Rad Racer Cheats & Cheat Codes for NES

Formula One in Rad Racer.

Rad Racer Cheats & Cheat Codes for NES

Rad Racer, initially launched as Highway Star in Japan, is a classic racing game developed by Square for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. In the game, players have the option to race using two different cars across various courses. While the game’s graphics aren’t anything to write home about, the game was an early adopter of stereoscopic 3D effects. This unique factor made the game stand out enough to collect a sizable following and warrant a sequel. Additionally, it was included as one of only three games in a special Nintendo World Championships cartridge. Let’s take a closer look at Rad Racer and what kind of cheats it provided players.

Rad Racer Premise

Rad Racer invites players to a race through America, stretching from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. The game is known for its fairly simple visuals and arcade gameplay from a third-person perspective behind the car. At the beginning of the game, players choose between a 328 Twin Turbo or an F1 Machine, which is the vehicle they’ll use to race in the courses. While the cars do have different designs, the performance is identical between them, so the choice is merely superficial. 

The goal is to navigate through eight different stages, each with unique skylines and environments, including iconic locations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Other vehicles become faster with each stage, ranging from Volkswagen Beetles to Ferrari Testarossa at the end. The gameplay emphasizes speed, with simple controls to accelerate and brake. Players can also change the background music to better enjoy their driving experience through America.

Ferrari 328 Twin Turbo in Rad Racer.
The Ferrari 328 Twin Turbo is one of two car options.

©Screenshot for Rad Racer

Crashing is a significant aspect of Rad Racer, like in many racing games of the era, adding great risk to trying to achieve high speeds and scores during stages. Players must avoid obstacles and slower-moving cars to stay on course. Collisions result in crashes, slowing down progress and eating into the precious time needed to reach checkpoints. The only way to finish each stage is to each checkpoint before the time runs out. At the end of the race, the remaining time is added to the score pool. This means that the faster the stages are performed, the more points are also gathered. 

Rad Racer Characters

As a simple racing game, Rad Racer doesn’t have a comprehensive storyline or characters. At the core of the game is the race through America, where cars are the main characters. The player chooses their preferred vehicle from two cars, a Ferrari 328 Twin Turbo or a Formula One car, named F1 Machine in the game. While they do have distinct designs in the game, they perform exactly the same. In addition to the two player-controlled options, players come across other cars on the road they need to dodge. These change from stage to stage and come with varying speeds.

Player Cars

  • 328 Twin Turbo: A sleek sports car based on the real-world Ferrari 328. 
  • F1 Machine: This car is based on the late 1980s Formula One car. 

Non-Player Cars

  • Stage 1 – Volkswagen Beetle:  The iconic, affordable family car that was produced for decades upon deca
  • Stage 2 – Chevrolet Corvette: Classic American muscle car that likely had more performance than the stage number suggests.
  • Stage 3 – Citroen BX: The massively popular family car from the French car manufacturer. 
  • Stage 4 – Mercedes-Benz: It isn’t specified which car from the German manufacturer this is. 
  • Stage 5 – Lamborghini Countach: The legendary supercar with angular aesthetics that ran from the 70s all the way to 1990. 
  • Stage 6 – Lotus Esprit: The British-made sports car that made it into the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
  • Stage 7 – Porsche 911: One of the most celebrated sports cars of all time. 
  • Stage 8 – Ferrari Testarossa: Another famous Ferrari. The Testarossa is known as the vehicle seen in the 80s TV show Miami Vice.
Beetle in Rad Racer.
The player needs to overtake various cars that depend on the stage.

©Screenshot for Rad Racer

Games in the Series

Rad Racer became a memorable part of the NES racing game lineup, known for its innovative use of 3D technology. The game was developed by the now widely recognized Square Enix, then Square, of the Final Fantasy fame. The game also was successful enough that Square decided to create a sequel for the game. The second game features eight new stages and new music tracks. However, the gameplay is largely intact, which perhaps explains why it didn’t become a phenomenon like the initial game.

  • Rad Racer (1987)
  • Rad Racer II (1990)

Rad Racer Cheats

The game includes a few cheats, offering players a way to make the progression easier and allowing selection of different stages.

Continue GamePress and hold the A button, then press Start after the Game Over screen to continue the game.
Stage SelectAfter selecting your vehicle, press the B button X-1 times (where X equals the Track Number). Then, hold Up and Right and press Start.
View Game EndingAfter selecting your vehicle, press the B button 64 times. Then, hold Up and Right on the D-Pad and press Start.


How can I play Rad Racer in 3D?

Rad Racer features a stereoscopic 3D mode that can be activated by pressing the select button. Then simply wear 3D glasses to enjoy it in three-dimensional glory.

How many levels are there in Rad Racer?

There are eight distinct levels in the game that represent the journey through the United States from the West Coast to the East Coast.

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