Now, when I saw an advertisement looking for feature writers at SEGA Nerds, I figured I’d give it a shot. I had an idea for a column about SEGA arcade racers that were completely forgotten about over the years.
I wrote my article, sent it to the SEGA Nerds email, and got a positive response from Chris. So, here is said article, and the first in a series I like to call “Forgotten Racers of SEGA’s Past.”
In this first edition, I take a look at F1 Exhaust Note, a great Formula 1 racer from 1991.
Now, when you think SEGA Formula 1 games, what do you think of? Super Monaco GP? Virtua Racing? In my case, I think of F1 Exhaust Note.
F1 Exhaust Note was an arcade Formula 1 racing game released in 1991, for the SEGA System 32 arcade board, the same board that housed OutRunners, Rad Mobile and StadiumCross. I like to think of it as SEGA’s answer to Pole Position and Final Lap.
You race a Formula 1 car, which looks strangely similar to the Ferrari/McLaren F1 machines that were being used around that time, on a slightly modified version of the course from GP Rider. It’s your basic position based arcade racer, borrowing the point system from GP Rider, as well. (Which makes sense considering GP Rider was released one year earlier.) It’s still great to this very day.
The cabinet had a nice finish, complete with gas, brake, and paddle shifters, which would become common after Super Monaco GP. The interesting thing about this machine was the fact that it was one of SEGA’s first sit-down twin driving cabinets, with link-up compatibility as well. This was way before the days of two-player Virtua Racing and eight-player Daytona cabs.
The cabinet was encased in smooth-looking silver plastic, with some awesome Formula 1 artwork on the side and a sweet looking dark-blue dashboard. It was an all-out nice looking cab.
The game ran great, as well. It really gave the sense of speed of a Formula 1 racer for the time and had the perfect balance of over-steer and under-steer. It felt like driving a real F1 machine. The paddle shifting added to the experience. SEGA always knew what they were doing with their arcade racing games. Somehow, the handling was always perfect, and the frame-rate was good too, running at what seemed like 50-60 frames per second. It ran fast regardless. What a rush!
The music was every bit as great as the gameplay, with a lot of synth guitars thrown it, which the System 32 board did well. The soundtrack was only two songs, but they sounded AWESOME. Mixed with the sound of the cars, this game sounded great audibly. Sound is a good factor when it comes to SEGA’s arcade racers. It almost sounds like they recorded the engine noise from a real car.
Graphically, F1 Exhaust Note is a beauty to look at, featuring big sprites for the cars and roadside objects, great animation on the backfire of the muffler – it’s a marvel to look at. Additionally, the game has the same type of road design that was used in Power Drift, Rad Mobile and GP Rider, where multiple sprites were used to make up the road. That’s not a bad thing though. The game still looks good to this very day.
I just don’t think F1 Exhaust Note gets mentioned enough as it should. It was one of SEGA’s great early racers, easily overshadowed by the rest. F1 Exhaust Note looks great, sounds great, plays great and is one of my all-time favorite SEGA racers.
The game had a sequel as well, with official Formula 1 courses and teams. An underrated game in my opinion, F1 Exhaust Note is worth a play if you ever see it in an arcade. Who knows? You could really enjoy it as I did.
I hope you guys and gals enjoyed our first entry in our Forgotten Racers of SEGA’s Past series. Be sure to let me know if you have any suggestions for other overlooked SEGA racers. I’ll see you next time!