Monday, 18 May 2015

Zippy Race (SG-1000)

Zippy Race is port of an arcade game, though I'm reviewing the SG-1000 version for three reasons: I didn't know this until I'd already played the SG-1000 version quite a bit, it's been a while since an SG-1000 game was featured on this blog and I just like the way SG-1000 games look. Obviously, it's a racing game, and though it's a pretty simple one, it's also pretty clever. The race in question is a ninety participant contest taking place across the USA, from Los Angeles to New York with a few other cities visited along the way. One odd point, though, is that though the player is riding a motorbike, all the other racers are in cars.

The game is fit into five stages, with your position in the race carrying over from stage to stage. Your bike's fuel tank serves as both a time limit and a health bar, and there are fuel tanks dotted around the stages to slightly replenish it. This being an old arcade game, there's also points to score, and I do like the various ways Zippy Race allows players to score points. The main two methods revolve around your position in the race: whenever you overtake a car, if overtaking that car puts you in a higher position than you've had at any prior point in the race, you get 500 points. Also, at the end of each stage, a big long chart of possible positions comes up, and bonus points are awarded based on your position on that chart. This also fulfills an even more important function than points: for every hundred points you get here, a small amount of fuel is replenished.

That leads into an example of the mechanical simplicity I love in this game, and how it all ties together so well: when you crash, you lose a chunk of your fuel bar and two cars will always pass you. When cars pass you, obviously your position in the race goes down, potentially affecting you end-of-stage bonus and the extra fuel that comes with it, but also stops you from getting points for passing cars until you've regained and surpassed your pre-crash position. This kind of simple, intertwined mechanic that effectively seperates good players from bad is something I really like, and I think works great in this game.

The game has five stages of two types: three of them take place in rural-looking environments and two in the desert. These two types of stage have their own set of obstacles and features, though they are all differently laid out from each other. The rural stages tend to have lots of bends and forks in the road, with not much else, while the desert stages have boulders and cacti strewn about the place, along with narrow bridges across rivers, and a much more generous supple or fuel cans and points items than the rural stages.

There is one thing I don't like at all in Zippy Race, however. At the end of each stage, there's a short psuedo-3D section, with a simple representation of a city in the background. These sections are just straight, featureless road on which the player avoids cars, but the sticking point is that they act like a kind of anti-bonus stage. You don't get any points or increase in rank for passing these cars, but you fuel is still depleting and you still get the penalty for crashing.

I liked this game a lot. As I've already said, the simple mechanics and they way they all weave together into a fun game really hooked me. I definitely recommend giving it a shot!
(This game is also known as MotoRace USA, Traverse USA and Mototour)

No comments:

Post a Comment