The Curious Case Of Rev Limit

The N64 has lots of games that represent the pinnacle of their respective genres: Perfect Dark and Golden Eye are almost flawless shooters; the two Zelda adventures are regarded as two of the best action RPGs ever created; Super Mario 64 is one of the best platformers (and viewed by many as the best game ever, period) and the ISS games are championed as some of the best representations of football on any games console. One genre that is without similar claim is that of the racing sim. Sure, the N64 has some great kart racers and some passable rally and GT-style titles (see Top Gear Overdrive, Roadsters or World Driver Championship for further details), but it really lacked a killer real-world racing game.

One game that looked like it may have had the potential to remedy this was Ocean's GT64: Championship Edition, but the final game was let down by a poor frame rate, muddy visuals and car handling from the stone age (indeed, Fred Flintstone's foot-powered saloon probably had better cornering abilities that the machines in GT64).

Another game that looked as if it might come to the rescue was Rev Limit. Often shown in magazines' 'coming soon' sections, Rev Limit was a Ridge Racer style racing game that promised realistic visuals and a more simulation-based experience on the track. But that's all we got - the promise. Rev Limit was always only ever shown in various stages of completion and appeared to jump between development for either the N64 base system or as a launch title for the 64DD.

I was really eager to play Rev Limit, if only because the graphics looked really impressive for the era - the NASCAR-esque vehicles looked really well contoured and the tracks looked interesting and appeared to feature real-time lighting effects and offered the ability to race at different times of night or day. Obviously, all of these things are part and parcel of any contemporary racer, but back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, all of these features were pretty novel.

Alas, Rev Limit never actually saw the light of day as a completed N64 title. It appears that Seta, the Japanese developer, ran into financial difficulty and many of it's projects were cancelled before completion - including Rev Limit. I was hopeful that I might be able to find an incomplete ROM somewhere online, but this search only led me to discover that most of the screens that were printed in the magazines were probably taken from an incomplete arcade build running on Seta's Aleck 64 board. The Aleck 64 was an arcade board based on the N64 hardware co-developed by Seta and Nintendo in the late 90s and only made it into several coin-op machines before it too was killed off (one of these was Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth, which did actually make an appearance on the N64).

After this, the Rev Limit trail goes cold. Did the game ever really exist as an N64 game, or was it only ever an arcade board destined for a home conversion further down the line? Whatever the truth, it's a sad end to the Rev Limit story. The game appeared multiple times in magazines such as N64, CVG and Games Master, but my guess is that whatever those screenshots were of is now either lost to time or sat on an old hard drive, forgotten and gathering dust.

Very few screens or footage of Rev Limit exist online today, but below is a selection of both:







3 comments:

  1. Check nintendolife.com. it appears a revlimit prototype was discovered

    ReplyDelete
  2. Check nintendolife.com. it appears a revlimit prototype was discovered

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check their source on RetroCollect. I have a vested interest in this game :)

      Delete