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Game Review #363: Sega Ages - Virtua Racing (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed By: The Waffinator (Bradford E.)

Developer: M2

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: 6.27.2019

Genre: Arcade, Multiplayer, Racing, Sports

Price (at time of Review): $7.99

Buy Sega Ages - Virtua Racing from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Historical Preservation

As time passes by, many games will get created and played and in the long run forgotten. As we grow older, technology evolves and thus allows the creation of games we could only imagine before in our wildest dreams. But what happens to the games that we may have grown up with, what happens when their time has passed? Do they get forgotten, just take up space on the shelf if you are into collecting, or will they once again get to see the light of day and bring all kinds of gamers old and new together? Well M2 is a Japanese company that specializes in emulation and ports, and thanks to them the Sega classic Virtua Racing is getting a second chance by being ported to the Nintendo Switch as part of the Sega Ages series.

Start Your Engines

Virtua Racing was originally released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive console back in 1994. So, how does the 2019 port of it stack up, and does it stand a chance of standing out? Well, for starters a lot of Switch players grew up when Sega was relevant even if they may have been playing SNES (I was totally Team Sega) so this game right off the bat brings a lot of nostalgia for us “old timers". Additionally, M2 was able to up the framerate to 60fps and upgrade to the 16:9 ratio. Also with it being ported to the Switch they were able to offer online multiplayer for up to two players, you and someone else. If you are playing locally you can play up to 8 players!

It still offers the single player mode with 3 tracks to choose from “Big Forest" is the easier course, “Bay Bridge” is the medium difficultly track, and “Acropolis” is a hard difficulty style track. If you manage to come in 1st you will “beat the game" and get your medal and your total track time gets posted online to see where you stand against all other players of the game. If not, it will be game over for you, and you will need to Insert Coin (not literally) to try it again. For me it took a bit getting used to and I want to say at least 5-10 good races to figure it out well enough to beat it. It really is like the arcade style version where if you don’t get to certain checkpoints within the allotted time it will be game over for you.

Power Steering

The controls are super simple; more basic than most racing games to be honest. You can steer, accelerate, and brake. You don't have to worry about e-brake or nitro or pressing any other buttons to drift. Just good old fashioned drive and go fast! All you need to worry about is what place you are in, making some of those sharp corners, and getting to the checkpoints in time. Also because it is also on the Switch it states that it uses the tilt controls of the Joy-Cons. I, however, did not test this out simply because I hate using single Joy-Cons for the fact of how tiny the Joy-Con is alone.

The Roar of Engines on the Open Road

For the graphics and audio of the game they did a very good job of sticking to the original version while upping the framerate to 60 FPS from the original which was 30 FPS. Also while docked it's a stunning 1080P and in handheld mode is 720P and honestly for being an older game looks better than a lot of newer games I have played. As for the audio the sound matches perfectly to the updated graphics. I like that while racing you mostly hear the engine and the rubber of the tires on the pavement, however as you reach checkpoints you get a quick music snippet which kind of gets you revved up and wanting to go faster. While selecting what you want to play from the main menu or what race you want to run from the track menu you have the original arcade style sound effects and spokeswomen talking.

Final Thoughts

This game is a perfect port and a fine example of how ports should be done. You have everything you love from the original combined with today's features (online rankings, online racing, multiplayer fun, and the portability of the Switch) and today's graphical and sound capabilities. This game is hands-down a great port and fun for all ages, especially us older folks that really love that nostalgic value. The only thing that could have made this game better - if it could've even been done – would be to add some more tracks and cars. Even if it was the ones that were released for the Sega Saturn version. For $8 this game is worth adding to the library even if it is for casual playing and if you're against digital only games.

Score: 9/10

Buy Sega Ages - Virtua Racing from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Sega

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