Released in 1990
Developed by Square
Genre: 3-D Racing Sequel
Popularity Level: Arizona Diamondbacks
Leonardite Rating: Satisfyingly Spectacular

I think it’s just because you are all incredibly lazy. Maybe it’s because your tastes changed. Perhaps you were morally opposed to the conversion from blocky NES Sports Series cartridge label to mainstream, rock star-cool race driver label. No matter what it was, you all missed the boat big time by skipping out on Rad Racer II. Don’t even try and convince me that you invested any significant time into this game, because I know it’s a complete lie. Having picked up the game one time doesn’t count as being familiar with it and neither does having the game in your collection but never playing it. Knowing more than 50% of the screenplay to Days of Thunder DOES count for some strange reason however, so if you can recite the lines of early-nineties heartthrob Cole Trickle, than you have no reason to read on about a game that you already know by heart.

For those of you not in the know, Rad Racer II was the follow-up to the NES sensation, Rad Racer. When I label Rad Racer a “sensation,” that simply means that Nintendo produced the game themselves so an inordinate amount of children bought it because they thought that A) Miyamoto was forcing them to or B) Because Nintendo Power magazine had convinced them that buying Nintendo games, not smoking cigarettes and recreationally gambling, was going to make them cool.

After the Nintendo Corporation had made their mint off of the original, it was decided that the license would be whored out to a third party developer for the sequel. If you are one of the people who have partaken of this title, I’m sure that you have joined me in celebrating this shameless display of corporate prostitution.

What Rad Racer II lacks in Formula One cars, it makes up for in Gum Ball Crashes. Sure, the Rad Racer purists would probably argue that the choice of only one car detracts from the experience, but these people are too busy licking the computer screen while instant messaging their internet girlfriends to make the argument.

By the same token, what Rad Racer II lacks in international diversity, it makes up in good old-fashioned jingoistic pride. Rad Racer took us to a lot of boring and irrelevant locations such as Greece. Rad Racer II, by contrast, gives us a chance to ride with the Reaper as Bay Bridge, an earthquake fatality scene just a year earlier, is presented as a glee-filled joyride that is nothing but smiles for the whole family. And the most famous and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War is forgotten as Pennsylvania turns in its cannons and cemeteries for a kick-ass drag strip. If I am choosing racing locations, I would definitely shirk the international scene for the opportunity to race across disaster sites such as the Bay Bridge and Gettsyburg any day.

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to the game, I’m not going to provide it, since there is already a good one available on the internet. What you need to know from me about this game is two things: First of all, the original came with a set of red and blue 3-D glasses to wear while playing the game. This was done possibly to make the cars appear more lifelike, but was more likely included as a Halloween prop for 80’s children to dress up as the Steve Miller band. It was only in retrospect that we learned that this super-hip eyewear was single-handedly responsible for the dramatic spike in teenage pregnancy during the 1980’s. Rad Racer II does NOT come with a set of these chick magnets, so you’re going to have to resort to Michael Jordan cologne and a stash of old Zack Morris lines to pick up girls.

The other thing that needs to be noted is that Rad Racer II features a soundtrack that rivals nearly anything that Jefferson Starship or A-Ha ever dreamed up. While “Coast to Coast” and “Gum Ball Crash” were songs that I’m sure many teenage couples (Boy and R.obotic O.perating B.uddy) utilized for make-out sessions, the real option was “Sing Yourself.” While the game could have named this option “none,” “silence,” or “We don’t want to offend the unfortunate deaf kids,” they instead commanded the children of America to sing themselves. I’m not sure what happens if you play and you don’t sing, but I’m terrified to try it out. Sometimes I think that I will test the game and not sing, but then I get nervous as the game starts and resort to belting out Eddie Murphy’s “Boogie in Your Butt” just to be safe.

Bottom Line:

To be brief, this game is a lot of fun and certainly a good challenge. While the game is light on three-dimensional technology it is heavy on the user’s ability to croon songs about the gluteus maximus. To be honest, that’s really all I’m asking for in a video game or publicly-provided educational experience. Pick it up today!

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3-D glasses allowed seventies rock stars to exacerbate their LSD highs while on-stage. They also claimed to let people view things on a TV screen in three-dimensions.

ABOVE: The big guy from Braveheart turns in his trident, a three-pronged soul-remover, for 3-D glasses, three-dimensioned smile-bringers.

Taken from a review of Rad Racer II:
"I really wish more games would include a song select feature like this one, as it prevents you from being forced to listen to a song you absolutely hate. The songs all dramatically vary in style too, so if you really, really hate one of the two songs, you are bound to like the other one. "

Yes, ALL two of the songs DRAMATICALLY vary in style. And I'd like to try and poke holes in his theory that we are "bound" to like one of the songs included, but I have yet to meet a person who doesn't have an mp3 of "Gum Ball Crash" downloaded onto their computer.

A sampling of Eddie Murphy's "Boogie in Your Butt":
Step aside my friend
I been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears
Say, put a tree in your butt
Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Say, put some fleas in your butt
Say, start to sneeze in your butt
Say, put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Say, put a light in your butt
Say, make it right in your butt
Say, put a TV in your butt
Say, put me in your butt

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