Saturday, September 18, 2021

Game 37: Aguri Suzuki F-1 Super Driving

Well folks, here it is: the game I missed after Agro Soar. For some reason, it was not in the ROM set I've been using, and was only in the other ROM set I have on my computer. Why? Who knows???

But that's okay. Fast and loose is the name of the game around here, unlike Aguri Suzuki's deadly supersport. We have a lot of margin for error since, as far as I'm aware, blogs rarely go above 300 kilometers per hour.

Oh also this game has go-karts

This is a port of a Super Famicom game, known as Redline F-1 Racer outside of Japan. Apparently this is a pretty serious F-1 game! According to Wikipedia, "Winning is near impossible unless the player can successfully tinker with his vehicle from the beginning of the race week," implying both that the game is hard and that only men are allowed to play it. 

The Game Boy version, which is Japan-only, is a little less serious. For example, there's an entirely separate go-kart mode. I accidentally go straight there because it's the first option and y'know what? It's pretty cool!

Yes, I named my character Nonono. It's the only hiragana I know(knowknow)

There are 5 or 6 different karts to choose from, each with different sprites and stats. I go for an all-rounder (not pictured) and get dropped into the race. It's a top-down affair, and has one weird quirk. I was fully expecting this to use "tank controls." That's like driving an RC car in real life, where hitting left or right on the D-pad make the car turn left or right relative to its current direction. You know what I mean.

This game uses absolute directions, so if I hold down, the car goes south, holding left makes it go east, etc. It's really confusing at first!!

Also confusing: this screenshot

Luckily, I lost all the screenshots of my first race, so we can just pretend that despite my confusion, I managed to get first place. In fact, I nearly lapped last place I was so far ahead. What a bunch of dopes!

More like yesyesyes!

I guess I shouldn't have called them dopes because they literally run me off the road in the second race, and I only end up getting third. These oil slicks didn't help!

Pictured: a bunch of dead people in a 6-kart pileup

But obviously kart racing is not the main star of the show. No, that would be F-1, otherwise known as "Adult Kart Racing, But Not In A Dirty Way." That's what we all came here to see - it's right in the title of the game! 

And there's a lot to see. First of all, there's not one, not two, but three different shops:

Look how fancy this gif is. Wow.

Being illiterate, I'm not entirely clear on what the difference is between each shop, but they definitely have different vibes to them. All of them sell engines, tires, and "wings" aka spoilers. I buy some new tires from the guy with the tie and, for some reason, cannot put them on my car. Whoops!

With that, it's time for the qualifier. Looks like we'll be going to South Africa. Let's see what this game actually looks like once you start driving:


It looks better in motion, but essentially it's a pretty standard "3D" racing game. But it really does look impressive on the Game Boy! It's nice. It's also hard as hell. 

See that turn on the southeast side of the track that's almost a right angle? Yeah, I wreck on that curve in both laps. This game is fairly demanding and if I screw up a turn I either wreck my damn car, or lose a boatload of time from braking too hard. Luckily, in the qualifiers it seems that damage is not simulated, and I'm able to drag my ass into last place (screenshot missing). 

This of course means that I start the race in last place as well, and trying to pass 5 other jerks in cars is a big ask here. And in this mode, damage is simulated. I manage to blow out my tires on lap 1 and then miss the pit stop (whoops). This reduces my acceleration and also seems to make it harder to steer - less of an effect than I would have thought. 

Lap 2, I damage my spoiler, which seems to reduce my top speed as well. Luckily I get the pit stop this time - whew! It forces me to manually select the things I want to replace, and the race keeps going even as I do this. There's this really cute animation of my pit crew replacing the pieces as well - screenshot missing!!! Thanks FunKey S.

I somehow manage to get 5th anyway:

Look at this weirdo

And then that weirdo challenges me to a 1v1 duel! This game kinda rules. I'm no good at it but given the language barrier and the fact that I've only been playing it for like 30 minutes, it seems like it would be very possible to be good at. 

I, of course, beat this guy handily, even though I wipe out twice. What a dork.

Look how far ahead I am, and I suck at this game

I think I have a handle on the basics of this game though. The only other thing to mention is that there are 16 tracks, which is pretty darn good considering how well you have to learn each track to be able to master it. This is a fairly large game, especially for the time.

Also, the "engine sound" almost immediately makes me nauseous for some reason. It's this weird, dizzying pulsing hum that sounds like an insect living in my brain. I do not like it!! That's what mute is for.

So there you go! It's a neat game and far more fully featured than I would have expected. So let's end this with Aguru Suzuki saying...something.

I'm sure it's really meaningful

Next time: another game that should probably be much later on my list because it does have an English translation, but the Japanese name starts with an A so oh well!!

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