Racing video games have seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to new titles that have revitalized the love gamers around the world have for the genre.
These newer titles feature beautifully detailed tracks, highly polished visuals, realistic physics and lighting effects, and fantastically responsive steering.
However, these exceedingly immersive games would not exist if it weren’t for the titles of yore: titles that built the foundations of a genre and lit the spark in millions of young gamers’ hearts.
Today I’m going to take some time to highlight the best racing games on one of the seminal 16-bit video game consoles: the Sega Genesis (Yes, I am a Sega Fanboy). Here are the
Best Sega Genesis Racing Games
Road Rash II
The original Road Rash was one of the first games to successfully combine fast racing with combat gameplay, thus creating a new genre and cementing itself in video game history.
So, when its sequel, Road Rash II, was released in 1992 it had some big shoes to fill. Fortunately for gamers everywhere, Road Rash II took the awesome Road Rash formula and improved upon it in almost every way possible.
The second game in the series introduced new weapons, nitrous oxide charges for even speedier racing combat, and a fantastic two-player, along with a split-screen mode for couch multiplayer fun.
Ayrton’s Senna Super Monaco GP II
Released in 1992, this arcade-style F1 racing game for the Sega Genesis was the follow-up to the highly successful simulation-style racer Super Monaco GP.
This game, which boasted technical input from the legendary Formula 1 champion Ayrton Senna, featured 19 real-world-inspired race tracks, an innovative seasonal structure, and a variety of car transmissions to choose from.
There are plenty of great racing games on the Sega Genesis, but Ayrton’s Senna Super Monaco GP II is one of the very best and does not get enough love.
Lotus II for the Sega Genesis was a highly successful port of the PC game Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge, and it succeeded greatly in bringing much of what PC gamers loved about that game.
The game featured different types of races, including circuit and point-to-point races. It also featured a car-selection mode that let you pick your vehicle before the race.
Most importantly, the Sega Genesis port managed to convey a more dynamic sense of speed, while keeping a very smooth frame rate throughout. Considering the Sega Genesis hardware limitations, this game was a pretty impressive technical feat for the day.
Mario Andretti Racing
Mario Andretti Racing was one of the very first titles released by the now world-renowned EA Sports division, so if you love the FIFA, NBA Live, or Madden titles, the success of Mario Andretti Racing is one you should thank.
The game features some advanced custom AI for the computer-controlled drivers, which varies between the 3 included race modes: Indy, Stock, and Dirt.
While not my favorite title, it is one of the better racers and I have to include it on the list out of respect for its legacy. It is definitely worth playing.
The Duel: Test Drive II
Much like its predecessor, The Duel: Test Drive II features highly entertaining gameplay that revolves around driving exotic cars through a variety of stages and environments, all the while evading police.
Each detailed level features lots of turns and obstacles to keep the moment-to-moment gameplay engaging, while the inclusion of computer-controlled police officers keeps it unpredictable and gives it plenty of replay value.
Micro Machines was another highly innovative and popular game for the console that spawned a successful, generation-spanning franchise.
The original Micro Machines laid the foundation for the series by introducing a top-down perspective, micro-vehicles, and unconventional racetracks. You see when you play Micro Machines you race toy cars around household environments such as a garden, a kitchen, and a game room.
The resulting game was extremely fun, very addictive, and unique.
ESPN Speed World
This next game on the list of best Sega Genesis racing games was based on the highly successful former television series which aired on ESPN from 1979 to 2006: I’m talking about ESPN Speed World.
ESPN Speed World lets players take control of NASCAR stock cars from the Winston Cup circuit, and race them around a variety of memorable tracks and superspeedways.
The cars were highly customizable (for the time), and the game featured an interactive pit crew and commentating from Dr. Jerry Punch, which made the whole package feel tremendously authentic.