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Showing posts with label Shutokou Battle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shutokou Battle. Show all posts

5 Dreamcast Racers Which Didn't Quite Make the Podium

There is no shortage of 'best racing games' lists for the Dreamcast - a system which had some of the most critically acclaimed racing games of the early 00’s. Everyone knows just how good Dreamcast classics like Metropolis Street Racer, Daytona USA, Sega Rally and Ferrari F355 Challenge were. Absolutely fantastic driving games that really did move the genre forward in their own way, and games that as a Dreamcast fan reading this article, you’ve probably spent many hours playing.

As you should know by now, here at the Junkyard we like to think outside of the box a little. So here we go, then. In no particular order, I present to you my alternative top five Dreamcast racers that you might not have played yet:

Tokyo Highway Challenge / Tokyo Extreme Racer
Released for the PAL launch (and confusingly called something different in every territory - Tokyo Extreme Racer and Shutokou Battle in the US and Japan respectively), Tokyo Highway Challenge is a game that I rented plenty of times when I was younger and have since put many hours into. I think it’s one of the most underrated racing games on the system and thanks to its evening setting, it still looks fantastic when played today in a smooth 60fps.
Tokyo Highway Challenge sees us buying cars, tuning them up and taking to the Japanese highways to challenge other hoons in a race for cash. Each other driver belongs to a gang, and when you’ve beaten all drivers in a particular gang, you get to face off against their leader.
It’s all a bit like a 'racing fighting game' where all races are 1v1 and you have an energy bar at the top of the screen. Whoever is behind on the road starts to see their energy bar deplete, ticking down faster as the gap between first and second increases. A simple concept but a refreshing one for those who don’t want to race lap after lap.
The biggest criticism of the game is a well noted one - just one 'track,' which itself isn’t particularly big, even though you do get the option of racing in either direction around the highway loop. Nevertheless, the tuning and upgrade system is fantastic and an essential part of the game. As you get further in, your tuning skills will make the difference between winning battles or not, regardless of how well you can drive!

Guest Article: Shutokou Battle Celebration

Martin Hinson is a man who knows his racers. Specifically Japanese racers you may never have heard of. And when he's not getting stuck into the likes of Racing Lagoon, Touge Max G, Side By Side Special or Battle Gear, he's tinkering with Japanese sports cars in real life. In this latest guest article, Martin takes a look at one of the Dreamcast's best racing series: Shutokou Battle. Western gamers will be more familiar with the title Tokyo Highway Challenge, and a lot of racing game fans may have initially looked at the fairly limited number of circuits and not really given the series a fair crack of the whip. Happily,  Martin is here to tell us all why we should give the series a second chance...
It came to my attention at the recent UK gaming event Play Expo Manchester, how few people still know about the Shutokou Battle series. Although I was aware the series is rather cult, I still found this somewhat surprising, given the age of the series and number of titles it spans.
  
Starting life on the Super Famicom in 1994, the series passed through the 32-bit era, flirting with both the Saturn and PlayStation before rising to prominence, albeit it on a small scale, on the Dreamcast in 1999. Starting as a somewhat standard Mode 7 racer, it had evolved into a fairly unique ‘CaRPG’ by the time it hit Dreamcast. It was also one of the earliest games to utilise tuning with a huge range of performance upgrades in some of the 32-bit games. 
The series focused on drift racing until it hit Dreamcast. It suited the arcade nature of the visuals and wide tracks on display - think Ridge Racer on the PlayStation. However due to the grunt of the Dreamcast, developer Genki put a huge focus on realism, not only visually but also from a gameplay point of view. This is perhaps most obvious in the handling, as it is much harder than before and car control almost feels sloppy. It’s easy to be put off the moment you play and most people probably were, but frankly, that’s a huge mistake. Stick with it and you are left with one of the most rewarding driving games around.