Video game

10 Best On-Foot Race Sequences In Video Games – TheGamer

Most video games are built around complicated and dangerous actions, like wielding a sword or using your parents’ credit card to access new characters. So it seems counterintuitive that many games would ask you to just… run a race against another character.

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But when you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Foot racing in a game forces you to get familiar with movement controls, game physics, and the area that you’re being asked to move through; it’s a quick way to tell a story through play. What are the races that do the best job of taking you through an interesting environment in a fun way? Which are the most memorable?

10 Racing Riku In Kingdom Hearts

Riku tells Sora to

Like any great RPG, the original Kingdom Hearts opens peacefully, as Sora hangs out with his friends on the sunny beaches of Destiny Island. Here, you can play several minigames that acclimate you to the game’s controls, including a short footrace with Riku.

The winner gets to share a paopu fruit with Kairi, symbolically entwining your destiny with hers. You also get to name the boat that Sora, Riku, and Kairi plan to set sail on, but that seems like small potatoes (or small paopu?) in comparison.


9 Neil’s Challenge In Action Henk

Henk slides down the track in a race against Neil in Action Henk

Action Henk is probably the goofiest platformer ever made. You play as Henk, a past-his-prime action figure, who races through a selection of side-scrolling Hot Wheels-style tracks. The courses twist, drop, and loop around each other, challenging you to maintain your momentum and earn the best time.

One of the best courses comes when you race against Neil, a disco-themed cool cat, through a course surrounded by strobe lights and backed by a bouncy funk soundtrack. It’s fast, colorful, and fun as heck. Or should I say… fun as Henk?

8 F-Zero Grand Prix In Super Smash Bros. Melee

Falco leaps above the track in the F-Zero Grand Prix stage of Super Smash Bros. Melee

Before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate took the crown by being, well, ultimate, Melee was widely considered the best Smash game – and still is by many. It had a technical depth that was new to the series, and it expanded Smash’s single-player offerings with an Adventure mode, which alternated between one-on-one fights and side-scrolling platforming levels.

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One such level took place on an F-Zero course, challenging you to race to the finish while dodging cars traveling hundreds of miles per hour. It’s one of the last official ways to get that F-Zero feel, since Nintendo has decided to pretend the futuristic series doesn’t exist.

7 Cheating The Race In A Hat In Time

A mafioso on a rocket tells Hat Kid that he's the fastest man alive in A Hat In Time

Some race sequences are fun because they’re unique or because they’re important for a game’s overarching plot, but A Hat In Time’s Cheating The Race mission is fun just because the game feels good to play. A Hat In Time is a classic-style 3D platformer, and this particular mission tasks you with racing a mobster on a rocket (because… reasons) to reach the finish line first.

The game intends you to use a specific power-up to win, and it will tell you if you haven’t gotten it yet, but you can still race – and win – without it. It’s a mark of how well-tuned the game’s controls are.

6 Free Jogging Mode In Ring Fit Adventure

The athlete jogs through a snowy landscape in Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure is the only game on this list that requires you to run an on-foot race in real life in order to complete the one in the game. It’s the latest iteration on Nintendo’s series of get-fit games, but where previous attempts like Wii Fit were a disconnected series of minigames, Ring Fit Adventure is set up as an RPG of sorts.

You’ll run through gorgeous environments, encountering enemies and engaging in battles that play out like strength training sessions. But if you want to focus on cardio instead, Free Jogging Mode removes the battles, allowing you to get your heart rate up without swapping your workout style.

5 Bound Bowl Grand Prix In Super Mario Odyssey

Mario possesses a Shiverian and bounces through a snowy racecourse in Bound Bowl Grand Prix in Super Mario Odyssey

Okay, so technically this is less of a foot race and more of a… belly race? Body race? But you’re still using Mario’s raw strength instead of a vehicle, so it counts. In this mission in Super Mario Odyssey, you’ll travel to the icy kingdom of Shiveria, which is populated by rotund polar bear-esque creatures.

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The Shiverians have a racing cup that rewards you with a multi-moon, but instead of racing with a car, you’ll use their round, bouncy bodies to bounce around an icy course. It’s hard to get the movement just right, but it feels awesome when you finally bounce over your competitors.

4 Sibling Rivalry In Assassin’s Creed 2

Ezio and his brother Federico gaze at an Italian cityscape from a church roof in Assassin's Creed 2

The opening moments of Assassin’s Creed 2 are mostly spent in the modern-day, so when you finally jump back in time to Renaissance Italy, it feels like a breath of fresh air. You’ll guide protagonist Ezio through a day in his life, brawling with rivals and catching up with your older brother.

The sequence caps off with a race to the top of a nearby church; you’ll leap over rooftops and climb up walls, getting thrilling glimpses of the surrounding city. It’s a great preview of the game’s well-realized world.

3 Gourmet Race In Kirby Super Star

Kirby sprints through a pastel-colored course in the Gourmet Race mode in Kirby Super Star

Kirby Super Star is one of the most beloved outings for the adorable pink puffball, thanks in no small part to its wealth of content: Super Star has a whopping eight separate game modes, each one a fleshed out and fun experience on its own.

RELATED: The Best And Worst Kirby Games, Ranked

One of these modes is the aptly named Gourmet Race, where you race against King Dedede through a selection of courses… while eating a selection of (food) courses. You have to beat him to the finish line and eat more food than him; fortunately, Kirby’s got an iron stomach.

Konba challenges Link to a race in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

After The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild launched, attentive players checked their maps and noticed a spot in Western Hyrule labeled “Footrace Check-In.” This is the stomping ground of an athletic NPC named Konba, who challenges Link to a footrace up to the top of a nearby mountain.

The monetary reward for victory is paltry, but as with everything in Breath Of The Wild, the real incentive to beat this challenge is bragging rights: you’ll find players who have beaten this challenge in 45 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, even just one second. Can you do better?

1 Everything In Sonic R

A section of the cover art from Sonic R, showing Sonic, Knucles, and Tails running toward the camera smirking

Pretty much any Sonic The Hedgehog game could be on this list, for obvious reasons: it’s Sonic. Running fast is kind of his whole thing. But Sonic R one-ups the rest of the series – and every other game on this list – because it’s like a kart racer, but without the karts. The entire game is one long on-foot racing sequence.

Sonic R was the only Sonic game developed exclusively for the Sega Saturn, and it definitely has an early-3D-game feel; the graphics in particular haven’t exactly aged gracefully. But it has a certain charm, too – and an incredible soundtrack to boot.

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