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Speed Racer: The Challenge of Racer X

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:Accolade

GAME PUBLISHER:Accolade

Copyright 1992, Accolade

“The Mach-5 is the most complex and ingenious car ever built, a tribute to my father’s imagination, genius, and technical skill!” — Speed Racer

Japan’s Mach GoGoGo [retitled Speed Racer outside Japan] anime gained cultish popularity in the 1960s. We recall nostalgically Speed Racer’s fight against a bizarre rogues’ gallery of villains–villains with creepy names like Ace Deucey, Mr. Fixer, and Tongue Blaggard. Each episode brought complex family dynamics; Dadaist, oneiric race tracks; comedy and tragedy; and virtuousness. Speed Racer’s courage was as important as his Mach-5 in attaining victory. Given the anime’s popularity, an official Speed Racer computer game seems bound for success.

Unfortunately, Accolade botched the blockbuster license so badly with The Challenge of Racer X that it is not surprising the game quickly disappeared from store shelves. For starters, Speed Racer’s car is ridiculously easy to drive– there is no friction, no inertia that will convince you that you’re driving a car and not a feather. The tracks are boring, and there is little variation to spice up the races. The only thing that saves the game from a Real Dog award is the inclusion of Mach-5′s capabilities that anime fans will be familiar with: there’s “autojack,” for jumping; “belt tires,” for traction; “chopper,” for cutting [when selected, you see twin rotary saws extend from the Mach-5's front], and more. These are fun to try out, but after a while you will discover that they add little to the game except as a diversion to gameplay. Overall, a lackluster racing game that only die-hard fans of the anime will likely enjoy. Strip away the license, and there is little content underneath the silver chrome.



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