Tuesday, 10 June 2014
Express Raider (Arcade)
Anyway, Express Raider is an arcade game released by Data East in 1986, and it's a pretty early example of a game in which the player is the bad guy. I won't say first, because even if there's no earlier villain arcade games (which there might be, I haven't checked), there's probably something from the 80s british computer scene that features a playable bad guy.
The specific knave over whom your control will be exerted in this game is a nameless train robber/mass murderer in the old west. There's two types of robberies this no-good scoundrel commits: ones where he
The two types of robbery are represented by two types of play. The on-foot robberies see the player walking across the tops of the train carraiges, each of which is protected by a different guardian. This might sound like a beat em up setup, but as the enemies are fought one at a time, in fixed spaces, it's more along the lines of something like Karateka, a strictly Player-Vs-AI fighting game with a single playable character, but multiple opponents, a genre that was pretty much killed by Street Fighter II, and then buried by Rise of the Robots.
Other than the generic tough guy you'll encounter a few times on each fighting stage, there's also riflemen, big guys who try to shove you off the train with a wall of boxes, and the coal-shovelling guy who, on your arrival, diverts his attention from fuelling the train to ending your life. An interesting part of these sections is your health bar, which obviously get depleted via enemy attacks, but also gets restored through your successful attacks, making it something more of a momentum meter than a traditional health bar.
The other bits, the ones that take place on horseback, aren't nearly as interesting as the fighting bits, though they're not the chore I'd originally assumed them to be when I saw them in the game's attract demo. The
Express Raider is a fun, fairly unique game that definitely meets my recommendation. You should totally play it!