22, 1999 (Japan)
9, 1999 (USA)
> Without a doubt, Sega makes some of the best racing games on Earth.
Their latest effort is titled Super Speed Racing (SSR) (Flag To Flag in
USA) and features a CART license, 27 real drivers, and 19 real courses.
You'll race in places like Cleveland and Monterey with drivers like Alex
Zanardi and Bobby Rahal. The main focus of the game is to be a simulation,
but the Arcade mode provides quick racing action if desired.
> The object, obviously, is to win races. There are a plethora of
options to pick from, but they don't seem to bog you down like some simulations.
For instance, in Championship mode you can practice, set race length (5%-100%),
change car settings (6 types), set options (weather, cautions, damage,
corner warnings), qualify, and race. Naturally, you can pit in during
races as well.
> The import SSR might as well be the American version as all the menus,
game screens, options, and voice are in English. Of course racing
games are inherently easy to import too. Anyway, SSR has arrived
in America as Flag To Flag and is essentially unchanged...
> Of course SSR is presented in polygon 3D beauty courtesy of Sega.
All 19 courses are realistic from terrain to course layout to scenery.
The two player mode is the usual split horizontal screen. The game
almost always moves smooth and fast, but occasionally the frames drop off
when the scenery is intensive and/or there are a lot of cars going around
a corner. It's definitely not perfect but it's surely beautiful to
watch and a joy to play.
> You get five views in the game: nose, driver, behind driver, behind car,
and behind car (far). Each view is realistic in every way.
For instance, in the driver view you'll see debris build up on your visor
which the driver automatically wipes off when it gets too obstructive.
Each view has a functional rear view mirror with the driver views using
the actual mirrors on the car.
> The scenery is detailed and the cars shine like freshly polished diamonds.
You'll see things like flags waving, trees, buildings, helicopters, airplanes,
grandstands, billboards, and Firestone whitewall tires on your car.
Actually, you'll see real names on all the ads both on billboards and the
cars. When it rains, you'll see raindrops and vapor trails from the
cars. Overall, SSR is not quite as pretty as Monaco Grand Prix because
many CART tracks aren't as complicated as Formula 1 tracks.
> Naturally, Sega provides gameplayers with a highly playable game
for all ages. The buttons are brake, accel, view change, shift up/down
and steering (various configurations are available). SSR has just
the right combination of arcade feel and simulation reality. At first,
the fact that your car instantly slows to a crawl when you go off course
can seem bothersome. However, I think this is good because it keeps
you from using the grass for short cuts. The game controls very well
with the analog pad even though the racing wheel is the device of choice.
> The music is mostly pop rock with plenty of guitar licks to keep
you listening. However, this is a racing simulation so I prefer the
sound effects. As a result, I turn the music off.
> The sound effects are excellent. You'll hear realistic engine noise,
cars crashing, tires skidding, and cars passing. English voice cues
grace the game throughout as well. One quirk
is the fact that when you skid, the effect sometimes takes a long time
to shut off.
> Even though I prefer Formula 1 tracks overall, SSR has just the
perfect mix of arcade and simulation to keep me interested. The game
never gets bogged down with options even though there are lots of them.
Race length is 3 laps in Arcade mode while you can set it from 5%-100%
in Championship mode. Watching your favorite replays later and comparing
scores/times is just a matter of available backup memory. With Arcade
and Championship modes to play plus a CART license, SSR is the formula
racer of choice (we'll see if Video System's F1 racer can surpass it within