Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #4: Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing

Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing (or Turbo Racing as it would become known) is an incredibly dull racing game.  And, that is while being compared with some unbelievably bad racing games that the NES had to offer.  I suppose the racing game genre has always been lacking in the pre-fifth gen systems but this one just seems to slaughter my inner soul a hair more than some of its racing counterparts.

Instead of instantly focusing on what is wrong, let's take a look at some comparative racing titles for the NES (many of whom had been released years earlier than Turbo Racing) so that I can give a clear comparison so that it doesn't appear that I am picking on poor Al Unser and to show that the NES was capable of making a decent racing game.  I liked the R.C. Pro-Am games, Rad Racer, Super Sprint, Bump N' Jump, and Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge, all good games.

Turns from hell
What the aforementioned games did that Turbo Racing didn't was know the limitations of the NES.  As I was playing Turbo Racing I found myself not being able to control the curves because they would come out of nowhere.  It pissed me off immediately.  There I would be just racing along and be slammed into a hairpin turn that I didn't have the time to slow down.  As a side note, why did all of the racing games have a button for brake, does anyone ever actually use the brake button in racing games instead of just laying off the gas?

Why is my car the only one to go out of control?
I know that this is common in, pretty much all, 8-bit racers but for some reason, this aggravated me more than most as other cars would simply be within a pixel of me and I would spin out while they would just go merrily on their way.  Was my car made of paper?  I realize that I would have to wait another year, and enjoy my Genesis, for Road Rash but, for some naive reason, I wouldn't expect this from Data East - they made Bad Dudes, yet they were going to let me be pushed around like a little bitch.  I mean...to reiterate, they made Bad Dudes.  Any car that hit mine should have at least given me a fighting chance, or at least had us both go up in a horrifying inferno.

Why can't a racecar drive in grass?
If you miss one of the insanely quick turns and do end up off the road, your car will come to a standstill.  Apparently, a car capable of going 160 miles per hour has a very difficult time traveling over grass, unlike say a standard riding mower which can do that without problem.  At least I think that it is grass, it is hard to tell.  I noticed several reviewers of this game gave its graphics high marks and that is when I realized that the crack epidemic may have reached out to retrogamers because the game as a whole was graphically inept but not nearly as bad as the music (or lack thereof) but overall, not good.

It's hard because it sucks
As I played through (and I sure as hell am not going to lie to you and tell you I beat this, because hell no) I found myself getting more frustrated at the difficulty of the game.  Not that the game was difficult in a good way, say Super Meat Boy fun tough. No this was Silver Surfer and Adventures of Bayou Billy tough because the game developers fucked up and made a bad game.  I have been playing Hydora (check it out here - http://www.locomalito.com/juegos_hydorah.php) for the PC lately (a review will eventually follow I'm sure) and that game is tough as hell, but I keep playing it.  Why do I keep playing it?  Because it is a good game that is enjoyable to play. 

I realize there was a different standard back in the NES days when it comes to gaming and sports titles that got their title from sports figures would make high selling games (see John Elway Football - sad, sad, sad) and this just fell into the realm (kind of like games based from movies) where the dollar signs in the eyes of the publisher outweighed a good product and Turbo Racing suffered for that.  It would be hard to believe that someone could purchase Turbo Racing and then a year later purchase a Super Nintendo with F-Zero. 

Anyway, final analysis. Graphics: suck.  Audio: the music blows and the sound effects are your standard racing noise. Playability: boring and the controls make for less fun than castration.  Controls: think of the controls in Sunsoft's Platoon and now put that kind of quality in a racing game.  Realism: I can't lie, I don't watch racing.  I have never watched racing.  I will probably never watch racing.  Yet, just from seeing perhaps, 10 seconds of racing in my life, I can tell you this game isn't like racing. 

More Money Wasted Reviews:
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #3: Platoon
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #2: Championship Bowling  http://www.geekyclown.com/2010/10/money-wasted-on-this-horrible-game-2.html
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #1: 10-Yard-Fight

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