Rad Racer was one of Square's early releases for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and their second 3-D game after The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner. The game is similar to OutRun, in that you drive a car from point A to point B, dodging traffic and roadside obstacles on your way to the finish line.
Two games in the series were released: Rad Racer (1987, published by Nintendo of America), and Rad Racer II (1990, directly published by Square)
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Often considered to be Nintendo's answer to OutRun, even though it wasn't developed by them.
- Apathetic Citizens: Pedestrian drivers don't seem to care at all that you're screaming past them at 200 km/h, and thus won't pull over or move out of the way at all. In fact, some of them will even randomly change lanes just to make things harder for you.
- Cool Car: The player can choose to drive either a Ferrari 328 or a Formula One machine. If you play as the Ferrari, the other vehicles on the road will change every level. To wit:
- Level 1: VW Beetle
- Level 2: Corvette
- Level 3: Citroën
- Level 4: Mercedes Benz
- Level 5: Lamborghini
- Level 6: Lotus
- Level 7: Porsche
- Level 8: Ferrari Testarossa
- Down to the Last Play: If the timer expires, your car will slowly lose speed (your car rolls) and you can't step on the gas. If you can crawl towards the checkpoint / finish line, you'll be safe. But if the car comes to a complete stop, you'll be doomed!
- Fragile Speedster: At top speed, your car exceeds 200 km/h, faster than any other car on the road, but is apparently lightweight enough that hitting another car causes you to careen out of control while the other car doesn't even budge.
- Made of Iron: On the other hand, instead of exploding after a crash like in Pole Position, you'll either flip in the air (first game) or spin out of control (second), and have to work your way back up to top speed, often from an undesirable position on the road.
- Market-Based Title: The first game was known as Highway Star in Japan. The second game isn't known as anything there since it was never released in Japan.
- Nintendo Hard: You often have just enough time to get to the next checkpoint, and later on, even braking too much from dodging traffic, or trying to make it through turns will make you run out of time.
- Nitro Boost: Rad Racer II had this feature, allowing you to reach top speed from a starting position after charging the boost for about three seconds.
- Product Placement: As getting the licenses from car manufacturers was much less onerous back then, each car is a real vehicle. Even to the extent of averting Fauxrrari - one of the two player vehicles is a Ferrari 328, and the cars in the final stage are Ferrari Testarossas. Somewhat amusing is the third stage, which takes place at the Grand Canyon in a course filled with Citroën BXes, well after Citroën pulled out of the American market due to regulatory issues. (Even today, when Citroën models are sold in the US, they're badged as Mitsubishi cars.)
- Totally Radical: The very name of the game, Rad Racer. A game that was, fittingly enough, produced by a company named Square.