Friday, 7 February 2014

Super Mad Champ (SNES)

According to legend, this game was originally planned to have been a racing spin-off from the Kunio-kun series, though the tie-in was ditched, the game lived on independently. Like Motor Raid and the Road Rash series, it's a motorbike racing game in which the competitors can attack each other as they pass by.
It definitely seems to be influence by the Road rash games, as it features a simple career system, in which the player must spend money to buy and repair bikes and to enter races, while winnig money by placing highly in races.
Although you'll win a prize no matter what place you finish the race in, only the top three prizes are actually more than the cost of entering. Furthermore, only by placing in the top three can the player advance to the next race, rather than repeating it (and paying the entry fee again). Winning isn't the only way to gain money: there are also small bonuses available for every time you hit an opponent, as well as for finishing a lap in a high position. As well as he five race participants, there are also a bunch of guys riding around the tracks in red jumpsuits. Passing or being passed by them doesn't effect your position, but they can be attacked for bonuses, and if they happen to ride by while you're walking around after falling off your bike, they'll dismount and attack you. When this happens, you can beat them up for a hefty bonus (though due to the time taken to
do this, you'll definitely win the race), or you can get on their bike and ride off on it (which is useful if your bike has been destroyed).
The weird thing about this game is something you won't notice until a few races in, once you start buying faster bikes: it's really hard to steer at high speeds! Rather than just taking a nice simple approach to steering, where going faster just means slowing down a little to stay on the road at corners, steering a fast bike in Super Mad Champ is a delicate affair, requiring pressing the accellerate button and the d-pad at just the right times, and holding them just long enough so that you don't skid and fall off your bike in the middle of the road.
Unfortunately, this ruins the game for me. That kind of finicky steering makes the game feel more like the controls are your opponent, rather than the other racers, and it's just not very fun. The first few races are nice, but once you get into the GP1 class races, it's best to just write the game off and start playing something else.

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