Racing Lagoon is a 1999 game by Square that is hard to pigeonhole: inspired by Japan’s problems with illegal street racing in the 1980s, it cast you as one such miscreant in a world where you alternate between racing, an RPG-style story, and relatively in-depth car customisation. It was released on PlayStation, never made it out of Japan, never got a sequel, and in the years since has acquired something of a cult status for certain Square fans.
So much so that one group, led by translator Hilltop, decided to translate the full game into English: and now they’re done (thanks Kotaku). “The past six months have been an absolute pleasure, and I’ve been humbled by the amount of support this project has gotten,” writes Hilltop. “Over twenty years later, it is finally time for the rest of the world to experience one of the most unique and memorable RPGs ever created. I want to extend my deepest thanks to the rest of the team and to everyone who kept the dream of this game’s localization alive.”
You can download the localisation patch here, which comes with instructions for how to apply it to your legally obtained Racing Lagoon .bin file.
Apparently you start races with other drivers by flashing your headlights at them, and when you beat them you get to take pieces off their car as your prize! The world also features scripted missions, a battle mode, and a story about a mysterious race held ten years prior to the game’s events. Your character Akasaki is a member of one of the street racing teams, Team Bay Lagoon Racing, who according to Wikipedia is “determined to find out about the mystery of the ‘Fastest Legend’ as well as his forgotten past.”
Part of the reason people love this game is the soundtrack, a little of which can be heard in the trailer, but the visual style of it still shines through—which you definitely can’t say about most PlayStation games. It’s a real curiosity from Square Enix’s long and storied history, and I guess now we can find out if its cult status is deserved.