Looking Back at Little-Known & Forgotten Racing Games

Community Spotlight 533 March 17, 2017 by

With so many racing games beckoning for our attention in 2017, it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that there are some hidden gems outside the scope of the usual Assetto CorsaForza Motorsport and Gran Turismo games of the racing genre.

Today, we’re turning the clocks back to look at some older titles in our favorite genre, care of this suitably-named thread from our community.

Kicking things off is Enthusia Professional Racing, Konami’s one and only sim racing game. The game launched in what would be a crowded 2005, shortly after the North American release of Gran Turismo 4, and on the same day as Forza Motorsport. The video up top gives only a taste of what Enthusia had to offer: with 50 tracks and over 200 cars, it was just enough to compete with both.

Befitting a game developed to challenge Polyphony’s franchise, the car list is peppered with unusual additions. Sure, it included the Japanese staples of the time, but it also threw in utterly left-field choices like a long-wheelbase Mercedes S-Class and the Smart ForTwo. There was even a Chevy Astro van!

However, for a game as ambitious as this one, it was disappointing to discover the majority of the game’s locations were fictional: the only two real-world locations were Tsukuba and the almighty Nürburgring.

Despite this and other shortcomings the game continues to have a loyal following. As you’re sure to discover in videos all over the internet, the game itself has the presence of something that very well could have evolved into a worthwhile competitor, resulting in one more racing game to look forward to.

Ford Racing 3, the — no prizes for guessing — third entry in the Ford Racing series, also released in 2005. The Blue Oval racer featured 55 vehicles from the Ford stable including classic, concept, muscle, and modern cars and trucks. With over 20 tracks, varying from snowy mountain courses, narrow and twisting highways, to the standard oval race track, there would be enough to keep racers occupied. The bread and butter of the game lied within its single-player Ford competition and Ford challenges modes.

The former is a 14-series tournament with each round comprised of a series of races for a specific vehicle class, with competition ranging from easy to hard in terms of difficulty. The latter is a series of single events where players must meet certain conditions to complete each challenge and move on. Additionally, there was the Ford collection mode, which allowed players to design their own events by choosing the track, race type, conditions, and vehicles.

While not referenced in the thread itself, Blur deserves an honorable mention. The final racing game from developer Bizarre Creations, Blur essentially took the winning formula of Mario Kart and applied it to real-world driving machines.

A radical departure from the Project Gotham Racing series, Blur allowed players to gather a series of power-ups to use at their discretion and secure a top finishing position, or to get back at their friends (or the AI). Carrying Bizarre’s typical racing game charm, the vehicles all felt unique while remaining true to the game’s arcade-style gameplay.

There are a dozen more games in John’s thread, including some we’ve never heard of or come across before. What are you waiting for? Stop by the thread and have or look or perhaps even share your own!

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