SNES A Day 19: RPM Racing

rpm_racing_us_box_art

Approximate Release Date: November 1, 1991
Genre: Racing
Developer: Silicon & Synapse
Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

RPM Racing is most notable for being the first game by one of the most successful video game developers to date: Blizzard Entertainment, known as Silicon & Synapse at the time.

That’s all it should be known for. It’s not very good, though it has some interesting ideas.

Chiefly among these is the existence of a robust track editor with six slots to save custom tracks. It’s quite slick; everything is grid-based and there are sliders to determine the height of the pieces. It’s legitimately impressive for a console game in 1991. And it’s user-friendly, as I was able to throw together something basic in just a few minutes.

Progression in RPM Racing is done in a novel way. For placing in the top two, you’re rewarded with cash. Cash can be used to purchase upgrades for your car, but more importantly, you can pay money to advance to harder races with bigger payouts. These races also have a fee to race. This presents an interesting dilemma while playing; do you upgrade your car and have an easier time in lower-level races, or spend your money to advance to higher-paying races but have a more difficult time placing. The risk/reward is a neat twist in an otherwise standard game.

RPM Racing runs in a higher resolution than most other Super Nintendo games, but it looks like there’s a strange dithering effect over everything except the car models. The cars display a rather large amount of ghosting at times, so even they aren’t immune from looking bad. It also uses a split-screen display even in single player, which is really irritating. And, most disappointingly for a racing game, there’s no sense of speed. The cars feel awfully slow.

RPM Racing should be relegated to an answer during trivia night only. It’s not without merit, but you’re better off waiting a year and a half for a better try by the same developers – Rock N’ Roll Racing.

Tomorrow: How could you not love Super Tennis? (Get it?)

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