Saturday, 27 June 2015

Moto Roader II (PC Engine)

I don't know a lot about the PC Engine, and the mareting strategies of the companies that made and published games for it, but I think it might be a fair estimate to say that it probably leant towards the otaku end of the market. I say this because it seems like a higher proportion of its sports and racing games have fantasy or sci-fi themes than most consoles, and because a lot of PC Engine games have artwork of scantily-clad anime girls liberally strewn throughout. Moto Roader II is, of course, a futuristic racing game with such teenage boy-baiting artwork featured on its menus and pre-race screens.

For a 1991 console game, there's a fair bit of depth in there too, though. There's three kinds of vehicles to pick from (car, tank and hovercraft), and you can pick a different one for each race. You can also buy upgrades for the tires, body and engine for each vehicle, to improve their steering, health and speed, respectively. Oh yeah, there's health meters, and once they reach zero, it's an instant game over, which is a little unfair, as CPU drivers simply get an automatic last place (even if mor than one drops out), and get to come back in the next race. There's also consumable items to buy, like weaponry (the freeze gun is partcularly brutal) and a one-use repair item. Between the three different kinds of vehicles, there's the usual variations in speed and durability and the like, but one interesting addition is that the hovercrafts, since they float above the ground, can only crash into other hovercrafts.

There's only a few different themes for the tracks, though I guess if it were a more realistic racing game, there'd only be one, so this isn't worth complaining about. Furthermore, there's a couple of different tracks for each theme, and on higher difficulties (and towards the end of the easiest difficulty), the game makes newer, longer tracks by bolting together more than track, with a glowing red tunnel to transition between the different themes.

Moto Roader II isn't a  classic, and I'd go as far as to say that it's barely noteworthy at all. But It's a pretty fun game, like a nerdier version of the Micro Machines games. Though I've only been able to play it single player, it does support up to five human players, which I can only assume enhances the game massively.

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