Super Indy Champ (スーパーインディチャンプ Supa Indi Chanpu , "Super Indy Champ") is a Super Famicom video game that is exclusive to Japan. The player controls an Indy racing car that can travel up to 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). The player can use one of the previously made characters; their names are phonetically the same as the actual full-time Champ Car drivers who participated in the 1994 Champ Car season. Real names could not be used due to licensing and translation issues. Players can also create their own race car driver (either based on fiction or on the player's preferred driver); the gender of the driver can be switched from male to female by switching the masculine pictures to the feminine pictures.
There are four different pictures of male race car drivers and four different pictures of female race car drivers that the player can use for his or her avatar. Instead of using an anime or super deformed look, the pictures of the drivers have a photorealistic look just like they came off the print and into some racing newspaper or magazine.
There are sixteen tracks and thirteen racers in total; most tracks are road courses while some are oval speedways. Game modes include: Lights mode, championship, single race, duel, time trial, the 500 miles (800 km) race (a.k.a. Indianapolis 500), and spectator mode. Lights mode is which is roughly equivalent to the "dynasty" mode present in 2000s racing and other sports games. A convenient battery can save up to three race car drivers. From there, the player can engage in the entire 200-lap race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in addition to the battle mode which allows the player to use one of his or her personalized races against a pre-determined opponent. The game can be played by zero to two players. Watching the computer play against itself in Watch mode can teach the players about the strategies that each driver uses in a typical race in that particular venue.
In the career (Lights) mode, the player starts out in the minor leagues. However, he or she can choose between starting out with an A-type, B-type, or C-type car. A-type cars are the fastest vehicles while the C-type cars are the slowest vehicles. If he or she makes it through a few tracks in good position, then he or she is offered a chance to be promoted to the Real World Indy to race on actual tracks. Turning down that opportunity for advancement keeps him or her in the minor leagues to race against easy opposition until he or she is ready again. Acceptance, however, gives the player a choice of racing teams to play for (and quadruples the laps that the player has to race from five laps to twenty-five laps).
Winning races or doing better than expected will result in the player being trusted with higher levels of automobile technology. This naturally results in special equipment being developed (although the player can choose to decline to use this new technology). Special equipment starts with a 5% bonus per component. Eventually, equipment with a 5% bonus will be upgrade with equipment with a 10% or more bonus for speed, braking, acceleration, and cornering. Fans will slowly flock to the player's character after a few successful runs. The team owners will eventually start improving the player's crew team (mechanic, spotter, crew chief, and manager) in addition to the player's wealth. As the player proves him or herself in the professional racing world, the player starts rising up in the season standings.
The three most important things for a race car driver in this game are his or her level of personal wealth, the level of technical skills on his or her team (depicting how technically advanced and/or wealthy the racing organization is), and the amount of fans that he or she has (depicting how popular the driver is with the spectators). A vicious cycle can be created where a player who keeps losing races see a shrinking fan base followed by a decreasing level of wealth. However, the player has the option to go to a less prestigious racing team on a temporary basis so that he or she can pursue a superior pit crew team. This improvement would come at a price of significantly decreased wealth (the money that would normally fund the player's salary would go to the pit crew instead). Pit crew investment is gauged on a system of stars that range from zero to six.
Zero stars signifies minimal investment while six stars signify maximum investment. Usually, the only way to achieve the six star rating is to be a member of a high-ranked team. The eventual goal is to get the top ranked racing team interested in the player's character(s) and to reach a professional racing level of "A" and a team ranking of "A." It is possible for a relatively low racing team to offer a much better salary and technical levels than the next-highest racing organization. A. J. Foyt's (referred to in the game as A.J. Fight) racing team has the resources to offer more wealth and technical skills than any other low-tier racing organization.
Risks and consequences
While going to a more prestigious team might be beneficial for the player in the long run in terms of wealth and technical skills, it can be considered to be dangerous in the short run. Pit crew levels must be built up from scratch again. Special equipment will be lost if the player defects to a racing team with considerably more prestige than the racing organization that he or she left behind. These lack of bonuses will return acceleration, braking, maximum speed, and cornering to default levels. Losing the enhanced features will force the player not to make a single mistake in pit strategy. Without adapting to the new weaknesses with a proper pit strategy, the player could end the race in 14th (last place) instead of 8th (near the middle of the pack) because the player filled up with a fresh supply of methanol fuel when he or she didn't need it to win the race.
If the player does not win the championship in the first year, it is not considered an automatic game over. The player is free to try again the following season (i.e., repeat the same sixteen tracks with an improved race car) and use his or her experience to correct the mistakes that were made in the previous season for another shot at winning the championship.
- 1993 Indianapolis 500 - the Indianapolis 500 that the game uses as a general guideline for all of its races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway