A top-down racing game by Blizzard Entertainment (then known as Silicon & Synapse) released in 1993 on the SNES, and 1994 on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. Mostly remembered as one of the premier "simple fun" racing games the console had to offer, the controls were easy to pick up, the competition was fierce and the music was epic.
Set in the distant future, the player takes control of one of several colorful competitors on the intergalactic racing circuit, hoping to out-maneuver (and out-shoot) their fellow challengers and the reigning champion of each planet's track. Much of the fun came from relying on using knowledge of the track and "dirty tricks" available from upgrades and power-ups to defeat your opponents (made standard by the Mario Kart franchise).
It was named "Best Driving Game of 1993" by Electronic Gaming Monthly. In 1997 it received an In Name Only sequel Red Asphalt from Interplay, with zero involvement from Blizzard. The sequel changed the perspective to 3D, behind the wheel, with a more intricate storyline and a light upgrade system, and no licensed music whatsoever.
This game provides the following examples:
- A.I. Breaker: It's not something you can really induce, but on tracks with a turn that you're not supposed to take, sometimes the AI will fumble and get tripped up, taking the wrong turn and essentially eliminating themselves from the race by going the wrong way without trying to reorient.
- Car Fu
- Cat Girl: Katarina Lyons of Panteros V.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On Warrior, the other racers start with a number of upgrades before you even get the chance to take on the first race. Most noticeably, they have several shots when you have one. Viper may even have more shots than the game will let you get!
- Cool Car: While most of the cars resemble monster truck chassis with sexy car bodies added on top, this game made hovercrafts a slick and dangerous entry in this trope.
- Do Well, But Not Perfect: Not in races, but in car upgrades. A rather important detail is that the HP of your opponents is directly related to your own. The more armor upgrades you buy, the more they'll have, meaning the more abuse both of you can take before popping. If you prefer to race aggressively, it'll do you well to avoid upgrading your armor completely so that you can still blast your opponents in just a couple of shots.
- Early Game Hell: On Warrior the other racers have superior firepower compared (among other things) to you, and getting the Air Blade is a tall order. You also essentially have to go without upgrades to get the aforemented vehicle, which you can soundly upgrade until the Battle Trak becomes available. It does help a LITTLE to buy two shots for your starting clunker, since that'll at least afford you the ability to gun down one opponent per lap, if you don't mind being set back a bit. In all likelyhood, Viper, Rip, and Shred will dominate you until you get that Air Blade, then Grinder will eat you alive until you get enough missiles and boost charges to outrun and outgun him, then you're in the clear for a while.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Limited what planets you could race on (and thus what cars you had access to), depending on the difficulty setting. The lowest ends the game after three planets, saying to choose Veteren. The last planet was only playable on the highest setting, and to make it more challenging, the tracks from it weren't available in the practice mode (where you could choose the planet you wanted to race on).
- Fake Longevity: Each planet consists of two divisions, requiring you to run each track at least twice (more if you didn't score first place.) Winning each race only awards $10,000, which requires several races to afford each upgrade step. Also, upgrades do not persist if you purchase a new car (even for a new paint job.)
- Guest Fighter: Olaf from The Lost Vikings appears as a racer in this game.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Rookie, Veteran and Warrior.
- Isometric Projection: Like the 8-bit NES classic, R.C. Pro-Am.
- Off-Model: The Havac. It's hard to explain, but the shading (maybe?) of the vehicle makes it extremely difficult to tell when it's actually going straight, which considering it becomes available at Nho, where the tracks introduce gaps that you need to jump over, is very, very bad.
- Power Up Letdown: The Havac again. Its weapon, the Sundog Beam, is difficult to use and, more importantly, ridiculously weak compared to the Rogue Missiles.
- Punny Name: Most of the racers. Dark Age of Supernames also figures heavily.
- RPG Elements: Each car can have multiple upgrades added to their separate parts, including engine, wheels, suspension, armor and weapons. You also need to win so many races to reach a new "racing division."
- Secret Character: Olaf and the super-rich, super-statted racer unlocked with a code.
- Shout-Out: Several characters.
- Olaf is from Silicon & Synapse's previous game, The Lost Vikings.
- Snake Sanders (of Terra) is visually based off Whitesnake singer David Coverdale.
- Jake Badlands is named for Jake E. Lee.
- Cyberhawk is likely a reference to both the cover of the Judas Priest album Screaming for Vengeance and the '80s cartoon Silverhawks.
- Captain Braddock looks eerily similar to Snake Plissken.
- Spiritual Successor: Both to the above R.C. Pro-Am, and to Blizzard's earlier RPM Racing.
- Track Champ of the Week
- Vehicular Combat: Oils slicks, metal tacks, mines, grenades, plasma fire, missiles, heat-seeking orbs of death and just ramming the other guy into the rail.
- Wacky Racing
- You Break It, You Profit: The more you destroy your opponents, the more winnings you receive.