Hot Rod is an top-down arcade racing game by Sega, released in 1988, it was later developed and published in 1990 by Activision for the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Atari ST.
It allows up to four players simultaneously, and the player competes in races with three other cars. It is possible to upgrade the car at a Parts Shop. The game is derived from a similar game, Super Sprint, released by Atari a few years earlier.
The concept of this game is fairly different from many other racing games. Every time a player falls off screen, they will be penalized by having gas subtracted from their gas meter. If the gas meter reaches "0", the game is over. The player can pick up flashing targets symbolized with a "G". By picking up the target, 20 units gas will be added to the player's gas meter. If the player successfully crosses the finish line, they will be rewarded additional units of gas.
After every race, the player will then go to the Parts Shop. From there, with whatever money they have earned from races, they can purchase upgrades for their car. The types of upgrades include three front or rear engines, three types of bumpers, three types of spoilers, and two types of tires. However, the selection of tires is abudant, and include radial tires, speed tires, spike tires, and snow tires.
There's a total of 30 different races spanning across ten different environments, which includes busy highways, dirt roads, a beachside course, a mountain course, farmlands, snowy terrain, a desert, a construction zone, a shipyard, and city streets. There are 3 racers per environment. Every third race, the finish line takes the players to a stadium for a victory ceremony. Afterwards, the players find themselves in a new environment.
The home computer game music was made by Ben Daglish. The catchy "Shop" theme used in this game would also be used in later Sega racing games including Turbo Outrun, the Sega Genesis version of Super Hang-On, and the Game Gear version of GP Rider.