5 Retro Car Games You’ll Love to Play Again
1nsane was launched by Invictus and threw a whole new light on off-road racing. Players were no longer constrained by pre-defined tracks – instead, they raced in vast settings ranging from North America, Asia, and Europe. You also got the option of letting the game randomly generate the environment for an extra pinch of unpredictability.
The gameplay was wrapped around nine events – Jamboree, Capture The Flag, Return The Flag and Gate Hunt, just to name a few, and each win helped you unlock new classes of cars and competitions.
Get it on GOG.
Pros: countless hours of fun, realistic graphics (including car damage)
Cons: some vehicles were fictional, others inspired from real-life cars and named differently
Keeping the no rules, no nothing theme alive, we present you Ignition. Everything was allowed on this game’s harsh circuits, from the use of shortcuts to knee-jerk moves like pushing your competitors off a cliff. Oh, and we absolutely loved playing with the monster truck. And the school bus. Yes, you could race one.
And in case you thought you were too good for the AI, then you could call a friend and play the two-player, split-screen mode from the same keyboard.
Get it on GOG.
Pros: wide range of cars for every style, awesome graphics, exciting gameplay
Cons: we can’t think of any
Interstate ’76 (1997)
This one’s a very dear game to us. The action takes place in the American Southwest and the year is 1976. A crime-filled, deep recession-struck 1976 with a Mad Max twist. You play as Groove Champion – an auto-vigilante that looks to avenge his dead sister.
Important detail: your car is a 425-horsepower 1972 Picard Piranha fitted with 50-caliber machine guns.
AND a flamethrower. Now go get ‘em, cowboy! Available on GOG.
Pros: beautiful story and narratives, cool cars, cinematic ambiance
Cons: again, we can’t think of any
Controversial? Yes. Gory? Yes. Weird? Of course. But equally awesome? You bet. This was Carmageddon, a game where you abused fellow competitors in every possible way and earned precious time to do that by smashing into pedestrians and, well, killing them.
23 cars are waiting for you, ready to crash and burn, with each of them being created and fitted with the tools of destruction you’ll normally need in a demolition derby.
Available on GOG.
Pros: innovative concept, explosive action, can be played as a car racing game (why would you want that, though?)
Cons: not the best graphics compared to similar-genre games of its era.
Colin McRae Rally (1998)
The game with the most realistic feel out of this bunch was named after Scottish rally legend Colin McRae, who once famously said: “when in doubt, flat out”! It is also the game that spawned the Dirt franchise in more recent years.
Colin McRae pioneered the rally sports racing game genre with its lineup of real cars and real drivers – Colin McRae’s iconic Subaru Impreza was even featured on the game’s cover.
Players could choose from three levels of difficulty and were given the chance to repair and fine-tune any rally car in the Service Area. Get it on Abandonware.
Pros: realistic everything, intense action, McRae-narrated tutorials
Cons: might be hard to digest by the average car game player, no technical specs for the cars
What’s your favorite retro car game and why? Give us a shout in the comments section below.