3. Burnout 3: Takedown
Burnout games have always been quick but, for us, it's Burnout 3's single-seater that's quickest. There's just something about the way the back end of the car steps out over bumps that makes it feel a twice as fast as it already is. And the experience is more exhilarating than that ride you took in a shopping trolley with your mates. Yeah, the one that ended in that trip to A&E.
The thing that makes Burnout 3 feel so fast is that you're often racing into oncoming traffic, so its speed is combined with yours to create obstacles flying towards you at 250mph. This is about as fast as games get before they start taking away your punishment for crashing. Burnout, on the other hand, loves to see you go from 208mph to zero in 0.01 seconds. Crashing at this speed looks ace too but, despite the fireworks, it's the long sweeping powerslides that keep us coming back for more.
How fast you actually go: 209mph. A stupidly realistic speed in a stupidly unrealistic game. But still, despite the comparitively slow-sounding realism, that's as the combined speed of 4.4 racing greyhounds. Not sure how fast the 'point 4' would run, mind. Looks a bit unbalanced.
How fast it feels: Excuse me - sorry to trouble you. I think my brain may have dribbled out of my ears and stained your seat a funny colour. Do you have any calipers?
2. F-Zero GX
We've said before that F-Zero GX is better than WipeOut HD and we stand by that assessment. The biggest reason is the sheer speed of the thing. While the tracks do undulate and change direction in the blink of an eye like WipEout's, there's something about the way the cars are stuck to the track that makes the feeling of speed more pure. There's much less chance of hitting the wrong boost pad and flying off up a cliffside.
So what about speed? Well, we're well into sci-fi territory now. The game can top 2,000kph (1,242mph) in regular play, which makes it technically faster than our winner. But, in terms of how it looks while it's running, it doesn't quite have the eye-melting speed to give it the crown. But we're still talking the second fastest game ever, here. Just look at it go:
And then there's the snaking. A frankly ridiculous technique of weaving left and right to acheive massive speeds through what could be described as a bug yet Nintendo said was always supposed to be in it. With this technique, it's possible to top 5,000kph. Are you sure you're ready for this?
We've not included this in our reckoning, as it's regular gameplay that we're interested in today, but the fact that the game can do these sorts of speeds just cements it as the fastest game ever made.
How fast is it? 1,242mph is damn fast. That's 1.6x as fast as the current land speed record, which is held by Thrust SSC at 763mph. But if you want to get snaking, the 5,000kph speeds are four times as fast as the current land speed record. Let's just say your dog wouldn't be able to chase it down the road.
How fast does that feel? Erm... a bit squelchy, actually. Can you 'not look' for a sec? Thanks...