Beddinginn
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Illustration for article titled This Obscure '90s Driving Game Has Some Gleefully Half-Assed Made-Up Car Names

Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

I recently did a dumb little DIY project I’ve been meaning to get to for years: I converted the hoax 1980’s, Eastern Bloc dead goat polo arcade machine I built for sorta art reasons years ago into a Raspberry Pi-based multicade machine. Now my ratty fake Kyrgyzstani arcade machine plays thousands of games from all kinds of systems, which means there’s many new weird driving games to explore. One of these games is a 1993 arcade game called, dramatically, Lethal Crash Race. This game may have the most gloriously half-assed lawsuit-avoiding car names I’ve ever seen.

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky

It’s a strange game, too. It seems to have been pretty obscure, though it does have some well-designed graphics and sound for the era. It also seems that the game had a Japanese release under the name “Bakuretsu Crash Race,” which is an even more hilarious name, as that translates to “exploding crash race.”

You can pick from a bunch of goofy characters to drive, and you can drive all over the world, selecting tracks from a big map. The gameplay is top-down and doesn’t really feel anything like driving but that’s not uncommon for this sort of game.

Here’s a video of the gameplay, if you’re interested:

That’s fun and all, but what I want to focus on here are the stats screens that you see for the cars you can choose to race, which quite obviously include an Acura/Honda NSX, Porsche 959, Dodge Viper, Mazda RX-7, a Corvette, a Ferrari, a Lambo, and so on. Stuff you’d know and recognize, and cars that Video System Co., Ltd. clearly did not bother to secure the rights to use.

So, like many driving games, they changed the look of the cars a bit, and changed the names to something that the carmakers couldn’t legally ask them to stop using.

The difference here is that where most game design studios may put, oh, any effort at all into this process, the makers of Lethal Crash Race took a different path, putting in what appears to be almost none.

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The way the car names were changed feels like they forgot to do it until the guy came to take delivery of the final code, and they just had him wait in the lobby while some programmer, not even bothering to sit in a chair, leaned over the keyboard and changed the names, as quickly as possible, with the first words to pop into their head.

That’s how we get such gems like these legendary cars:

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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Ah, yes, the Shevy Cortette RZ-1! Love those things! You do know I’d rather push a Shevy than drive a Flord, right?

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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Another great bit of American iron, right here: the Dadge Vipre TR/10. I think a vipre is a kind of snaek, right?

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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If you’re more about luxurious speed, then it’s hard to do better than a Mursedes-Banz. Everyone knows that. And those 6000 SELs are really something special, doing real credit to that famous Y-in-a-circle shaped badge.

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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The Honta SNX-R! Of course, here in America we got these as the Atura SNX.

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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The Lamborjini Daiblo. This one just feels like normal typos.

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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Ooh, I do love a Borsche 969. Just be sure you don’t pronounce it like the Russian beet soup—it’s Borsch-uh.

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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The Pherari 521TR. You can tell these from the not-at-all-the-same Ferrari 512TR because those numbers are in a totally different place and instead of prancing horse on the back, it looks like that’s a leaping dingo.

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Screenshot: Video System Co.Ltd

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And finally we have the only rotary car here, the Masda Efin RX-78 (I can’t seem to put a ˜over the “e”). Is that name like “f’ing,” as in Masda Fucking RX-78? Maybe!