simp Walter (also pictured above, the simp) as my opponent. The reality is that I’m completely awesome and that everyone else around me is more or less Walter. Worthless, useless, ginger Walter. I do have to admit that Walter’s glee in being selected to do anything save sit on his duff and slowly die out his butt was quite amusing, but his glee would soon be crushed as he lost race after race. After race. After race. In fact, all I had to do was outpace Walter to the edge of the screen, and a black ball would fly out and batter around my car for a while before I got a “BONUS” and drew one step closer to victory. Was Walter even cognizant of what was happening? Probably not.
Micro Machines is kind of entertaining: the character designs make me laugh; the racing part of the game, however, leaves much to be desired, which is a problem in a racing game. The tracks (bathtub, garden, tables & desks) and vehicles (cars, boats, helicopters) are varied, true, but the constant resetting of the vehicles when you outpace your opponent to the screen edge quickly became tiresome. The control isn’t so hot, and you’ll often find yourself getting inescapably stuck on obstacles. The overhead perspective makes it tricky to navigate around the levels even with helpful track lines laid down in front of you. Some of them look like lines of cocaine, but I think they’re supposed to be chalk. You really can’t snort chalk like cocaine.
Overall, I wouldn’t bother with Micro Machines except for the character selection screen, since that’s by far the best part. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to return to crafting tiny weapons and armour.
So, do you like IndyCar racing? Do you like looking at Michael Andretti’s face? Do you like looking at Michael Andretti’s name? Not just a little, I mean a lot…
Well, then this game’s for you!
Now keep your distance, you sick bastard…
Excessive display of Señor Andretti’s crude, palletized visage aside, Michael Andretti’s Indy Car Challenge presents us with a fairly bland arcade racing experience. The main championship game mode is supplemented by your typical practice race option, as well as a versus mode in case you have any friends who also share an unhealthy fetish for Michael Andretti. That’s about it. Sure, you can use a password to continue an existing championship game, but who in their right mind that isn’t actively defending the Confederate flag as “heritage not hate” whilst proudly displaying it above the gun rack in their beat-up dually truck would want to continue after playing once?
Controls are at least fairly responsive, helping make the game easy to pick up while at the same time remaining challenging/awkward enough that you’re probably not going to succeed in every race on the first try. The game also has the distinction of providing a “reverse” button, because how many times have you played a racing game and wished you could drive in reverse? Well, in all honesty, I admit that I have. Then again, I’m an asshole, so you can’t expect much less now.
Graphically, this game isn’t going to win any beauty pageants. All cars are palette swaps of the same rudimentary set of illustrations, and the Mode-7 tracks look like…well…Mode-7 tracks. Seriously, you can’t expect much else from the Super Nintendo’s Mode-7 effects. They almost make the platform a breeding ground for boring, ugly racing games.
Unless you absolutely love Michael Andretti and want to have, like, ten million of his babies, you should save your allowance money for something else.
I’ve never been much of a fan of racing games, primarily because they’re never what they purport to be: a simulation of racing. They never recreate the fun and excitement of racing in part because pushing buttons on a controller can’t reproduce the driving environment. No amount of peripherals, steering wheels, pedals, etc. can do it either. I’ve even seen a system that would blow air on you to simulate speed. Still no immersion. I should clarify that I do, however, love Mario Kart, in its various incarnations. That’s primarily because it purports to be FUN, not a racing game. And it is.
GP-1 falls into the category of games that are neither an accurate reproduction of the racing experience, nor fun.
You can pick your bike and your mechanic. Yay! You can pick a race. You can look at the rear of your fellow racers.
And then the race starts, and you never see them again, unless they lap you. The only company you get is the washed out green colours along the way, and the annoyingly repetitive vroom of your motor. Vroom, vroom! Look at me!
Ironically, this game writes its own review. If only the developers had taken their own feedback, perhaps we could have been spared and this game would have never been made.
Verdict: GP-1 is a painfully ordinary and boring racing game. Go play Mario Kart, or something worth two tugs of a rabid armadillo’s tail instead of wasting your time.