RoadBlasters, Arcade

Released into arcades in 1987, RoadBlasters is a legendary driving/shooting game from Atari Games. It is, however, a little tricky to control…

Back in 1987 it was acceptable to have a control system like the one found in RoadBlasters, because we didn’t really know any better… It feels like you’re constantly ‘pointing yourself in the right direction’ with RoadBlasters, rather than actually driving (never mind steering – it never felt like steering…), and it is very easy to end up all over the shop. It’s safe to say that the controls in RoadBlasters are “sensitive”…

When you get used to the archaic controls, though, the game does become enjoyable.

The third-person perspective is good. Object scaling is excellent. There are no road undulations, though.

You’ve got to avoid or shoot enemy cars and motorbikes; catch new weapons dropped from a flying ship; drive into the green balls (they top up your fuel); and avoid collisions with mines and roadside objects. And reach the end of a stage within the time limit. Driving off-road will slow you down, which you can’t afford to do – the timer is very strict.

A slight graze with any other vehicle will turn your car into a raging inferno. And – while the explosion is graphically very impressive – it might mean the difference between completing a stage and not. When you run out of time, or fuel, the game ends.

You can put more coins in to continue from the last level you were on, which is good, and there are 50 levels in total. At the start of the game you can choose to begin on three different difficulty levels, Rookie, Veteran, and Expert.

While RoadBlasters might play a bit too strange for many modern gamers, it does have a high nostalgia factor, therefore does appeal to retro heads. Personally, the control system is a bit too funky for my liking. I remember playing this in arcades, back in 1987at the same time I was learning to drive a real car – and thinking that the control system was ‘whack’ then. Time hasn’t changed my opinion of it much…

More: RoadBlasters on Wikipedia


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