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Up from (Super) Obscurity

Ah, racing! It's as if the simple act of "driving really fast in a car" was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the Super Nintendo was very hungry, indeed!
Hmmm, let's try to write a second paragraph which makes even the slightest bit of sense...dammit, so far this paragraph is only self-analytical! That won't do at all! Quick, just flash the title screen of this week's game and hope no one has noticed that there's been no other content so far:
Yes, in this week's article, we're going to discuss Super Off Road, an incredibly-small-em-up truck racing game. So hop in your Toyota Denso, cover up every form of headlight on your vehicle with the letters "KC", and get ready for Arcade-Style Truck Racin', Nitro-Burnin' ACTION!!
It's a port of an arcade game, you say?
Yes, Mr. Interrogative-Voice Narrative Device -- I know it was an arcade machine because I remember seeing it in an arcade, back in the day! As you'll see in a moment, its graphics have a very distinctive feel to them.
But first off, on your way to Denso track victory, you have to enter your name:
In true arcade style, your name must not be longer than 3 letters. I chose "PUH", which I supposed to be an up-market variation on the classic "POO."
Your newly-dubbed off-road red truck racer now sets out to the store to buy his initial upgrades with...
Holy shit, I had to check a few times because they forgot to put a comma in the number...but it looks like PUH has ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND ($100,000) DOLLARS to invest in initial upgrades to his stupid off road racin' truck! Screw off road truck racing -- is there a button for "buy a shack in Wyoming and put my feet up for the next 5 years?"
Sadly, no; you have to play the game!
Ok, fine; if I'm forced to blow PUH's small fortune outfitting some stupid-lookin' truck to fishtail around a muddy track, I guess I'll spend $80,000 on some extra "Accel"*, and blow another $10,000 on a "Nitro."
*: presumably this is a typeo and they mean to refer to "Microsoft Excel"; after all, how could you race without a good spreadsheet program?
(Incidentally, how ONE use of Nitro costs ten thousand dollars? If that's true and I invest all PUH's post-Wyoming-shack-buying money in Nitro futures, I think I could retire!)
So, I've "pimped out" PUH's Toyota Denso, nothin' left to do but "Start Next Race." And isn't it funny how the Start Next Race icon has a cute little miniature drawing of the track? I fit basically the entire picture in my 24x24 pixel "mini icon" for this article!
You know, it's funny you should mention miniature things...
...because THIS is the next screen you see:
Hmmmmm....surely this is just the "get ready to race -- here's the entire track you'll be racing on!" kind of preview-screen, right?
They can't seriously use this teensy-weensy view as the actual game interface for a Super Nintendo racing game, can they? I mean, Micro Machines, an unlicensed NES game, showed bigger vehicles than this -- and THEY used Cheerios as obstacles!
But yes, that's all there is to this game:
Your tiny little cars accelerate and careen around the dirty, hilly chunks of the SUPER OFF-ROAD track, bouncing about like rubber balls and firing up Nitro-powered speed boosts from time to time.
Wait a minute, speaking of Nitro -- let's take a minute to look at everyone's "Nitro Boost" supply: I'm the red car, and I have that one nitro boost I bought. Every other car seems to have started with FIFTEEN.
Even if I had blown my entire $100,000 nest egg on one-use-then-expended Nitro boosts, I'd only start with TEN of them! I guess the computer just lavishes free nitro upgrades on its cars, to make up for a lack of AI. I suppose that's okay...but as we'll see in a minute, it only gets worse in the next race!
Anyway, I slog my way through Track 1 (playfully named "Fandango"), trying to get ahead of my fellow nitro-guzzling off-road trucks for a handful of laps.
Occasionally the monotony is broken up by swerving to gather the randomly-appearing giant sacks of cash or free nitro boosts (which are both the size of a small house, if they're drawn to scale).
Eventually, when the fastest car has achieved the required number of laps, the race is instantly concluded: the second-, third- and fourth-place trophies are handed out by checking where all the cars are at that millisecond.
...and it's on to the glory of the Winner's Circle!
As you can see, PUH ended up third. Evidently Blue Racer (known to his friends as "---") was the fastest car this day, and you can see him holding hands with his attractive blonde wife.
Yellow Racer, the aptly-named "JON" is also there, having come in second. He can be seen holding on to his silver trophy and his kooky "devil may care"-attituded lady friend, her shirt tied in a knot under her ample bosom.
