As time goes by I find myself looking much more fondly at Sega as a company. I mean now they are only a shadow of what they use to be, but at their prime they brought a lot of needed progression in gaming that Nintendo was simply all to happy to not provide. Like having Philips head screws in controllers so you can take them apart and clean them without having to buy a screw driver for that.
Onto the game, this is a game I really had no idea if I really wanted to buy. Simply in that arcade/sim racing is not my forte.
But I just kept looking at the cartridge at my local shop and I kept thinking about how much larger it is than any other one for the Sega. Under that hood was the Sega SVP chip. (Sega Virtual Processing Chip) Honestly, the best add on 3D chip for any system of that era. The thing is we could argue all day about colors and stuff but when it came to it the SVP + the processor in the Genesis worked together to make one crazy good 3D machine for the time.
Perhaps the 32x was far too ambitious as it brought even more power to the system, but even then really could not do to much to increase the already small Genesis color limit.
The SVP chip a really sexy device for the Genesis as it was lean, the only issue is that it was expensive and the cartridges cost about $100 at the time. Granted you were pretty awesome 3D graphics for the time and while they were not texture mapped they still provided an experience that still rivaled all of the racing games of the time.
Yeah that need for speed was not quite that hot...
Which, its really unfortunate that Sega had not continued with their plan on making the SVP Chip in a lock on cartridge similar to the Game Genie. As that would have dramatically lowered the prices for the use of other 3D games like Vurtua Fighter and Daytona USA. Its just a total shame that 1995 was the year when Sega stopped supporting the Genesis as they could have worked on both if the 32x was not in the picture.
As for the game. Its a great lap arcade racing experience, in fact I think its probably one of the best sim games for its time as the inside of the car is even in game including your fully 3D hands. Most games at that time and still into the late 90s would go for cheap static 2D sprites... So its pretty crazy to see Sega going into so much detail for a game.
The frame rate is very consistent, honestly... it runs even smoother in Free play or in 2 player mode... So its pretty crazy thinking that a 3D racing game is better than most of the 2D ones of that time, but I think Virtua Racing is a very strong contender as it simply has very smooth frame rate and all of the feature expected from the arcade counterpart.
Here is a link to a comparison video to the Mega Drive and 32x version
The crazy thing is besides some more power and shaders the 32x version really does not offer a whole lot more. Kind of a shame they did not do more to support the SVP really could have been a nice mid range addition unit that would have kept the Genesis relevant without breaking Sega. I only wonder what 2D applications this processor could have brought.
Anyway its a pretty fun game and worth if you own a Sega Genesis.