Gran Chaser

NEXTECH, SEGA, 1995, Japan, SEGA Saturn

Summary: 6 of 10

Gran Chaser is a very early game which has been released short after the Saturn itself. Unlike DaytonaUSA, it did have a 2 player mode.
The focus is not on realistic racing, instead it's style can be compared with WipeOut, although it's not that fast and the music is not that cool, too.
This japanese version features a story mode with strange characters.
Every track got a simple and a more difficult version. A bonus track is offered after completion. Up to 5 rockets(+ boost and shield) can be collected from the road and shoot onto opponents.
The vehicles are not usual cars with wheels, but cyber sleds flying short above the ground. Little explosions can accelerate your sled or push it to the left and right.
For an early game, the graphics are good. If you like the type of racing game you might enjoy it for a while.

Graphics: 6 of 10

Compared to the few other racing games available at that time, the graphics are good, especially the textures.
It even employs a level of detail approach for textures and uses much mesh transparency for water. Nevertheless the framerate could be smoother, because this is a 60 Hz system. The 2 player horizontal split screen significantly slows down the framerate.

framerate & stability
Relatively stable,
not too slow, but not smooth.
drawing distance, pop-up
Pop-up appears at the distance, even the texture LOD is visible.
graphical detail, realism
Texture detail is good. The track setting makes it lack details besides the road.
drawing errors,
polygon clipping
Some polygons disappear although only partially out of screen. Little polygon distortion sometimes when clipping to screen.
light effects
Gouraud shading for parts of the track.
weather, night & day
further special effects Simple sprite effects when driving through the water or shooting a missile.

Sound: 5.5 of 10

Poor sound effects and midi-like music tracks. The only hot track is that used in the title video. The rest doesn't reach WipeOut's tracks, of course.

sound FX
Nothing special. As this is a cyber game, no realistic sound FX are present.
voice samples
background music
Midi like nonsense.

Tracks: 6.5 of 10

One fact makes it superior to all the arcade racing games: it got much more tracks. Two versions of each, Terra, Glacies, Vastitas, Nubes, Evoflamas and Aramasatelles.
Tracks are not flat, sometimes a little canyon devides the track. There are shortcuts, water passages, tunnels and jumps through the air crossing another road.

number of tracks 6*2
licensed tracks
track types
round courses.
track design Cyber style.


Cars: 5 of 10

All sleds look very different and got much different driving specs.
The tuning stuff is only available in story mode.
Those cyber cars don't look good in the game.

number of cars
5, very different
licensed cars
change car color No.
tuneable In story mode only:
3 possible options for each,
engine, steering, brake and special button

Gameplay: 7 of 10

Driving the sleds is not very difficult. What makes the winner is using the missiles and boost explosions efficiently to take tight corners.
Following the correct track direction may not always be trivial on some locations.

racing modes
Story mode, race mode and time attack. 2 Player against com or human.
camera viewpoints
inside sled, behind and far behind.
speed impression
Not really fast
racing simulation physics
collision detection
replay recording
(input) devices
Couldn't test arcade racer.
3D analog pad is not supported.

Presentation: 4 of 10

There is the story mode with strange caracter drawings. But I can't read japanese very well and the main menu is the poorest I've ever seen.

Special features:


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