Revolutionary Concepts has done it again. After their excellent port of the Japanese laserdisc game Cobra Command, they have come out with a port of Road Blaster. This one is a fast-paced driving game from 1985, wherein you play the role of a driver who lost his wife to a cruel gang (which owns fleets of vehicles), and now seeks vengeance at any cost.
Road Blaster’s gameplay only uses two elements: the wheel and the shift. For some strange reason, there is no manual to explain how to play, which is inexcusable. The flashing directionals are easy enough to follow, but the brake and boost symbols are not immediately recognizable. Forcing players to figure it out while they try not to die is not how you make a game approachable.
So there’s a problem with your clutch?
Once understood, the controls are simple enough to use, which helps when you are trying to avoid combines and helicopters. Oh, and a word to the wise: Don’t use the touch controls for steering. They are awful and immensely frustrating. Luckily, the accelerometer controls are very responsive and useful, and they give a little bit of that old arcade feeling.
Road Blaster takes you through nine different levels of animated ‘˜80s action. You are treated to occasional cutscenes of your car narrowly avoiding danger if you succeed at the twists and turns, and the scenes seamlessly lead back to the gameplay. If you fail, on the other hand, you are shown your grisly fate, which is often tailored to where you are in a level.
Must’ve taken a wrong turn there.
You are given several lives in a playthrough, and you are judged at the end of each level by how many you lost– as well as how fast your reaction time was. By the way, if you aren’t quick on the latter, you have to get used to the explosion scenes. Even on Beginner difficulty, your reactions need to be fast, or the difficulty can be punishing.
Road Blaster is a game that screams 1980s, and it provides an enjoyable, adrenaline-pumping experience for fans of the original and arcade-lovers in general. The lack of introduction, flawed touch controls, and steep difficulty detract from its appeal to other audiences– but even with those, it remains a good game.