Top Racer Collection Review – Just as you remember it?

Reviewed March 6, 2024 on PS5


Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


March 7, 2024


QUByte Interactive, Piko Interactive


QUByte Games Studio. LLC

Top Racer Collection is a time capsule. It consists of the three Top Racer titles originally released on the SNES in the early to mid 1990’s, essentially unchanged. You can be forgiven for not immediately recognising the name because in Australia (and most of the West), the series was known as Top Gear. This collection also purports to include a brand new effort from Brazilian developers QUByte Interactive titled Top Racer Crossroads.

Back in the day, this series was developed by the same team at Gremlin that developed the iconic (and excellent) Lotus Esprit series of racing games for the AMIGA and SEGA Megadrive (among other titles) around the same time. The Lotus games in particular were truly exceptional, but is Top Racer worth going back for? Was it ever as great as its peers?

In the proverbial Top Racer Collection (digital) box we have Top Racer (1992), Top Racer 2 (1993), and Top Racer 3000 (1995) as well as the new kid on the block, Top Racer Crossroads. Missing in action are the four N64 titles from the series as well as the two from the PlayStation 2. I must say I would have liked a more comprehensive collection of games from the series. I feel like the N64 titles such as Top Gear Rally in particular would have connected a bit more with local audiences, but as I understand it, the original three are massively popular in Brazil so perhaps that explains it.

Despite being developed by the same team within Gremlin, the SNES received Top Racer instead of the brilliant Lotus Esprit series. Why? The truth is that the SNES was never suited to games of this nature. Fast 2D scrolling racers just are not in its DNA. The Top Racer trilogy on SNES just didn’t (and still does not) have the amount of detail, speed, and gameplay that its peers such as Lotus, Outrun, and countless others had across the road on other platforms. At the end of the day, the originals are decent enough games, they did the best they could with the hardware, but ultimately the Top Racer series just feels like the poor cousin.

As I cranked the ignition of the first Top Racer in the collection, I also quickly noticed how small the default screen is compared to the available space. I actually booted up the old SNES to compare and for some reason, the default window in this collection is about 2/3 (or less) the size of the original on the same TV – WEIRD.

Fortunately though, in Top Racer Collection, there are some bare-bones quality-of-life updates that allow you to stretch and fill the screen and play around with CRT filters and the like. I did find that some of the games look better blown up than others. In the first one, because it’s always split screen (whether you are two players or against a computer), you can get the screen real-estate looking decent. But in others, it just looked horrible. Blowing the game up just shows how lacking the scenery is and highlights the lack of detail on the cars and tracks, in comparison to its peers at the time.

The aforementioned critiques aren’t necessarily a knock against the current developers though. I played through the games on this collection and also went back and played the same titles on my SNES and can confirm they are pretty much identical. I just feel like I need to point out that Top Racer is not necessarily representative of the best 16-bit racers of the era. Other quality-of-life improvements are the ability to create and save custom tournaments and the like. They have added an online mode, which will be a blast for fans of the series, as well as quick races and time attacks.

The gameplay itself is pretty much typical of 16-bit 1990’s fast-paced racing action. You’ll work your way through the career modes, winning money, and using it to upgrade your car as you go, in races set all over the world in an effort to be the best race car driver around. If you finish outside the top 5, you don’t qualify for the next one and it’s game over.

Within Top Racer Collection, as was typical with games of the era, the racing is fast, brutal, and sometimes the computer racers can be downright annoying. The back markers move from left to right on the track, zig-zagging in a way that can make it tough to get by at times. The positive is that all of the games in the collection have a tonne of different tracks which provide plenty of challenge. I understand across the collection there are 140 different tracks to race on which is a plentiful helping.

The new game in the collection, Top Racer Crossroads, isn’t really 100% new. I realised as soon as my first race started that it was actually the first title but with a new selection of cars and a bit of a touch-up. I note from the press pack that one of the new cars references Brazilian car culture, which is a nice touch and shows how popular the series is there. I was personally really hoping for something with Horizon Chase Turbo levels of quality, but noting how popular the series is in Brazil, I am sure some fans will love it anyway.

Truth be told, as far as Top Racer Collection goes, it’s Top Racer 3000 that is probably my favourite. Instead of racing around countries on Earth we go intergalactic and race across a range of different planets in futuristic-looking cars. In between races, we see our spaceship pick us up and head off to the next planet on the calendar, which is a cool twist on a pretty standard genre.

The beloved soundtrack by Barry Leitch is intact in its original form as well, so whether things are going well on the track or not, at least there is some pumping music to race along with. Again though, given Barry has recorded updated versions of the OST before, it would have been nice to have the option of using the more modern mixes of the songs.

Overall, as cliché as it is, this is one for the fans and only the fans. It may sound harsh, but the early 90’s were awash with high-quality 16-bit racers and many were better examples of the genre than Top Gear (Racer) was on platforms other than the SNES. I acknowledge though the love that some have for the original trilogy, and all power to them for that.




  • Faithful re-releases of classic SNES racing titles
  • Mandatory quality of life improvements are present


  • Top Racer isn't necessarily the best representation of its genre
  • The 'new' title in the collection is basically a re-skin of the first
  • Could have done with the proper remaster treatment

Top Racer Collection does what it says on the box, it contains the three SNES games from the series, pretty much unchanged. The collection provides the bare-bones quality-of-life options that are usually expected including changing screen size and playing with filters. Some new gameplay options such as online play are present as well. Unfortunately, given the number of better alternatives in this genre, both past and modern, this collection is a bit of a hard sell. However, I acknowledge that the series does have a huge following in some parts of the world, and for those that simply want to play Top Racer again, in their original form and on modern consoles, then this collection will sort them out.