Monday 8 April 2024

Top Racer Classic Collection Review (Switch)

We love QUByte Interactive at Retro 101. There are so many retro games out there that could be lost to history but QUByte have picked out some really interesting ones to release on the Switch. In the past we’ve had SNES games the First Samurai and Legend, and Risky Woods on the Megadrive, along with a host of others. These games might not be massively well known but they are solid and interesting titles that deserve to be kept alive. The Top Racer games also fall into this category.

When the games released on the SNES in Europe they were known as Top Gear but we can assume there’s probably a licensing issue with that name now, so they have reverted back to their original Japanese titles. The collection contains Top Racer 1 and 2, Top Racer 3000 and a sort of Rom hack crossover with Horizon Chase Turbo called Top Racer Crossroads which is the first game with different cars.

What really helps the collection is that the three main games are different enough from each other to feel unique. There are similarities of course, all of the game display in a sort of fake 3D POV with the camera positioned just behind the car and they all take in race locations from around the world (and galaxy in 3000’s case). Your stye of play also won’t need to alter dramatically between them, but there is enough in terms of look and details to give you a choice to make each time you come to the collection.

The first Top Gear uses a split screen display with your car at the top and either the computer or a second player on the bottom. There’s no way to set this so you only have the top screen so get used to looking at half the Switch screen when playing in handheld mode. Once you get used to it though it’s totally fine. Speaking of getting used to things, just remember the frame rate on the SNES is not perhaps what you remember it to be. There is a sense of speed throughout the games but sometimes it does get a bit jerky. Top Gear 2 and 3000 give you a full screen to race around and each ups the graphics considerably, although they also change style, so each game retains its own look and charm.

There are a few options that players can use with the usual filters here if you want to smooth out pixels and you can play around with the screen size and even stretch it wide screen if you want to. This of course simultaneously fills the Switch screen and creates one of the most distorted pictures ever. Remember, the SNES is not a wide screen machine after all. The games themselves have their own graphical flourishes at times with certain weather conditions like rain and snow and the tracks themselves are well designed and remarkably varied throughout.

There are a few other basic extras as well like achievements and an image gallery for the three games. You can also redeem codes which may suggest future skins for cars. Theres meant to be an online mode as well, but we couldn’t find any games on the server. Whether that’s down to it not working properly or not many people playing the game it’s difficult to tell. Either way we couldn’t get a game.

Overall, the Top Racer Collection is great for people like us. We have played the original games on original hardware and aren’t particularly bothered about upgrades in terms of how the games look and play. We also love the fact that games like this are being released on the Switch. If you are like us, you’ll probably love these games as much as you ever did as they do hold up. If you are a newcomer to the series, it may be better to go to the spiritual successor Horizon Chase Turbo.

Overall 7/10

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