Best Portable Racing Games
We take a few laps with the greatest handheld racers. Watch out for skid marks.
Back in our day, racing games were sweet because they let us do something reserved for big kids and adults; drive. We slid into those huge arcade cabinets, wrapped our tiny hands around the giant wheels and hit the gas, crashing into billboards and other cars. Although we grew up and subsequently earned our driver's licenses, racers are still among our favorites, especially on the go. At one time or another, the following speed demons were our addictions, whether it involved hitting opponents with turtle shells or drifting past the Golden Gate Bridge in a F355 Spider.
10. Konami Krazy Racers (GBA)
Nintendo's Game Boy Advance launched in 2001 without a Mario Kart, but Konami filled the void with its copycat game, Konami Krazy Racers. It plays exactly like Mario Kart, except it stars various Konami icons, such as Dracula (from Castlevania), Gray Fox (the cyber ninja from Metal Gear Solid) and Power Pro-kun (from MLB Power Pros). Not exactly the most original game, but lots of fun.
9. GT Advance series (GBA)
For now, THQ's GT Racing franchise is the closest you'll get to a portable Gran Turismo. Technical and damn fun, it lets you select cars from numerous real world manufacturers (Toyota, Mazda, Honda) and race them around Mode 7 powered tracks. You can even customize your rides with performance parts to help give you an edge. Sure, these games (GT Advance Championship, GT Advance 2: Rally Racing and GT Advance 3: Pro Concept) look primitive, but they still offer plenty of hardcore, pedal to the metal action.
8. Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)
Konami Krazy Racers is fun, but it's no Mario Kart. Thankfully, Nintendo delivered the goods with Super Circuit, a game that perfectly captures the fun of the original and adds a mix of old and new tracks. You select from the standard assortment of characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi) and hit the courses in various modes, such as Mario GP, Time Trial and Quick Run. In addition, it features a Battle mode for up to four players, who compete via link cable. It's not as advanced as the DS version, but if you feel nostalgic, Mario Kart: Super Circuit is good times.
7. F-Zero series (GBA)
F-Zero blasted its way onto the Game Boy Advance three times, and each game is immensely entertaining. Nintendo kicked things off at the system's launch with F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, then followed it up with F-Zero: GP Legend. It concluded the series' portable run with the Japan only F-Zero Climax, the latter of which features a track editor. Each game builds off the successful formula that first appeared on the Super Nintendo, letting gamers race futuristic 2D vehicles on pseudo 3D tracks.
6. Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast (PSP)
We love Ferrari and we also heart Outrun, so merging the two into one exquisite PSP racer was a phenomenal idea. Sega's high-speed, arcade thrill fest sports 30 varied tracks, 12 real world sports cars, a challenging Heart Attack mode, six player racing via AdHoc and of course, a rocking soundtrack. Crank up Splash Wave and tear up the road.
5. Ridge Racer (PSP)
Sony's PSP debuted with an impressive launch lineup, a list of games that included Lumines, Metal Gear Ac!d and most notably, Ridge Racer. Namco Bandai shoehorned its popular racing franchise onto the system with excellent results, delivering a gorgeous arcade experience on a tiny machine. In addition to 54 gorgeous looking cars, there's also 24 glorious tracks, a deep Ridge Racer World Tour mode and wireless racing for up to eight players.
4. WipEout Pure (PSP)
WipEout games are great F-Zero alternatives, and Sony released two excellent ones for its PSP. The first game, Pure, features 18 different teams with unique hovering vehicles, 28 Blade Runner-esque tracks, eight player offline racing, a wealth of downloadable content and a whole lot of techno. As you zip around corners and make jumps, you can also pick up weapons and torture your foes with rockets and landmines, a devious guilty pleasure.
3. Mario Kart DS (DS)
If you own a Nintendo DS (and just so happen to love racing shenanigans), then you must buy Mario Kart. Mario, Luigi, Peach and the gang hop into multiple vehicles and blaze a trail through the Mushroom Kingdom, pelting each other with red shells and leaving banana peels for others to slip on. While that sounds like every Mario Kart, this one has online play as well as the ability to design your own kart logo using a handy editing tool.
2. Burnout Legends (PSP)
In Electronic Arts' superb Burnout Legends, the object is to not only win races, but to also punish the competition by slamming them into other cars or shoving them into walls, watching as their twisted wrecks explode. Beyond that, this is a fast-moving and addictive driving game that takes the best from the first two Burnout games and adds wireless four-player competition.
1. WipEout Pulse (PSP)
It's slim pickings these days for us PSP owners, but at least there's WipEout Pulse, the follow-up to Sony's exquisite WipEout Pure. Once again, you pilot anti-gravity vehicles through futuristic tracks, catching boost and annihilating your enemies with all sorts of cool weapons. This time, however, the tracks have more loops, which sends you for a trip as your craft travels upside down. Not only can you take your own screens, but you can also upload up to 30 MP3s and customize the soundtrack. Furthermore, there will be downloadable content, but we're still waiting for all those new tracks and vehicles.