How Not to Suck at Street Racing Games

I would have picked out a particular series, but I think the basic principles apply to all of them. Street racing games, often referred to as Arcade Racers, are high octane thrill rides taking place in city streets. The responsible ones will warn you that street racing is both illegal and deadly, then go on to spend hours glorifying it. But anyways! Here are some tips for playing these game successfully.

1. Forget Physics
A common frustration that gamers face regarding arcade racers is the independent interpretations of physics. Though differing slightly in each game, removing the rules of physics makes for a better race. You will be going faster than you should, turning faster than you should, and overall defying logic and reason while taking little to no damage. It’s freeing, really.

2. Never Use the Brakes
This is an overstatement, because occasionally you may want to tap them, in order to slide around a corner. Because of the lack of physics, you don’t have to be concerned that you are turning an SUV while going 90. It may seem like the right choice to slow down to a reasonable speed while threading between cars on the digital interstate, swerving from lane to lane as you race toward that glowing yellow smoke, but resist. No guts, no glory.

3. Use Walls to Turn
This sounds counter-intuitive, and it’s not the best way to race, but it can work in a pinch. The way that the cars take damage and accelerate allow you to gun it on a straight away, turn hard but wide, hit the wall, accelerate and stay in the lead. A better strategy is to use a rival car to turn. They are going to (probably) turn responsibly, and they won’t slow you down as much as a wall. Turn tighter than a rival car, sideswipe them to knock your car into the right direction, and speed ahead. It works very often.

4. Crash Early
This is an inconsistent rule, but it’s worth a try. In my experience, older games will have a better success rate. If you flounder at the beginning, running into things and generally sucking, it can slow down the AI of the other cars. This is true in other racing games like SSX as well. Sandbag at the beginning, then race as solidly as you can till the end. I came across this strategy accidentally, as I would be racing so perfectly that the AI seemed impossible to beat. If I happened to crash early on the same course, I found myself winning by a wide margin. Maybe this is coincidence, but it works for me.

5. Don’t Spend Your Money
You’re going to have a lot of it, and a lot of options. Usually you start with a crap car and slowly race against better cars, and therefore require better cars. Regardless of the specific set-up, try your best to avoid buying any cars or upgrading your car until you absolutely must. I have often poured money into a car only to realize that I will need to buy something completely different to succeed in the next race.

…Did I Mention Forget Physics?
I can’t stress enough that you need to boldly try anything that seems vaguely possible, no matter how improbable. Smash through glass walls to take shortcuts through buildings, try pieces of concrete that almost resemble ramps, drive anywhere it will let you drive. Cut through parking lots, parks, and, in Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition, run into trees. You would think this would slow you down, but instead this is the secret to success. The most important rule in street racing is to go fast and win.

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