Strangely underwhelming Nintendo 64 racing games are on our minds at the moment. And this one from 1997 is a curious case indeed.
The History of MRC: The N64’s Second Racer
When MRC launched in mid-1997, it was the only racing alternative on the console to the critical disaster Cruis’n USA.
From Japanese developer Genki, for the time it was quite a slick and accomplished looking racing game. Although it didn’t do a good job at simulating speed.
However, we rented it at the end of 1997 from Blockbuster and quite enjoyed its rigid sense of racing fun.
But there’s a massive, relentless, glaring, and bizarre problem. And that is this…
There are only three tracks. For a £50+ game, is that worth your money? Not really. Oh well, here’s one of them.
Three tracks!? How is that even legal? Well, wait for it, as Genki did the impossible and provided a mirror mode.
So once you complete the game, it essentially means there are six tracks. In the words of Hudson from Aliens, “Well, whoop dee fucking do.”
Along with Aero Gauge and Cruis’n USA, MRC fits the bill as one of the console’s many disappointing racers.
As developers really did struggle to make it work on the Nintendo 64. The same goes for fighting games and beat ’em ups.
What the console did excel at is platformers and FPSs—of which there were many fantastic titles to choose from.
However, early on in the console’s life it was somewhat bereft of games. So that means many folks, having forked out £250 for the thing, may well have bought MRC for the sake of it.
And the result? Well, it’s one very short game. Done and over with before you can barely blink.
We can’t find an explanation online for why there are only three tracks. We can only guess on that. Conjecture doesn’t hurt, eh?
Perhaps Genki wanted to swoop in and launch a title whilst the console had little going on? That’s our best bet.
And if that’s the case, it’s a case of laziness and cash grabbing that fuelled the decision.
The studio wouldn’t get away with that now. And the gaming press back in the late ’90s was very kind on the developer and its product.
Reviews were pretty solid. Most, of course, lamented the short nature of the experience.
To be fair, there are the usual game modes present. Grand Prix, time trails, multiplayer action, and a “God car” option against difficult competitors.
But it’s kind of irrelevant when you’ll tire so rapidly of the handful of tracks available.
The lesson here? Design more than three tracks for your racing game.