This Speed Racer-licensed racing game is based on the American remake of 1960s classic Japanese anime TV series. All the main characters are presented in the game: Speed Racer, his big brother Racer X, his father Pops, his mother, his girlfriend Trixie, and his little brother Spritle along with the pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim.
In the game you are Speed Racer who challenges Racer X on the 7 campaign tracks full of obstacles, road gaps, and other racers who want to take your car (Mach 5) off the road. Mach 5 has many features under the hood, which can be activated with the buttons from 'A' to 'G' (for instance, to make a big jump you press 'A', or to survive under water you press 'D'). After winning the race you'll progress in the game to another episode, collecting money as bonus.
Two players can simultaneously take on each other on the same computer or online via modem. There are different episodes in Modem Play.
"The Mach-5 is the most complex and ingenious car ever built, a tribute to my father's imagination, genius, and technical skill!" -- Speed Racer
Japan's Mach GoGoGo [retitled Speed Racer outside Japan] anime gained cultish popularity in the 1960s. We recall nostalgically Speed Racer's fight against a bizarre rogues' gallery of villains--villains with creepy names like Ace Deucey, Mr. Fixer, and Tongue Blaggard. Each episode brought complex family dynamics; Dadaist, oneiric race tracks; comedy and tragedy; and virtuousness. Speed Racer's courage was as important as his Mach-5 in attaining victory. Given the anime's popularity, an official Speed Racer computer game seems bound for success.
Unfortunately, Accolade botched the blockbuster license so badly with The Challenge of Racer X that it is not surprising the game quickly disappeared from store shelves. For starters, Speed Racer's car is ridiculously easy to drive-- there is no friction, no inertia that will convince you that you're driving a car and not a feather. The tracks are boring, and there is little variation to spice up the races. The only thing that saves the game from a Real Dog award is the inclusion of Mach-5's capabilities that anime fans will be familiar with: there's "autojack," for jumping; "belt tires," for traction; "chopper," for cutting [when selected, you see twin rotary saws extend from the Mach-5's front], and more. These are fun to try out, but after a while you will discover that they add little to the game except as a diversion to gameplay. Overall, a lackluster racing game that only die-hard fans of the anime will likely enjoy. Strip away the license, and there is little content underneath the silver chrome.
People who downloaded Speed Racer: The Challenge of Racer X have also downloaded:
Road Rash, Street Racer, Skunny Kart, Nascar Racing, Nascar Racing 2, Sport of Kings (a.k.a. Omni-play Horse Racing), World Circuit (a.k.a. Formula One Grand Prix), Need for Speed, The: Special Edition
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