Then there's PUH, his sharp red jumpsuit almost matching his good lady wife's rose-colored evening dress; really, quite a pretty picture (despite her weird Farrah Fawcett bangs). And he can also console himself with the fact that his bronze trophy is easily twice the size of ---'s gold trophy.
In fact, what the hell? The first place gold trophy is the smallest of all the trophies! I find this very mysterious. Perhaps we'll discover some great reason behind this in the next few screens?
Back to the shop!
Let's see; PUH did win another $50,000 to upgrade his vehicle...what to buy this time? How about...
Wait a minute--I didn't have any tires before?! Maybe THAT'S why I did so badly!
There! Now my truck has one point of "tires" on it, and I'm $40,000 less wealthy. The money I just spent on tires could have covered a year of college tuition. Just sayin'!
While I'm now more optimistic about the next race, this whole tires debacle has caused me to doubt PUH's competence as a mechanic and driver. Do I have to go to the shop to make sure my truck has other necessities, like seats or a steering wheel? Will I grind to a halt in the middle of the next race because PUH neglected to put gas in the tank? The mind boggles.
On to Race #2!
Race #2 takes place on a track named "Huevos Grande":
I can only assume "Heuvos" means "heave", as in, "to vomit." Because now that I've realized THIS is all there is to the game, I indeed want to heave-o grande.
Additionally, the wall of the gigantic stadium where this race takes place says "Mickey Thompson Championship Grand Prix." Sorry, Mickey Thompson! This track already HAS a name ("BIG VOMIT"). Wait your turn! Actually, perhaps you should have just muscled in and plastered your trademarked moniker on the first track -- I'm sure Fandango wouldn't mind losing the residuals from that ugly thing!
Anyway, tires or no, I did significantly worse on this track. It might have something to do with the fact that all the other trucks began with THIRTY free nitro-boosts, or it could just be that I suck, but I finished this one up dead last.
Poor PUH; not only is he denied a trophy, but his wife won't get a chance to show off her magenta evening-wear in the winner's circle!
Wait a minute...now GRAY racer is standing with the blonde in blue jeans, and BLUE racer is with the kooky Daisy-Duke-y dame with the teal tanktop and headband! And even more galling, YELLOW racer is holding not only my bronze trophy, but my pink-nightgowned trophy WIFE!
Oh, dear -- it turns out I was wrong, the racers in their color-coded jumpsuits don't have different, color-coded-dress-wearing wives...
Instead, the first-, second- and third-place trophies come complete with their own specific women.
Frankly, I'm disgusted.
If PUH's Farrah Fawcett-haired maiden will only hang on his arm if he wins the appropriate trophy, I think PUH will deign not to use one of his three "continues", and will leave this fast-paced world of off-road racing altogether.
As a consolation prize, we're treated to this awesome "you lost" screen, where you off-road racer is shown taking out his impotent rage on the hood of his hundred thousand dollar vehicle:
Of course, this picture in no way lines up with any of the "winner's circle" pictures -- the racers' collars are WHITE there, and this fellow's mighty billowing mullet would definitely be visible underneath that little cap he was wearing. With shoddy workmanship like that, it's not surprising that they let me compete in the first race with NO TIRES!
Nice try, Super Off Road...but I conclude that your title is only 2/3rds accurate!
Well, I'm happy to wash my hands of this mess.
Anything to add, Pitfall Harry?
"Awww yeah!"
— carlmarksguy, 2012-11-30
1
Another pseudo-Super character makes an appearance! Also, I think the money might originally have been Japanese yen (e.g. 100,000 yen), which would make a lot more sense.
2
"Sub-Par Pitfall" meets "Sub-Par Off Road", it's a perfect match! & yeah, either 100,000 yen or $10,000 dollars rather than $100,000 would be kind of less ridiculous :)
3
This is an American game so the yen theory doesn't really make sense. Also, the "Denso" on the truck is just a sponsor; they are a parts manufacturer. The truck in question would be called a "Toyota Pickup".
4
You're absolutely right, QF -- it was first released in America, then Japan, so the yen explanation doesn't wash...which leaves the mystery "why does each use of nitro cost $10,000?" Also I'm surprised I even got the word "Denso" right; I thought it was probably "Demso" or something less silly-sounding.
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