While I continue to sit firmly on the fence with GT5, I tootle down memory lane to my favourite racing games on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive console. Let's do the time warp again! In episode 4 where I returned some much needed love to some ZX Spectrum games, I was surprised at how many comments or PM's there were that said they'd never even known these games existed. Some of you young whippersnappers decided to call me an old fart. Well I may use my colostomy bag for ballast in open wheelers, but aside from that I'd just like to say I've been round the block a few times... hang on... that's possibly worse. Either way I've earned enough credits to upgrade myself from Spectrum to the wonderful early 1990's when I was able to go mad on a Sega Mega Drive (Genesis outside of Europe - don't know why). Before Sony and Microsoft dived into consoles, it was firmly Nintendo verses Sega. As a little'un I was a Sega boy myself. I alligned myself with Sonic the Hedgehog over Mario and I'm sure it was an early sign of my need for speed (trademark of course). The Mega Drive was one of the last big consoles to stick to cartridges and it superseeded the Master System by increasing the games from 8-bit (yes, bits) to 16! Remember the original PlayStation was a 32-bit console. While I think this era definately let the platforming genre absolutely shine, this was where split screen multiplayer, top down racing and the begginnings of proper 3D racing environments. Here's a quick throw down of some of my personal favs from the era. Chase HQ 2 (Super Chase HQ) Ported to a few systems, Chase HQ was out of the best ways to be distracted for a few hours. Speeding down those grey tarmac roads avoiding cars and flying up onto two wheels - you were such a cool dude! Nancy the controller was going to love your stunts! It was also the place where I homed my "bump-them-off-and-overtake" skills with the insanely fun concept of smashing up the crook's car you're chasing down by ramming it silly. I never have been able to complete the game but I've wasted so many hours trying! Combat Cars The game where you only drive up! I love top down racers and Combat Cars was no exception. Not only could you drive as a character simply known as "Mumma", it had stupidly insane tracks, weapons, cheap AI and a simple upgrade system that basically meant if you didn't upgrade after each race you'd be plum last. I don't believe the game sold well nor was well known but I rented it out for weekend, as I would choose a game from the local renting shop each weekend and that would be my pocketmoney used up! I even used to keep a little book where I'd write down each game I'd played and rated them! Maybe even as an 8 year old I knew I'd end up writing tosh online! F1 / F1 World Championship Edition First of all everyone needs to appreciate one of my favourite openings to a game ever... The game itself formed the formations of the later F1 games to come for consoles. So many games of this era failed to provide depth to their surroundings or the sense of actually going round a corner. It's one of the few racing games of this type where you actually have to brake. Also it's 16 car grid was entirely licenced so it was the first game I ever had where I could drive a Minardi! I didn't have a PC until about 1998 so no GP1 or 2 for me yet! I spent so mant hours on these games it was silly. I vividly remember telling my mum my brother had hit me (on more than one occasion) so that he'd be sent to his room and I'd be left on F1! Woohoo - more laps as Albereto - shame each track's still a motorway! Micro Machines (Whole Series) The multiplayer gem that was and is Micro Machines. Who remembers the annoying advert slogan for the real things? The characters were great. I was always wither Dwayne, Cherry or Walter! A host of vehicles, the track's were so imaginative and the whole experience was geared towards all out racing. I always enjoyed Micro Machines more than the rest because on the whole, unless you used the tanks, you had no weapons to make up lost ground on and so it was all about your own driving. The whole idea of being shunk into a new world of racing fun caught everyones imagination. My favourite track was Rim Runner - an oval round the toilet seat in drag cars! How could anyone resist? The biggest pull however for Micro Machines, especially from the second one onwards was its multiplayer features. The games were J-carts so you could plug four controllers in for 4 player mode or share the controllers to allow 8 players on screen playing all at the same time! This was unheard of at the time and real ground breaking stuff. Sharing a controller became easier once you got used to it. It also gave birth to the get-to-the-screen-edge gameplay too. This then gave way to countless duels on TV shows such as gamesmaster and this absolutely awful programme... my god we've come along way. Pat oursleves on the back! Micro Machines 96 build on all the fantastic racing features added in 2 with a magical track editor that to be honest, GT5 could take a look at to see how track editing is really done. You could draw the track layout, add in tons of hazards and then race is with up to 7 other friends. Mico Machines Military was the final installment on the Mega Drive where tanks took to the fore and using their turret became tactic of the day. This was my least favourite because it was all too much a who-shoots-last-wins game too often. Nigel Mansell's World Championship Challenge We're digging them up now! I remember being wowed by seeing the 1992 Williams spin around and catching a fleating glimpse at the front of the car. I also remember it being notoriously difficult to win. Thank god for the passwords so you could restart the race again if you did poorly. Officially licenced again, Bernie wasn't quite to stingy giving out his licence in the 90's with four developers having one by the end of the decade. Also nice to see set up options on a car too. Road Rash (Series) Bring on the bikes and violence! Road Rash was brutal. Driving the course, winning and avoing the cars were one thing. Ending up kicking and punching your way passed your opponents while doing so was another. This is where your trusty baseball bat or metal chain came into play. Everyone had health bars which replenished over time and that added strategy to your attacks if you were already seriously whipped. Then you've got the police to deal with who will just drive into you and slow you down. Come to a crawl and you're under arrest. Add to that the unique sideways travelling traffic at crossroads and a fellow racer called "Rude Boy" and you have yourself a winner. Strangely absent on the last generation of consoles, Road Rash is long overdue a new outting. Rock N Roll Racing Awesome music! I love 8 or 16 bit renditions of real songs! Rock N Roll Racing was one of the last great games to use the isometric view of racing and its one that's damn hard to pull off properly. Sometimes its difficult to work out exactly where you are track wise on these types of views but this futuristic racer is so much fun you dont' mind "looking lost out there!" Split screen is an absolute blast! Skitchin' A game so far ahead of its time, someone needs to revisit this concept with today's tech. Skitchin' was all about landing the tricks off the ramps and grabbing onto as many car bumpers as possible to win the race. Borrowing from Road Rash you could fight as well, but with added tricks and a nutty soundtrack, Skitchin' had it all covered. There's was a lot to do with your upgrades too. It was just a fantastic game, mutiplayer was available as alternative hot seats too. Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP This video comes from my own youtube channel so here you can watch me fail miserably! Ayrton Senna's Monaco games were always a massive challenge because of its career progression that I loved at the time, and its something the most recent F1 game has copied. Pick a team, choose your rival team to beat and run against him. Beat him a few times and you can swap seats and go up the ranks. Lose out enough and you end up in a back of the grid car. All the teams and drivers are renamed bar Senna and so Ferrari is Fierenze which makes for good fun. McLaren is Maradonna! Another games I've played until my eyes bled and still got no where! Super Skidmarks ITS GOT RACING COWS ON WHEELS WITH A MOO HORN!!! What more do you need to know? A personal favourite. Super Offroad So many games with the word Super on! I have no idea who Ironman was, but he sure endorsed the right game. I spent hours in arcades playing this game and watching other children walk off and sulk as I've beat them again. It was like Super Sprint on steriods and growing a moustache. Nitro power baby! Virtua Racing Virtua Racing was the first real block 3D looking environment. Whether or not it really is 3D or just a graphical effect it doesnt matter - it was all state of the art and really pushed the console into its final years a real pioneer. Strictly arcade too. Of course there's many I've missed such as Super Hang On, GP Rider, F1 Circus et al but these were all in my collection to play with and enjoy. Now it's time to hail a cab - I've gone so far down memory lane, I can't be bothered to haul my vintage butt back again! Next stop PlayStation 1? We'll see!