|Source // Wikipedia|
Let's imagine you've created a nifty little racing game that feels like a joy to play. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but it does require you to at least try to be graceful around the track. What do you call it to get the attention of all the arcade goers though? Super Sprint, obviously.
I didn't think racing when I first saw the name, but as there's generally nothing wrong with racing games I'm eager to see what it's all about.
Whether you're playing it in the arcades or at home on your NES, Super Sprint feels great. It uses the racing philosophy of 'You don't need to brake' so literally that you do not even have a brake - accelerate or don't, that's your lot. Bar steering, obviously.
You'll need steering to get around the 8 tracks available, which are a mix of Formula 1, go-karting and young boys fantasy race car circuits. For every tight turn there's a cross over point where you need to dodge cars coming from another direction. For every chicane there's a short cut across the grass. For every pick up for extra points there is a mini tornado ready to spit you out into the track wall. Super Sprint is just frenetic fun.
As you race, your main goal is to finish first - nothing else is good enough. During your race, you're able to pick up extra points (who really needs high scores though?) as well as wrenches to improve you car before racing again.
Find the cornering a little too floaty? Improve your traction for better handling. Want to get to first place as soon as possible? Improve your acceleration and hope you don't hit the wall too hard.
Tracks increase in difficulty via the addition of trickier turns and more potential for crashes, as well as oil slicks and the aforementioned tornadoes getting in your way. Crashing is a set back - why wouldn't it be? - but within a second or two you're back on the track and ready to go like nothing happened. Better get back into the grove quickly, before the other drivers take advantage.
There's really not much to Super Sprint and you're left to have a blast until you're just not good enough to win.
Unfortunately, that moment came and the game ground to a halt. Game Over, Continue? I could continue with the same race and hope to finish first this time, but my score had reset to 0 and I wasn't sure on the status of my car upgrades any more.
There's only so much bumbling around the track you can do before you know a race is lost, and often there's still a couple of laps to go. Getting caught out by an oil slick isn't as much of a problem as you'd think. The same goes for bouncing off the walls and even the tornadoes, unless you end up facing backwards out of either of them. However, sometimes you hit a wall and just explode. You can then drive to the next corner, scrape it and explode once more.
In the space of a few corners your entire momentum can disappear, and while that can be a laugh in multiplayer, in the single player game it can lead to a little hit to the enjoyment rating.
Make no mistake though, Super Sprint is an enjoyable little racer. It's perhaps a bit light on content, but it feels great to whip the cars around the track - to the point of feeling like I should have lost control of my vehicle loooong ago, but nope, still nailing some kind of driving line through all these bends...
I wasn't able to play the arcade version but the NES port does wonders, and there are a few other ports available elsewhere so you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding a game. You might be aware of the likes of Micro Machines, and you can see that it was Super Sprint that laid the track down.
Except Micro Machines took place on desks and in gardens... that analogy needs a little work.
Play Super Sprint for a few minutes at least.
There may only be 8 tracks but there are 85 races on them, if you can make it that far.
Super Sprint, developed by Atari Games, first released in 1986.
Version played: NES, 1989, via emulation.