Rad Racer

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North American box art.

Rad Racer is a car racing game developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the NES on 1987-08-07. The game was clearly designed to try and capture some of the success of OutRun, however, Rad Racer had poorly-working 3D before Sega brought it to OutRun!

In the game you can choose to drive either a Ferrari 328 or a Formula 1 car across eight roads in different locales around the world. The roads are filled with other drivers and have sharp turns that will cause you skid off the road and into obstacles if you aren't careful. If you choose the Ferrari for your vehicle, each road will have a different car for you to pass including the Volkswagen Beetle, Chevrolet Corvette, Citroën, Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini Diablo, Lotus, Porsche 911, and the Ferrari Testarossa.


I'm not sure if I played Rad Racer before or after I saw it in The Wizard, probably after, but I'm pretty confident I first saw anything about it in The Official Nintendo Player's Guide. I think I first played it when my step-brother brought it over with him when he came to visit. Either way, I remember it being very hard, and, on my first couple attempts, I couldn't even finish the first stage. After several tries, I got good enough to get to the third, maybe fourth track, but I've never cared enough for the game to really try and beat it.

I own the game, but have not beaten it.


Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
3 4 5 3 5

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The various backgrounds are quite attractive.
  • The game has a nice variety of cars you're racing against. Too bad you can't drive any of them.
  • Like OutRun, the game lets you change the radio station, even while driving, but, unlike OutRun, the music isn't that great.


  • It's disappointing that there is only ever a single type of car on the road at any given time. I know this is a constraint of the NES, but it's still a shame.
  • The F1 machine drives identically to the 328 Twin Turbo, it just uses a different sprite. And, when driving it, all the other cars become boring F1s as well.
  • There is really noticeable sprite flickering on other cars when you near them.
  • The 3D doesn't really work.


  • The game is just too hard. Even with practice, I have a hard time getting past the first few roads.
  • The game isn't that fun either. The first track shows you everything you will see for the rest of the game except the other car graphics.


Box Art




Review - NES Works.


  • Continue: After a game over, hold A and pressing start.
  • Stage Select: Select your vehicle, then press B during the demo. Each press will increase the tachometer and let you start on the next course. Then, hold up+right on the the D-pad and press start.
  • See Ending: Select your vehicle, then press B 64 times (fill the tachometer 8 times), then press up+right on the D-pad and press start.


Role Staff
Executive Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi (not credited)
Programmer Nasir Gebelli (Nasir)
Music and Sound Effects Nobuo Uematsu (not credited)
Sound Programmer Toshiaki Imai (not credited)
Artist Unknown


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Rad Racer
Japanese ハイウェイスター Haiuei Suta Highway Star


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