When you think of Nintendo and racing, you probably think of Mario Kart — or if you’re on the right side of the N64 debate, Diddy Kong Racing. But Nintendo has dabbled in more serious racers on the Famicom, often based around Formula 1. Many of those games never reached Western shores — at least not in an English-language format. Until now.
Thanks to the efforts of RomHacker member, AgentOrange and MrRichard999, English speakers can now enjoy fully readable menus and in-game text in games like Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race, Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally. and Super F1 Circus 2.
The first of the three, the original Famicom Grand Prix, was a floppy-disk game released for Famicom’s Family Computer Disk System in 1987. It features a top-down view, much like later releases such as Micro Machines, as NintendoLife points out. Although simple, it adds depth through in-race car management, as well as a number of upgrades and tracks to race on. Although it doesn’t really affect gameplay, Mario is featured in the pit crew and on the box art.
The sequel, Hot Rally, changes things up considerably. The perspective is a much more traditional, third-person view and has you racing against the clock while hitting repair power-ups to keep your car running. As with the Grand Prix I ROM, both AgentOrange and MrRichard999 created a fully functioning English version, complete with English menus and name inputs.
Super F1 Circus 2, originally released for the Super Famicom, doesn’t have quite such a fully fledged English translation but the two intrepid translators have made a good go of it. The game features enough English that you can get by without knowing Japanese, which makes it completely playable.
Although lacking the Mario endorsement, that game features an accurate 1993 landscape of Formula 1, complete with teams, drivers, and circuits for that season.