Virtua Racing Arcade & Console Port Comparison


When there are a number of home versions of a classic game, you can’t help but wonder which version is the best. For older games, it is very hard to find some solid comparisons of various ports. Fortunately, every now and then I stumble across someone who is dedicated to a certain game and documents the various differences.

This time around, HighGear_IceMan from the Race Sim Central Forums went through a lot of effort analyzing the groundbreaking Sega racer, Virtua Racing. In a way it is surprising how many ports there are of VR, but at the same time you have to remember how many consoles Sega was supporting in the mid 1990’s.

Iceman’s comparison runs through both the arcade original and home console ports by way of various screenshots and a textual breakdown of each.

The versions included in this this comparison are

  • Arcade (original) – running in MAME
  • Sega Genesis (SVP-powered cartridge) – running on actual console
  • Sega 32x – emulated in Kega Fusion
  • Sega Saturn – emulated in SSF
  • PS2 (Sega Ages) – running on actual console

Obviously, the Arcade version will be the top choice for purists, but the PS2 version does a great job and ads some shadowing effects. The 32X version, in most cases, comes out top as the Sega console version champ. The Saturn version is a bit laughable in places, but does “ok”. The Genesis version kinda pales in comparison to the arcade version, but is quite impressive for the Genesis hardware (even if it is using an extra built-in processor)

Of course, you should look at the original forum thread for all the details, but I have also mirrored the screenshots and most of the text with this Flickr photset.

A special thanks to roushimsx for helping me find this great resource!

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I tried to run it on MAME but it just wasn’t playable, don’t know if i’m doing something wrong or what.

Anyway, i’ve been looking for this game for quite some time and i think i’m gonna pick the Saturn version. I also have one PS2 but it just feels wrong to play such a SEGA classic in a Sony console… xD

Thanks for posting this, racketboy, this kind of articles really help. 🙂

racketboy says:

I haven’t tried running it in MAME personally yet, but supposedly it just became playable in newer versions.

You were rigth! I tried it with the latest version of MAME and it worked! 😀 And pretty well for a 3D game, by the way. It’s not perfect yet, but its definitely playable at least.

racketboy says:

Very cool! I’m sure they will refine it in future iterations — especially since it’s a landmark title.

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~G~ says:

I like the idea of the comparisons – but I think it would have been better if you used the original systems for each version- not emulation.
I know it can be hard to find the original version – especially the Arcade version (haven’t seen that for a long time) But emulators don’t always produce the same quality graphics as the original – I know I have experienced graphical glitches with SSF (the Saturn emulator) before.

-Still good stuff.

I haven’t played all the versions – but my favourite was easily the Saturn version. Just because it added tons of extras.
10 tracks – rather than just 3 in the original. And different types of vehicles (5 I think) – from Go-Karts to Super Cars.
Overall the game was much more complete.

racketboy says:

Well, the nice thing about emulators is that it is very easy and inexpensive to take high-quality screenshots. You’ll notice that the systems that are running the real thing look blurry and the color is off. With emulators, you don’t have to worry about that.

Also, the writer did a good job of using emulators that are established and emulate the game well. Most established emulators will not show graphical issues in a regular screenshot.

bonefish says:

Wow the saturn looks pretty terrible…

D says:

The Saturn version PLAYS TERRIBLE.
Probably the worst port of the bunch just because playability is a big fat ZERO.
I love these types of articles, trully great!

Xerxes3rd says:

Does the PS2 version support progressive scan? I assume the screenshots of the PS2 version were captured through a TV tuner card, as they look a bit fuzzy. It would be neat to see if it’s more crisp in 480p with a good scaler. Alternatively, it would be interesting to see what the emulated arcade version looks like in 480i.

racketboy says:

I did some research — the PS2 version does not support Progressive Scan.

But yes, the screens were from a TV tuner. It’s hard to get better screenshots since the PS2 emulator isn’t solid enough yet.

I bought the Saturn version, thinking the word “Virtua” meant it would be a good game… Never judge a game by it’s “Virtua” LOL!. Compared to other driving games on the Saturn, this is very poor! The graphics are awful! However, the gameplay is not too bad…

Still, this game cost me £7.99 and I once picked up a copy of Sega Rally for 20p! For a great comparison of Sega Rally, Sega Touring Car Championship and Daytona USA, why not visit The Saturn Junkyard @
Flagrant self promotion I know, but you can also check out a great interview with the legendary Racketboy and also check out the Segata Sanshiro Drum n Bass Remix! Worth five minutes of anyone’s time…

James says:

I am a huge VR fan and have played all five versions. The PS2 is very close to the original arcade, but has graphic enhancements such as real time lighting. Judging by the photos, the geometry appears to be perfect between the two…only the perspectives are a little off. I wonder if the PS2 VR developers used the actual 3d models from the arcade version? The only complaint I have about the PS2 version is that while playing the VR (cockpit) view, the controls feel too touchy and the steering wheel animation is way off; it barely turns at full steer. Otherwise, this is a very good conversion of the Yu Suzuki classic.

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