Blazin’ Wheels is a series of 3D racing games developed by Digital Revolution and published by ACS. The series began with the release of its first installment, Blazin’ Wheels: Super High-Speed Racing, in 1995, and has spawned a number of sequels. Originally for Arcades, it has since been released for various consoles, including the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, XBox, Nintendo Gamecube, PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 4, XBox ONE, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Zeo, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita and PC.
Alongside their fighting game franchises and the Spunky series of platformers, Blazin’ Wheels is one of ACS’ most popular franchises.
Prior to creating the Blazin’ Wheels series, ACS released various arcade racing games during the 80s and early 90s. Their first racing game was Rev n’ Ride (1983), a side-scrolling motocross racing game, which was then followed by Rally Racer (1985), a rally car racing game which utilized an overhead perspective.
In 1989, ACS introduced the Hyper-V System arcade board, which featured pseudo-3D sprite scaling capabilities, similar to those seen in Sega’s OutRun and Taito’s Chase H.Q. ACS released several racing games for the system, including Top Speed GP (1989), Hype Moto (1991), Top Speed GP 2 (1992), and Hype Moto Rush (1993). The Hyper-V was later discontinued in 1994 to pave the way for ACS’ next pursuit: polygonal 3D graphics.
ACS released Blazin’ Wheels: Super High-Speed Racing in April 10, 1995 as the first game for their new polygonal 3D arcade system, the TGX Modeller, which was based on the hardware of Sony's PlayStation game console. The game was praised for its fully textured graphics and tight gameplay, and became a huge success in arcades. Blazin' Wheels would eventually receive its first console port in 1997, with Blazin' Wheels: Accel Edition, which features courses from both the first game and its sequel, Blazin' Wheels 2 (1996).
The first three Blazin’ Wheels titles featured generic cars designed after real-life cars. Blazin’ Wheels 2000/Millenium (2000) was the first in the series to feature licensed cars. Car brands featured in the Blazin’ Wheels games are predominantly Japanese brands, such as Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Suzuki.
longside Sentoki, Blazin’ Wheels has often been used by ACS to showcase the capabilities of their newest arcade board. For example, Blazin’ Wheels 2000/Millenium (2000) was the first game for the NOVA System hardware, while Blazin’ Wheels High Octane (2006) was the first game for the System 201. Most recently, Blazin’ Wheels SpeedKings (2020) was released as the inaugural title for their 4K-capable nex² System.
The game plays similarly to most racing games of its time. Players select their car, choose between Manual or Automatic transmission, and pick a course. After which, they then have to race against 8 other cars in order to reach 1st place and win the race. In the arcade original, the game only had 3 tracks and one playable car (selectable cars were later included in Accel Edition, but the arcade installments would not have such an option until Blazin' Wheels III). Over the course of each installment, the number of playable tracks and cars have gradually increased.
As an arcade racing game, players not only have to race against rival cars, but also after a time limit. To extend the time limit, the player must pass through various checkpoints scattered throughout all the tracks. When the player runs out of time, the race is automatically lost and the player wil be sent to a Game Over screen. Thus, the player needs to reach the checkpoints as fast as they could by avoiding bumping on corners, enemy cars and traffic as much as they could.
The original Blazin’ Wheels: Super High-Speed Racing (1995) arcade game was a single-player only game. Blazin’ Wheels 2 (1996) was the first game in the series to integrate multiplayer. By linking four machines within each other, the game can support as much a 8 players. Console versions of Blazin’ Wheels often support multi-tap to allow up to four players to compete in a race against each other. Online play was later introduced in Blazin’ Wheels RPM (2004), with the arcade version being one of the first ACS games to support the proprietary Amaze.net online service, and the console versions including support for the PS2 and XBox’s respective online components.
The race courses in Blazin' Wheels are usually based on actual real-life race tracks. In particular, the design of the Beginner race track in the original Blazin' Wheels was based on the real-life Darlington Raceway. As the games would later shift its focus from stock car racing to grand touring, the courses in the series eventually expanded their reach to incorporate other countries.
Blazin’ Wheels features an original soundtrack composed by ACS’ in-house composers. The first two games featured upbeat synth-based music similar to those from Sega’s Daytona USA (1994) and Namco’s Ridge Racer (1993), while later games starting with Blazin’ Wheels III (1998) showcased a more techno-influenced soundtrack.
- Blazin' Wheels: Super High-Speed Racing (1995; Arcade (ACS TGX Modeller System)
- Blazin' Wheels 2 (1996; Arcade (ACS TGX Modeller System)
- Blazin' Wheels: Accel Edition (1997; PlayStation)
- Blazin' Wheels III (1998; Arcade (ACS TGX2 Modeller System), PlayStation)
- Blazin' Wheels 2000 (2000; Arcade (ACS NOVA System), PlayStation 2)
- Blazin' Wheels Velocity (2002; Arcade (ACS NOVA System), PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube)
- Blazin' Wheels RPM (2004; Arcade (ACS NOVA-II System), PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube)
- Blazin' Wheels Hi-Octane (2006; Arcade (ACS System 201), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii)
- Blazin' Wheels Hi-Octane 2 (2008; Arcade (ACS System 201), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii)
- Blazin' Wheels OverLimit (2010; Arcade (ACS System 202: ENDYMION), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Blazin' Wheels OverLimit OutBURST (2013; Arcade (ACS System 203: ATLANTIS), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Blazin' Wheels HyperDrive (2016; Arcade (ACS nex System), PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, Samsung Zeo)
- Blazin' Wheels HyperDrive TURBO (2018; Arcade (ACS nex System), PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Zeo)
- Blazin' Wheels SpeedKings (2020; Arcade (ACS nex² System), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC)
- Blazin' Wheels SpeedKings XTRA (2022; Arcade (ACS nex² System)
Spinoffs and Portable Titles
- Blazin’ Wheels 64 (1999; Nintendo 64)
- Blazin' Wheels Advance (2001; Game Boy Advance)
- Blazin' Wheels Advance 2 (2003; Game Boy Advance)
- Blazin' Wheels GO (2005; PlayStation Portable)
- Blazin' Wheels GO 2 (2007; PlayStation Portable)
- Blazin' Wheels GO 3 (2009; PlayStation Portable)
- Blazin' Wheels Rush (2011; iOS)
- Blazin' Wheels 3D (2012; Nintendo 3DS)
- Blazin' Wheels GO: V-Powered (2012; PlayStation Vita)
- Blazin' Wheels 3D-2 (2014; Nintendo 3DS)
- Blazin' Wheels GO: V-Powered 2 (2014; PlayStation Vita)
- Blazin' Wheels Nitrous (2015; iOS, Android)