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Virtua Racing Deluxe

Available Platform: SEGA 32X

Virtua Racing is a 3D arcade racing game created by SEGA in 1992.


87/100 based on 6 Editorial reviews. Add your vote

OS supportedWin7 64 bit, Win8 64bit, Windows 10
Updated8 September 2023

Game Review

Virtua Racing is a 3D arcade racing game created by SEGA in 1992. Due to its fantastic success, the game was also ported to the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis, thanks to an additional chip (SVP) added to the cartridge. In 1994, the game was finally released for the Sega 32X, an expansion for the Mega Drive that added 32-bit microprocessors to enhance the console's power. The 32X version of the game was called Virtua Racing Deluxe (or VR Deluxe) and was much more faithful to the original arcade version than the initial conversion.

Virtua Racing is considered one of the most influential arcades in history. Specifically designed to harness SEGA's new 3D hardware, the game offered players a revolutionary polygonal 3D graphics experience of unprecedented quality in terms of the cars and the environment. Compared to classic 2D racing games, such as OutRun, the gameplay experience was entirely different. There was also the option to play from four different viewpoints, providing an awe-inspiring effect. In short, it was a true milestone in racing games. The gameplay, of course, is very arcade-oriented, even though the cars are Formula 1; it's not a simulation game. The various tracks, all designed with intricate details, were tailored for increasing difficulty levels.

It took two years to convert the game for the Mega Drive, which was theoretically impossible given the hardware's limitations. The problem was solved by inserting a chip into the game cartridge, making it possible to create a more advanced 3D game than any other Mega Drive game at the time, but also significantly more expensive. Nevertheless, there are numerous differences from the arcade version; the polygons are much simpler, and the resolution is lower. The Genesis had a resolution of 256x240 pixels, but it was decided to use only 192 pixels in height and leave the rest black to lighten the rendering while the colors were limited to 15. However, thanks to the addition of the chip, it was possible to achieve 6500 polygons per second, not bad.

In the same year, in November 1994, coinciding with the release of the SEGA 32X console (or rather, the 32X expansion for the Genesis/Mega Drive), Virtua Racing Deluxe was also released, which was the 32X version of Virtua Racing. Thanks to the powerful 32X hardware, the improvements to the game were significant. The resolution was slightly larger, 320x240, still using 192 pixels in height. The game was also using more than 256 colors. The polygons displayed per second were also much higher, and the car models were more detailed and realistic. Although it didn't reach the 30fps of the arcade version, the 32X version comfortably reached 20fps, providing excellent smoothness.

While it's true that Virtua Racing wasn't the first 3D racing game - Hard Drivin', for example, preceded it by several years - it was SEGA's arcade that popularized this technology and paved the way for all the racing games that would come in the future. In particular, SEGA created many other 3D racing arcades, from Daytona USA to Sega Rally Championship. Unfortunately, only VR Deluxe saw the light on the 32X.

Note: To emulate the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis 32X, we used the Kega Fusion emulator, which is currently unavailable for Mac, so the game is only available for Windows.

Review by: Manu
Published: 9 September 2023 10:36 pm

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