Hello again all, and welcome to another entry in the Forgotten Racers series! It’s been a while, but I am back once again with another awesome SEGA classic! It’s time for us to take a trip back to the SEGA System 32 once more to take a look at one of my personal favorite SEGA racers Rad Mobile.
Ready to hit the track?
Rad Mobile was released in 1990/1991 for the SEGA System 32 arcade board and designed by Yu Suzuki. Developed by SEGA-AM2 and published by SEGA, this was a racer I always used to see in arcades.
Rad Mobile is essentially a first-person, cross-country racing game, with the player hopping into an awesome sports car and participating in what is called the Trans-American Speed Race, spanning from Los Angeles to New York.
Some may also remember this game as Sonic the Hedgehog’s first appearance, right before the Genesis game came out. Rad Mobile was also featured a couple times in the 1992 movie Encino Man. I like to think of Rad Mobile as a somewhat quasi-sequel to Turbo OutRun in a way. As much of a stretch as that is, the two share some basics: a cross-country, point-to-point race, and all. I might just be crazy for thinking this, but let’s move on.
In the gameplay department, Rad Mobile takes all the corners perfectly. The basic goal is to pass all the cars and make it to New York in first place. The car handling is done very well, and the computer drivers progress in difficulty just right, with it getting harder and harder to pass cars in the later races. Rad Mobile also added something in arcade racers that I don’t believe I’ve seen back then, actually having to use windshield wipers and headlights.
In certain areas, there will either be no lights or rain coming down, preventing you from seeing the road. This is where the headlights and wipers come in. On the cabinet, usually next to the steering wheel by the start button, there was two extra buttons for these two functions. It was a pretty cool concept and a nice spin on the genre. All in all, Rad Mobile’s gameplay still stands up.
Now this is usually the first point of why I think Rad Mobile kicks ass: its graphics and cabinet design. Rad Mobile is a sprite-based racer, with sprites used to make the road, not unlike Power Drift, GP Rider, and F1 Exhaust Note.
AM2 somehow made the sprite-based graphics look scaled and almost three dimensional at times. Combined with the first-person perspective, and the background and art design, Rad Mobile ranks up there with some of the best sprite-based racers of all time.
All the different stages have their own design and look that makes every area different. The cars look great too, with a super imposed look like SEGA took pictures of real cars and just edited them. In a sense, that just adds to the realism of the game that SEGA was going for.
The cabinet design looked every bit as good, too. Rad Mobile came in two flavors, an upright cabinet and a moving-deluxe cabinet. The upright was cool, and the side art was great, but the deluxe cabinet was the best way to play this game. Almost like OutRun, Rad Mobile’s deluxe cabinet was basically a car that you sat down in, as it hugged the curves, hills and slopes. There was an arcade that I used to go to way back in the day that had a deluxe Rad Mobile that I would play for hours and hours. I even remember the arcade operator watching me get halfway through the game and giving me a couple of extra credits so I could finish it. It was great!
I’m going to touch on another great aspect of Rad Mobile – the soundtrack. As much as you probably never got the chance to hear it from the game in the arcade, Rad Mobile had a great synthesized soundtrack. Composed by Kazuhiko Nagai, Rad Mobile’s music just screamed SEGA 1990’s amazingness. The soundtrack actually got a release in 2011, along with the Power Drift original soundtrack. Some great tunes are here, like Submission & Domination, and the first race’s theme, Soup Up. All around, the music’s great.
Unknown to some, Rad Mobile actually did get a home port, in the form of 1994’s Gale Racer for the SEGA Saturn. This is a pretty good port, minus the controls being a little wonky and that SEGA changed the cars from sprites to 3D models. SEGA actually tried to add a storyline to it, as well, with rival battles and all. Gale Racer is a fairly decent port with some great looking FMVs and an amazing arranged soundtrack.
All in all, Rad Mobile is a great SEGA racer that barely gets any attention these days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in arcades since that long time ago. If you happen to see a random cabinet, whether deluxe or upright, it’s worth the play. This is just an awesome racer with great graphics, an awesome soundtrack and cool design. Honestly, it’s one of the best System 32 games I’ve ever seen.
I hope you guys enjoyed this new addition to the world of Forgotten Racers. As 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 on the track!