If you’ve been to Japan you’ll know that there are TONS of Japan-only video games that aren’t released in western markets. Look hard enough, and there will be decotora truck racing and even bosozoku racing games. They are mostly quite unsatisfying to play, being not a patch on say, Gran Turismo and most of them have story-mode type gameplay which is unfathomable if you don’t speak Japanese.
But in 1997, EA Sports in Japan teamed up with Nissan to put out Overdrivin Skyline Memorial for the PSOne, 3DO and Sega Saturn. And this one was pretty good.
Based on the Need for Speed 1 engine, the tracks will be familiar to anyone who spent some time playing the original NFS. But the car list are: Prince Skyline S54B, KPMGC10 Hakosuka Hardtop 2000GT-R, KPMGC110 Kenmeri Hardtop 2000GT-R, C210 Skyline Japan GT-ES 2000 Turbo, DR30 Tekamen RS-X Turbo C, R31 GTS-R, R32GT-R and R33 GT-R (with the R390 Le Mans racer being an unlockable bonus car).
I used to have a copy for PSOne and it pretty much plays 100% like the original NFS, so the performance of each car is a bit exaggerated compared to the actual Skyline model. And the dynamics are just the same as NFS, except maybe a tiny bit driftier going into corners. And the variances between the different models feel quite realistic, replicating the huge lag of the GT-ES and the GTS-R quite accurately.
And when you’re not racing, there are video clips and specs on each car. Obviously this is going to be pretty clunky compared to any recent driving sim (well it IS on the PSOne) and many of the races are a bit of a foregone conclusion (ie a R32/33 GT-R is faster than the previous generations no matter how you cut it) but it’s good fun just the same.
I haven’t seen my copy for several years (I’ve moved house a few times since 1997) but it’s a cool retro bit of Skyline geekdom that I wish I could still find.