I've never been to a single race circuit myself, but I do love me some racing games. There's just something undeniably thrilling about driving around a race track at breakneck speed, fighting the competition to get into first place. When you have some good music to listen to while doing that, it just makes things so much sweeter.
Turbo Man Stage - Mega Man 7 (SNES)
Anytime I get the chance to say I really like Mega Man 7, I'm going to take it. Even with bigger sprites, and only four Robot Masters to choose from at the game's beginning, it's still one of my favorite Mega Man games. I especially liked Turbo Man's level, even if one section gave me horrible flashbacks of Quick Man's stage.
Big Surf - Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2, XB, GCN)
Ah, 2003. For me, the year was full of Ikaruga and Burnout 2. I kid you not, I played this game to death. I did everything there was to do in it. I completed the Grand Prix mode and got all golds on Crash mode. It was easily some of the most enjoyment I'd gotten out of a racing game. This was the last Burnout to use original music. Starting with Burnout 3, the series would go forward with licensed tracks, which wasn't bad, but I kind of miss some of series original music.
For the Glory (Mute City) - F-Zero GX (GCN)
The GameCube may have been a commercial failure, but some of Nintendo's greatest games came from this very platform like Pikmin, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime and of course, the retail failure, F-Zero GX. Developed by SEGA's now defunct second party of Amusement Vision, GX is championed as the pinnacle of the F-Zero franchise despite having a difficulty that is on par with the likes of Battletoads. Since SEGA usually always has their ducks in a row when it comes to music, GX's soundtrack is outstanding featuring arrangements of familiar F-Zero tunes along with plenty of brand new songs.
Samurai Rocket - Ridge Racer V (PS2)
A port of the arcade Ridge Racer graced the launch of the original PlayStation in 1994 and in 2000, Ridge Racer V launched alongside the PS2. Even with some jaggies, RRV was still an amazing technical show piece of what Sony's new hardware was capable of.
Club Paris - Metropolis Street Racer (DC)
Bringing some fresh takes on the racing genre at the time, Metropolis Street Racer's street racers took place in real time in the cities of Tokyo, London and San Francisco using the Dreamcast's internal clock. The game used a Kudos system that rewarded the player with driving with speed as well as style. Doing shabby in either of those departments deducted from your Kudos score. The soundtrack was scored by famed game composer Richard Jacques so it should go without saying that it's excellent.
Metro Madness - Beetle Adventure Racing! (N64)
The Nintendo 64 was over-saturated with racing games and unless they featured some plumbers or the Blue Falcon, you were probably inclined to ignore most of them. But if you passed on Beetle Adventure Racing, well, you missed out on one of the best games for the system. BAR! let you race as officially licensed Volkswagen Beetle cars on huge, HUGE tracks with tons of hidden shortcuts.
Figure 8 Circuit - Mario Kart DS (DS)
It may look blocky today and snaking may have killed the online racing, but Mario Kart DS is still one of my favorite entries in the series. The second portable Mario Kart brought even more characters than Super Circuit and some of the most creative track designs the series has ever seen like the psychedelic Waligi Pinball course. I'd love to hear a remix of this theme in Super Smash Bros. 4.
Outride a Crisis - Super Hang-On (ARC)
SEGA dished out a ton of arcade hits back in the day, like OutRun, Space Harrier and or course Super Hang-On. There were no forks in the road like OutRun so this made the racing much more liner, but Super Hang-On gave you a greater sense of speed since you were riding on motorcycles. You could also choose your music track. There are only four tunes to choose from and while they all sound great, this one is probably the best of the lot. I also recommend the Mickey Arrange Version as it is absolutely sick.
Fantasy Meadows - Kirby Air Ride (GCN)
The GameCube got some of it's best games in 2003. Ikaruga, F-Zero GX, The Wind Waker, Viewtiful Joe (later ported to the PS2), Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Kirby Air Ride. While Air Ride may seem like an overly simplified game compared to F-Zero GX and Double Dash!!, one could make the argument that Air Ride offers far more to do than both those two games combined. The Checklist offers a myriad of goals for you to shoot for and it could take years before you see everything this game has to offer. And as simple as it is, Air Ride is a whole lot of fun.
Greatfall in the Sky - Daytona USA 2001 (DC)
Released in the West as simply Daytona USA, this was more of an update than a full blown sequel. This was the first Daytona game that I played and after getting used to the twitchy controls, Daytona USA become one of my favorite Dreamcast titles.
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