Top 10 Racing Arcade Games

When it comes to gaming at the cutting-edge, racing titles have always been at the front of the pack.

In the simulation genre, as we witnessed at Red Bull Gridsters, games such as GT5 and Forza 4 are now so unnervingly realistic, it's as close to the real thing as you can get without that awkward risk-of-death business.

Top Brit studio Codemasters joined the ranks of these sim greats when it took on the F1 licence a few years back and turned it into the best video game of the sport we'd ever seen. But that's not the only car in Codies' garage, and last week the sheet was finally whipped off the body of GRID 2, its latest arcade action star.

You can trace GRID's origins back to legendary coin-ops such as Pole Position and OutRun, which inspired the very people who make our favourite racers today. And while we're in the mood for a good sniff of petrol and some thick stains on our overalls (it's oil, honest), let's take a look at the best of the best in the arcade showroom.

Race Driver: GRID

Codemasters' original, dramatic take on the established TOCA series emerged in 2008. Taking advantage of the powerful Ego engine, it cemented the studio's reputation as British racing champ.

OutRun 2

Updating the iconic, hugely influential 1986 classic was always going to be a risky business. But Sega turned in one of the great arcade racers, built around a brilliantly designed drift mechanic, which Sumo Digital converted expertly onto consoles.

Crazy Taxi

Eye-searingly colourful, ear-splittingly noisy and stomach-churningly breakneck, the combination of speed, stop-start action and the lurching boost mechanic earn Sega's greedy fare-grabber a spot in the racing pantheon.

MotorStorm Apocalypse

One of the best, and most underappreciated, racing series of the PS3 era, Apocalypse turned everything up to 11 – and then threw an earthquake in for good measure.

Blur

The game that sunk one of the greatest racing game makers of all. Maybe it was the weird combination of street racing with Mario Kart power-ups that confused gamers, but those who did invest in it were treated to a multiplayer masterclass.

Project Gotham Racing 4

Before Blur flopped and Activision shuttered Bizarre Creations, it built its reputation on the real streets of the world's most famous cities in the ultimate street racer.

WipEout HD

If Gran Turismo is Sony's definitive PlayStation racing sim, then WipEout is its arcade equivalent. The futuristic visuals, trippy dance music and supersonic speeds made this series one of Sony's most distinctive. And as the razor-sharp PS3 update proved, it's as exciting today as it ever was.

Ridge Racer 7

Namco's classic roadster is another to enjoy a hugely successful relationship with PlayStation over the years, while more recently tearing it up on every other platform it can screech its tyres onto.

Split/Second

Like Blur, Black Rock's ambitious, visually stunning action racer failed commercially and brought a talented studio down with it. A crying shame, since it was one of the freshest, most impressive entries in the genre for ages.

Driver: San Francisco

Who saw this coming? Not me. An un-hyped update to a tired old franchise produced arguably the most innovative new game mechanic in a blockbuster game in 2011. If you missed it at the time, you could do a lot worse than take it for a spin now.

 


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