It has been 50 years since the nuclear disaster. The sport of sprint racing is now a ruthless battle between armed cars. These races take place on tracks built in the ruins of the dangerous nuclear zone known only as the BADLANDS. It's all-out war on the track as players blast away at the drones (and each other) to finish first. Players shoot play-field targets for extra points and bonus missiles.
Bonus wrenches appear at regular intervals which can be collected and used to upgrade the player's vehicle. The available upgrades are: missiles, tires, turbo, increased speed, and shields. This was to be Atari's last game in the 'Sprint' series.
Unlike its two most famous prequels, Championship Sprint and Super Sprint, Bad Lands used a standard resolution monitor instead of the medium resolution monitor used in the past. This means the cars are somewhat larger and, because of this scale issue, the tracks feel smaller and more cramped than in other games in the series. As a result of this, only three cars compete, instead of the four vehicles that appeared in earlier games.
Bad Lands re-uses some of the sounds from Championship Sprint and Super Sprint, particularly notable when bonus wrenches are collected. (arcade-history)