The Sega Saturn is an underappreciated console. It always has been and was simply a console caught up in Sega’s desire for arcade-perfect ports of 2D games. This was whilst up-and-coming disruptors to the console market, Sony, was focused on a 3D powerhouse console called the PlayStation.
However, Sega did manage to squeeze in some hardware to the Saturn that enabled a good number of both 2D and 3D games. The racing game genre is one that benefited from these late hardware developments, and who more than Sega had a better selection of arcade racing games to port to its Saturn console.
Here are 5 of the best Sega Saturn Racing Games:
1. OutRun (Sega Ages Volume 1)
OutRun for the Sega Saturn arrived as part of the Sega Ages Volume 1 compilation disc in 1996. Sega Ages Volume 1 proved a revelation for Saturn users as it gave virtually arcade-perfect versions of After Burner 2, Space Harrier and of course OutRun.
Everything from the original arcade game is here, plus some additional features. Sega Saturn OutRun benefits from an enhanced 60fps mode as well as a remixed soundtrack (which is only available in the Japanese version of the standalone game).
OutRun has always been a fan favourite, as well as a staple part of Sega’s history, and continues to be to this day. It is certainly considered one of the best Sega Saturn racing games.
2. Sega Rally Championship
Sega Rally Championship is an absolute must-have for the Saturn and a game that wowed users back in 1995. Sega Rally is an arcade port and a damn fine one at that.
Whilst not being an arcade-perfect port like OutRun (due to the arcade being the much higher spec Model 2), Sega Rally Championship absolutely nails the gameplay of the arcade original.
Compromises have been made with the graphics in terms of draw distances, textures, etc but the game retains its blend of arcade and realism, making it a Sega Saturn classic.
3. F1 Challenge
F1 Challenge is an officially licensed Formula 1 game for the Sega Saturn. Like with many Sega Saturn racing games, F1 Challenge is more of a semi-realistic arcade racer than a pure simulation. It limits itself to being able to play as one of five drivers and to race on only three real-life circuits, with a further three fictional tracks.
Not an absolute Sega Saturn racing game classic, but in retrospect, F1 Challenge provides a rare blend of licensed F1 action with arcade elements.
4. Daytona USA: (Championship Circuit Edition)
Daytona USA was first released on the Sega Saturn in 1995 but unfortunately suffered from a number of graphical issues which were thankfully rectified in the 1996 revision, Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition.
The improvements make Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition a much more well-rounded version of Daytona on the Sega Saturn, although sadly the original ‘DAYTOOONAAAA’ soundtrack is missing!
An alternative Japanese version of the game, called Daytona USA Championship Edition is another worthwhile mention since it retains the original soundtrack and has the graphical / frame rate issues of the original rectified as well.
5. Manx TT Superbike
Manx TT Superbike is another arcade conversion from Sega, but this time focussing on two-wheel racing rather than four!
Right off the bat it looks great and has that classic Sega racing game arcade design and sound.
As with many motorbike games, controls on a standard D-Pad can be tricky (the Sega Saturn 3D pad helps with this), but the game does a solid enough job of converting the ride-on arcade game down to the joypad.
If you’re after a quality bike racing game on the Sega Saturn, then look no further than Manx TT Superbike.
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).