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Forgotten Racers of SEGA’s Past: SEGA Touring Car Championship

Hey guys!  Kusanagi 765 back again after a long awaited return, ready with another entry in the world of Forgotten Racer of SEGA’s Past.

I know it’s been too long, but I’m back again with more racing awesomeness! If you remember my last submission, I took a look at SEGA Super GT, a great SEGA Model 3 racer. To continue the theme of Model 2-3 racers, this time I’m going to be looking at a personal favorite out of the SEGA Model 2-3 Racers; SEGA Touring Car Championship. Ready to go?

1065859666SEGA Touring Car Championship was developed and released in 1996 for the famed SEGA Model 2 arcade board by the SEGA-AM3 group. Loosely based on the DTM touring car championship, SEGA Touring Car Championship was one of SEGA’s second games to include a licensed car selection based on real racing cars of the time. You had the choice of a Alfa Romeo 155,  a Toyota Supra GT, a Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Class, and an Opel Calibra V6.

The premise of SEGA Touring Car is that you actually are competing in a touring car championship. You have three races, with two bonus courses afterwards if you win and have to place as high as possible to gain enough points to stay in competition. Simplistic, yet complex in a way, Touring Car had a good example of a single player arcade experience.

1307041341-00Gameplay was spot on when it came to this one. The cars handle great, the course design is cool and the AI actually puts up a decent amount of competition. It seems like the AI may have been based on actual GT drivers of the time. The car handling is done pretty good as well, with a little of Daytona/SEGA Rally style drifting thrown in for fun. In a nutshell, SEGA Touring Car’s gameplay is great.

Visually, Touring Car is one of the best looking Model 2 games I’ve seen to date. The cars are modeled amazingly, reflections on the windows look great and altogether the graphics look awesome. The frame-rate is fast as well, I believe Touring Car runs at a blazing 60 FPS. This game shocks me as having so much detail running at that type of speed would be tough to do. The courses are very detailed and great to look at, and so are the cars. Touring Car’s visuals look great to this day.

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Now we’re getting to my favorite part of SEGA Touring Car Championship – it’s audio. Touring Car’s sound is great, the cars sound like they should, the sound effects are clear and loud and put together, give you a great audio representation of touring car racing. But, the best part of this game, is its soundtrack.

For SEGA Touring Car, SEGA actually licensed music from Avex Mode, who licensed a lot of eurobeat artists of the time. Touring Car’s soundtrack is part of what made it awesome; a kicking eurobeat soundtrack, some awesome original tracks from Hiro (The same composer that made music for almost everything SEGA from at least from the mid-’80s to the ’90s), and some great touring car racing. It was the perfect combination.

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The interesting thing about SEGA Touring Car was that it actually got a home port back in 1997 for the SEGA Saturn. It was a decent effort, though something was lost in the control department. The graphics and presentation were great, but the handling was all off. The only way to play the Saturn port and actually enjoy it was to get the 3D control pad.  Another racer suffered the same fate, but I’ll save that one for another day. Otherwise, it’s a somewhat good port. They also added the Celica and Delta from SEGA Rally to that version – pretty cool stuff.

In closing, SEGA Touring Car Championship is a great, pick-up-and-play racing game. The presentation is done amazingly well, the car selection’s great and the soundtrack has awesome production value, as well. If you ever see it in an arcade, I’d say give it a shot. The Saturn port’s going pretty cheap nowadays too, if you’re willing to try that version and have a 3D control pad. Touring Car’s worth it, at least for the soundtrack alone.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some ’90s racin’ to do! As per usual, make sure to leave your feedback in the comments below. If there is any idea of a SEGA released racing game or a racing game on a SEGA console you’d like to be featured in a future Forgotten Racers, you can always comment or reach me on my Twitter handle, @Kusanagi765. Have a great day, and I’ll see you all out on the track!

Jayson Lamp

Resident SEGA racer expert of sorts,been playing them since OutRunners. Writer of the Forgotten Racers series,among other things. Favorite SEGA series is Hang-On,and my favorite console is the Saturn. "Welcome to our exciting circuit. Do your best,and good luck!!"-Power Drift,1988

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