Old and New Games: Nitronic Rush

Welcome to Nitronic CIty.  Drive Safely.  You're not in Massachusetts anymore!

“Nitronic Rush is not a typical racing game.  It is an experimental survival driving game.

This game’s graphics, physics and architecture were built completely from the ground up using C++, and without any premade engines.

–From the introduction

Nitronic Rush is indeed not typical!  Released late last year, and just recently updated, this is a project from a student group at DigiPen Institute of Technology.  The game has already made a lot of ripples in the independent gaming community;  it won the Gamer’s Choice award at the 2012 Indie Game Challenge.

As the introduction says, it is an experimental survival driving game.  Nitronic City has been attacked.  This futuristic city has been infected with a malicious computer virus.  In a last-second fail-safe, the city’s computer system deployed an anti-virus measure just before it was overrun.

That anti-virus measure is you.

In your neon-lit car, resembling a combination of a Corvette, a DeLorean and a Countach, you must drive to the heart of Nitronic City and destroy the virus at its CORE.

Here’s the trailer:


Your car has no weapons, but it is exceptionally maneuverable, with rocket thrusters along all degrees of freedom.

Tail stand, in a car!  Awesome!

You’ll need them, too:

Car driving up wall sideways, for points!  You'll probably need disposable undergarments, too.

Your car even has wings and a short flight capability:

This car flies!  Now, to try it on Rt. 114...

But as in any well-balanced game, your car has limitations.  The thrusters you use for flight and stunts get hot.  This is what happens when you stand on the gas:

Car about to ignite, just like a real Lamborghini!


The malevolent CORE will send sawblades, laser gates and falling spike cylinders to meet you:

You have to dodge falling stuff.  Come to think of it, I-93 in Boston isn't any different...

But there are some surprisingly beautiful moments:

Blue sky.  In the Matrix no less!

But never let it be forgotten that Nitronic Rush is a homage to Tron, and all of cyberspace:

If we drive slow and take notes, can we recreate this game from source?

And always take to heart the important lessons of physics that you learn in driving through these pixelated streets and skies:

Inertia blows, too and don't you forget that!

Nitronic Rush is free to download.

Next in this series:  An old arcade genre gets an extra life on the PC.