for one player
by Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx
We don't really need a storyline for this game, and the one that comes with the manual is a bit on the cheesy side, so let's skip it. ROADBLASTERS is an adaptation of the arcade hit by Atari Games/Tengen, which also had the dubious distinction of being one of the earliest video game/toy tie-ins (Play the game, buy the Matchbox cars). People who are familliar with the arcade game can skip the next two paragraphs; this Lynx adaptation has it *ALL*.
The game, in a nutshell, is SPY HUNTER crossed with POLE POSITION, thrown into the 21st century. This is a concept that long-time Los Angeles residents (like myself) will appreciate: You drive a high-performance sports car through 50 crowded, twisting races. Other cars in your path are out to stop your commute, so either pass 'em or shoot 'em. Complicating the matter are third-party obstacles: roadside obstacles and cannons, immobile mines in the road, and roving spikers. Contact with any obstacle destroys your car.
To be fair, you have a few tricks on your side. Your only major concern in this game is fuel -- run out of gas, and the game ends. There is no time limit, and collisions are only annoying because they slow you down. Furthermore, at various points in the race, a jet will fly by and air-drop "power-ups" for your car. These range from the high-speed Nitro injector to the all-destructive Cruise Missile (my favorite).
As I wrote above, people familliar with the arcade game will be right at home with this one. Just like the Lynx version of KLAX, this adaptation features *ALL* of the gameplay from the arcade, intact. Indestructable blue limos, high-turbine motorcyclists, level warps, power-up weapons, the bonus multiplier...The only things missing from the arcade to this card are the coin slots, the high score table, and the free T-shirt contest. If you lose a run, you can continue (up to four times) if you want.
The game is really fast and challenging, and it's hard to find anything wrong with the game. The game promises to be a no-holds-barred, high-speed, action-packed thriller, and it delivers. My only gripe comes with the controls; as with most home video driving games, steering with a joypad/joystick is not as accurate as using a steering wheel/control yolk. This is doubly annoying in ROADBLASTERS, because you need precision steering to both dodge obstacles and shoot well. With a little bit of practice, though, you will get used to the controls, and *REALLY* enjoy the game.
One reason this Lynx adaptation is so close to the arcade comes from the audios and visuals. Visually, everything looks either identical or VERY close to their arcade counterparts. The graphics are well-detailed, distinctive, and very colorful. The Lynx's graphics hardware are put to great use -- the smooth scaling and fast scrolling work together to make this one of the slickest, fastest, and most exciting driving games for ANY home video game system currently available. This game shows off the Lynx at its best.
Sounds are, similarly, a little short of perfection when compared to the arcade. The opening title tune, digitized voices, and game sounds are all from the arcade (I love the whine of the motorcycles when you pass them). However, the digitized voices have a bit of static to them (especially dissappointing when you realize how clean the voices on KLAX are), and the music is louder than the rest of the sounds, causing an annoying imbalance as you play. All in all, though, the game sounds fit the game accurately.
This is a mind-blowing *AWESOME* adaptation. I'd recommend it to most video-game players -- fans of driving games, fans of shooting games, fans of action games, and fans of the arcade original. It's a challenging, well-balanced arcade/action game, faithful to the original, worthy of the Lynx and offering lots of hours of fun.
This goes right up there with BLUE LIGHTNING as one of the best Lynx games around. Grab yourself a copy, but don't be surprised if they dissappear FAST.
GAMEPLAY: 9.5 GRAPHICS: 9.0 SOUND: 8.5 OVERALL: 9.0