Death Race is seemingly inspired by the Sylvester Stallone movie Death Race 2000 released 15 years before this game. The object of the game is to run down innocent pedestrians in your souped-up automotive grim reaper. Progress through the race courses in 8 U.S. cities, moving from west to east starting with San Diego and Phoenix. Each race consists of capturing a flag and finding the exit door, all while squishing or gunning down as many people on foot as possible while avoiding helicopters and heat seeking missiles that are actively trying to discourage this unique hobby. If the time runs out, a barrage of missiles descends on the player's car to indicate that the race is over. The player has a certain amount of money to begin with and earns more money for completing the races alive. This money can be used to upgrade the engine, steering, tires, chassis, or weapon systems on the car.