The Best Sega Saturn Racing Games

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Despite being one of Sega's less successful consoles, the Saturn was beloved by fans for its cool innovations and awesome library of titles. The Saturn had a small, but refined, library of excellent games that fans still enjoy today. One of the genres that saw amazing releases on the console were racing games.

Titles like WipEout 2097 and F1 Challenge remain as some of the best arcade racers to date. While the technology of the Saturn may have lagged behind a bit, the gameplay definitely did not. These titles beautifully mixed realistic racing with arcade fun for some of the most enjoyable games ever.

WipEout 2097/WipEout XL

Often compared to Nintendo’s F-Zero franchise, WipEout 2097, or WipEout XL as it's known in America and Europe, is an upgrade to the first entry in the franchise. This entry takes the high-speed, zero-gravity racing up a notch with even more dangerous courses and opponents. While the game plays similarly to the original, fans rejoiced at the multiple improvements this entry made to the controls, graphics, and sound.

New weapons were also added to WipEout 2097, such as the Quake Disruptor, a massive weapon that blows opponents away. Fans of the franchise and newcomers alike will fall in love with the significant improvements made in this game to create one of the best high-speed racing titles ever.

F1 Challenge

A Sega Saturn exclusive, F1 Challenge is an officially licensed F1 simulator with all of the bells and whistles. The player can choose from Benetton, Williams, Ferrari, Tyrrell, or McLaren as their playable team with one racer each. There are three real tracks to choose from (Hockenheim, Monaco, and Suzuka) as well as three fictional tracks set in Neo City.

A neat feature of this title is that it supports the Sega Arcade Racer wheel for added realism. While F1 Challenge is a little lacking as far as racers and tracks, it makes up for this with fantastic gameplay. Reviewers at the time noted that the game rewards perfection, making it a perfect match for racing fans and purists. Altogether, F1 Challenge is an excellent racing sim that steps away from the arcade action of other racers of the time.

Sega Rally Championship

Originally an arcade title, Sega Rally Championship was ported to the Saturn after its massive success in the arcades. While it stayed true to its arcade roots, Sega Rally also has a lot of realism rarely seen in the genre. One of the most significant features is the inclusion of different surfaces to drive on. These can greatly affect how your car controls and demand different driving styles to cope.

There are three main circuits and two cars to choose from, with both an unlockable secret stage and car. These cars can be driven with automatic or manual gears, depending on the player's comfort with each. Manual adds some fun control to the car once the player is over the initial learning curve. Sega Rally Championship comes together to be one of the most authentic racers of the era, giving players the true rally experience on the Sega Saturn.

Sonic R

Sonic R is a strange Sonic racing title that has found some popularity on the internet in the form of CreepyPastas. If you're unfamiliar with the story, users created a creepy story where the Tails Doll character from the game was haunted and would haunt people outside of the game. While that has nothing to do with the gameplay itself, it's a fun bit of trivia about this nearly forgotten Sonic title.

There are ten different Sonic characters to choose from across multiple, easily recognizable stages. The game itself plays similarly to other kart racers of the era, with the notable exclusion of the karts themselves. More than anything, Sonic R is a strange relic of the past but a pretty fun kart racer for fans of the genre.

Manx TT Superbike

Another arcade hit, Manx TT Superbike, was ported to the Sega Saturn to become one of the era's best motorbike racers. The game takes place on the Isle of Man, where there are two courses to compete on. Players can choose from eight different bikes, each with their own unique stats to give players an edge.

There are also three different modes for players to choose from: practice, challenge, and superbike, each offering their own challenges. In order to unlock the superbike mode, players must complete the four challenge courses. Altogether, Manx TT Superbike is an exciting and realistic racer that somewhat lacks in content but excels in thrilling gameplay.

  • Updated March 11, 2021