Another in the long line of ground-breaking racing games from Sega, Rad Mobile is an arcade racing simulation based on a twenty-stage race across the United States; starting in Los Angeles and finishing in New York. Sega yet again introduced new gameplay elements to the genre, primarily in the form of dynamic weather effects. Sega's 1989 racer Turbo OutRun also included limited weather effects, but they were far less prominent as a gameplay feature.
Another Sega innovation is that many of the stages have banked corners; with the car's cockpit view tilting to match the driving surface. Some stages also have police patrols, and players must either avoid or outrun the police cars or risk being pulled over. Being pulled over will result in a loss of valuable time or even a game over.
Rad Mobile took place in a first-person perspective and had the player engage into a non-stop road race across the USA while avoiding traffic and police cars under the time limit. The only player controlled car is a Ferrari 330 P4 type prototype racing against computer controlled opponents driving generic cars. The player would race with fifteen other rivals across the track, all attempting to prevent the player from winning. During some of the courses the player would have the opportunity to activate different controls, which include headlights for night driving and windshield wipers during rainstorms. If the player does not activate these controls when prompted, effects such as a restricted view of the road or a wet windshield will occur.
In addition to the tight time limit, rival drivers, and heavy two-way traffic, players must also contend with heavy rain, thick fog, and darkness. Windscreen wipers and headlights must be manually switched on by the player, which adds to giving the game a more realistic and interactive feel.
Rad Mobile is Sega's first 32-bit arcade game, using the Sega System 32 arcade system board:
- Main CPU: NEC V60 (@ 16.10795 Mhz), Zilog Z80 (@ 8.053975 MHz)
- Sound chips: (2x) Yamaha YM3438 (@ 8.053975 MHz), Ricoh RF5C68 (@ 12.5 MHz)
- Screen orientation: Horizontal
- Video resolution: 320x224, 416x224, 416x262
- Screen refresh: 60 Hz refresh rate, 60 frames per second
- Colors on screen: 49,152 (16,384 with shadow & highlight) to 786,432 (with luminosity and 8 levels of alpha blending)
- Color palette: 2,097,152 (4096 palette banks with 512 colors each) to 16,777,216 (with shadow & highlight and 7 levels of RGB brightness control)
Sega Saturn Release
On December 2nd, 1994, a port titled Gale Racer was released on the Sega Saturn in Japan. A new Intro FMV sequence was added as well as a new soundtrack. The cars were now polygonal models rather than sprites. Performance is largely the same as the Arcade release, though the draw distance isn't as good; traffic appears on screen only seconds in advance, making dodging a tougher task. The port never saw release outside of Japan.
- In the 1992 comedy, Encino Man, the thawed-out caveman, Link (Brendan Fraser) has an obsession with a Rad Mobile game cabinet. His love of the game leads to him stealing a driving instructor's training car and going on a car rampage around the Encino down-town. Later in the movie, when his "owner" Dave (Sean Astin) tries to force him to leave Encino, he gives him a brace of quarters, stating that they are "For Rad Mobile".
- Rad Mobile is actually the first game to ever feature Sonic the Hedgehog, debuting the mascot months prior to the original Sonic the Hedgehog release.