Nuclear Rush is an unreleased shooter that was in development in 1993 for the Sega VR, the canned “virtual reality” accessory planned for the Mega Drive / Genesis. Four games were apparently developed for the system, each using 16 Mb cartridges that were to be bundled with the headset. One of these was Nuclear Rush, in which the players were able to fly with an hovercraft to fight in a futuristic war.
Thanks to Sega Forever we can read the original Sega VR press release that was published in Sega Visions magazine, August/September 1993:
From the moment you strap on the headset, you know that your gaming life will never be the same again. The world you see through the twin eye-pieces of the virtual reality (VR) headset responds as if it were another world, one you can explore by moving around without leaving your chair. […]
You are playing Nuclear Rush, the game that will be bundled with Sega VR, Sega’s new virtual reality headset. […]
Welcome to the year 2032. Get ready for a cataclysmic trek into a post-nuclear gold rush, where low-level nuclear waste is bartered as an energy source. You are posing as a nuclear pirate, piloting a hovercraft through radioactive wastelands guarded by heavily armed robots and drones.
As Iron Hammer, it’s possible that Nuclear Rush was playable even without the VR accessory. From an interview with Kevin McGrath at Sega 1 6, it seems that Nuclear Rush was completed before the Sega VR was cancelled:
My first project, called Nuclear Rush was to design and code one of the games that was going to be released with the SEGA VR Headset. It was a simple 3D shoot-em-up kind of game, but with the VR Headset it became an intriguing experience. We had concerns about creating nausea for the player, which could happen if the graphics are just slightly out of sync with the actual movement of the players head. Anyway, I spent a year on this project, and although SEGA paid us in full and we completed everything, the hardware never made it past prototype stage.
Thanks to Celine for the scan! (found in GamePower #21). You can also see Nuclear Rush in motion from the video below (thanks to Grooveraider YT channel!).