Al Unser Jr.’s Turbo Racing is one of a handful of racing sims to grace our beloved NES and among the least enjoyable.
The different modes include Time Trial Mode A, Mode B, and World Grand Prix Championship. You’ll have to practice in the Time Trial Modes because it’s impossible to beat your competition’s time in the Championship. Practice, practice, practice – but even then, you probably won’t win. If you could win, Turbo Racing might feel like a worthwhile endeavor, but the lack of progression means you’ll either keep trying out of frustration or give up out of sheer boredom. Are we having fun yet?
Perhaps Al Unser Jr. would know how to answer that question. If you play as Mr. Unser in the game, you start with the best car and have the best chances of winning. So there’s that. At least steering your car feels natural, but since it’s so difficult to win, steering hardly matters.
The point of a racing sim is to make races appear difficult at first until you practice enough and a once unconquerable challenge becomes doable (see Gran Turismo). Practicing with your car should be fun and provide a sense of accomplishment. Unless you’re willing to race as Al Unser all day, every day, his licensed brand of Turbo Racing provides neither.
PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Data East GENRE: Racing
RELEASE DATE: 01/31/89 – (JP), 03/1990 – (US), 1991 – (EU)