This game for clear reasons has the best graphics for the standalone Megadrive (so with no Mega CD or 32X). Why? Because Sega decided to respond to the popularity of Nintendo's Super FX chip in games like Star Fox by creating the Sega Virtua Processor, or SVP for short. The one thing Sega couldn't do that Nintendo could, however, was fit the processor in a standard cartridge for the Megadrive, which is understandable as compared to the Super Nintendo cartridges the Megadrive cartridge is pretty damn small. So this cartridge is about twice the size of a normal Megadrive cartridge, and this is all in height. So if you have your Megadrive say in a cabinet where you are just able to fit Megadrive cartridges in, your luck's up unless you want to pull the console out.
Also, I wouldn't plan on buying this game if you have one of those recently produced "plug-in and play" Megadrive consoles that have a cartridge slot. They use software emulation, and will just freak out when they see the extra hardware inside this cartridge, clearly because atgames didn't decide to use Kega Fusion as a software base... While they don't use software emulation, this won't work on your Sega Nomad or Genesis 3 either. Only buy if you have an original Megadrive or the original Megadrive II Models.
After all the hardware, let's actually go to the game. The graphics are very impressive, as was the idea of this game. This processor shows it is highly probably superior to the Super FX chip, as the amount of polygons you will see while racing through the 3 tracks will easily put Starfox to shame... Specially since half the effects in that game still rely on sprites. But I digress. The only thing I would have left out was the pits at the start of the first track... That pit crew just wasn't worth the effort.
The sound effects in this game are very high quality for the Megadrive, however I find the way music does not play on a constant, and instead plays short cut and paste tunes at every checkpoint, is very annoying. I would have prefered if they either played music as a constant (like in most/all other racing titles) or, just not bothered with in-game music at all (see Super Monaco GP).
The gameplay is amazing, the most accurate arcade conversion for the Megadrive, and can be likened to arcade-style gameplay in racers on the original Playstation and Sega Saturn, impressive for a 16-bit system even with the SVP's help. However after you've beaten all 3 courses there really isn't much else to do, since there is no save function for your best times on free run (possibly due to the cartridge being so big and expensive anyway, but still a bummer).
The downfall of this game originally is that due to the SVP the cartridge costs were very high to produce, so Sega had to cover that cost somewhere... This means you paid out of the ear for this game, and was what turned many people off of it. This also caused the downfall of the SVP chip, while it was far superior to Nintendo's Super FX chip this also meant it was so costly to produce that hardly anyone decided to buy the games.
Fortunatley, this game is usually as cheap as all the other Megadrive games now, depending on where you look. So if anything to own a more different title in your collection, buy it. It'll be a shorter game but you can use it to impress your friends with how much the Megadrive could actually do.Read more ›
a good game. has stayed fun to this day. the sega virtua processor really does put the snes SFX chip to shame. pity it was put into cartridges and not built in the console really... the rendering rate is fantastic!