Rad Racer II

I’m ready for an Amazing Race around the…..wait, where am I going again?

Review Date: April 22, 2021

Release Date: June 1, 1990

Platform: NES

Publisher: Square

Genre: Racing

Anecdotes: I know what people were thinking. “Wait. There was a Rad Racer II? When did that happen?” Believe it or not, yes, there was a Rad Racer II. It came out in 1990. Unlike many other “II” games, Rad Racer II didn’t experiment too much with the formula used in the first game. They did make a few changes, but the positives and negatives cancel out, so the game is about even with its predecessor.

Description: The Rad Racer, whoever that is, has to reach checkpoints and finish tracks within an established time limit.


-Credit to Square. The graphics in the game are outstanding. I enjoy their visual presentation. The color choices are perfect; the night tracks can’t look any better. There are mountains, one set of which have either snow or fog hovering nearby. I have to give Square credit for working their own name into the game in the Las Vegas track. The only flaw I saw was the light blue outline of the scenery of track 4.

Course 5 has the skyline of Las Vegas. I can’t say it’s realistic, but it looks really, really good, especially the left side with the Ferris wheel and Square sign.

-As a weather person, I love how they used more than just sunny or mostly sunny skies in their tracks. Track 3 has a sky full of altostratus clouds instead of the typical cumulus clouds used in outdoor areas. Track 8 actually looks like a storm is coming. While I didn’t see any changes while a track was in progress, it is great to see more than just blue skies, with or without a cumulus cloud here and there.

Layers of clouds hover over track 3.

-I like the reduction in checkpoints. Each track now has 3 areas (incorrectly called “laps” in the game) instead of 4, plus they took out that silliness where the car flips when it hits ANYTHING. Instead the car just spins out, then can restart faster. To counter that, though, Square made acceleration slower.

Each track has 2 checkpoints. In this case, I only made it to the first one.


-It appears the “enemy” cars have become much more skilled at ramming and blocking out the Rad Racer. Track 7, set on the blue streets of the ever booming town of Twilight, CA, especially has cars that will cause all sorts of crashes. Perhaps this was to simulate what driving in California is really like.

-Because this game was limited to North America only, Square chose to change kilometers per hour to miles per hour. I don’t think this change was necessary, and it certainly doesn’t appear to affect the speeds on the track. It still looks exactly the game, even though 100 MPH is much faster than 100 km/h. There’s nothing wrong with using kilometers, but if they felt the US wouldn’t go for it, they could have just left units off entirely.


Course 1 complete! Can the car swim? I’ll drive into the ocean.
What a barren landscape this is.
I don’t know it that’s snow or fog, but it’s really good attention to detail.
I think there may be a storm brewing at the start of course 8.

Final Opinion: Graphically, I was impressed. I was also impressed with Square’s attention to detail. The gameplay is a bit more challenging, but if a cartridge can be bought somewhere, it’s worth a look.

Grade: B

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