Some fellow MobyGamers are steadily whittling away at my list of missing NES games. I thought tonight would be a good night to attack a few more NES titles that looked interesting before they all get snatched up for entry. And I thought I had already purged the NES list of all racing titles. But I found 2 more to play tonight, one that even has “race” in the title.
That race-named title is Race America. The most notable aspect of this game is the opponents– a colorful gallery of 8 brazen stereotypes, such as Mike Linguini here:
I suspect Google will soon pick that up as its top image search for “italian stereotype”. Other competitors include Ito Speedo, Pierce Sedan, and Hans Von Brakemann.
Other interesting aspects of this racer include its diversity of perspectives and its control scheme. Depending on the phase of the race, the action might be third-person, side-scrolling, or top-down. You are either allotted 1/2 or 1/4 of the screen depending on whether you are in the lead. And the screen shift can be quite disorienting when you gain or lose that lead.
The control system took a little figuring out. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to move. Then I managed to move but ever so slowly. It was like a race car stuck in 1st — only literally! Eventually, I reasoned out how the control system works (for anyone scouring the internet for help on this forgotten title): Up and down on the control pad upshift and downshift, respectively. However, these only work if you are not pressing the gas button (A).
Oh, and there is more than one way to lose, and the game spells out your failures in a very public manner. This is me losing because I ran out of gas:
The second game tonight was Stunt Kids. I don’t have much to say about this one except that I suspect it’s an Excitebike clone. I can’t be certain at this time because I have never played Excitebike.
I wasn’t very good at this game. I spent most of the game flying off my bike. The computer beat me handily but I think I was only racing against the clock.