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Rad Racer (NES) Retro Review

Game Name: Rad Racer

Publishers: Square, Nintendo and Mattel

Developers: Square

Release Date: October 1st, 1987 (North America)

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System and PlayChoice-10


if you read my reviews, you probably know that I am a big fan of sports games. I always loved playing racing games. From Pole Position on Atari, F1 Racing on the NES to even Forza on the XBOX I love racing games. Obviously now they are more in depth and look so realistic. However the basis of the gameplay is still the same. You can run a few races and then close the console. There is no gameplay hat last months. Yes it may take time to get through all of the stages and levels, but to race you just need 5 minutes. That has always been the appeal for me. So this one was in my collection and I remember playing it a lot as a kid. Once again, let us see if this game is still good today.


The first thing that I wanted to mention before getting into the actual gameplay is that, this game was supposed to be in 3D. The game came with old school 3D glasses. So when you would play, you would press select and you would go into 3D mode. It never really worked for me very well or at least it did not live up to my expectations. I expected to have the cars pop off the screen. Unfortunately, all it did was to play the game in regular mode. However if you removed the glasses the game looked like it was playing a fuzzy TV channel.

So above you have what you would expect when buying this game. However there is one addition to the family. That is the 3D glasses.

Below you will find how the screen would look in 3D Mode.

As you can see it can hurt the eyes quite a bit. So this aspect of the game itself was not really a good thing. but hey it was a marketing ploy and I would assume that it somewhat worked.

Now onto the actual gameplay. You get to choose your car, either a 320 Twin Turbo or a F1 car. In theory there is no difference in the performance between these 2 cars.

Once done you have to race through stages to get to the end of the game. The gameplay was pretty standard for these types of games back then. I remember liking this game because there were some stages where the player races in the night. I always found that really cool and awesome. That was big for me back then, although now games do these types of things in their sleep.

The controls are pretty standard. You press the gas with A and break with B. The directional pad will determine when you turn. You must avoid the incoming traffic. There is a turbo mode in the game. This only helps you until you hit 100 km/h. After that you are on your own and cannot use this feature.

See below a sample stage from the game.

Sample Gameplay (Course 4)


Does this game hold up after all these years? The answer that is kind of in the middle. It does hold up in terms of challenge and gameplay. I think that even if you never played a racing game, it is easy to get into it. Also the races are short and it can get frustrating trying the same course over and over again. But with a few runs at it, most players will be able to get through the game with no problem.

However, remember that this game came out in 1987 and stats and graphics were not up there. I think that they are fine for the times, but younger players may find it to be hard on the eyes. I agree that it is not nearly as beautiful as the newer games like Forza.

There is no online mode. So you cannot play with your friends. if you want to play 2 players, you have to do it the old fashion way, take turns and see who went the furtherest.

I think that the challenge is there but when you remove the 3D aspect, it is a game that does not really standout from the other games that came out at the time. Yes the courses are different but I could have played a few other games that provided me with the same level of satisfaction. It is still fun when I play today and if you happen to pass it at the flea market for a few bucks, it is worth the pick up.

Rating: 6 Bump and Run's out of 10

What do you think? Let me know at the coordinates below.

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