Ever since Dragon’s Lair, full motion gaming became the centerpiece of innovation, but the problem was, you didn’t control the game, the game controlled you, the screen would show buttons and you pressed button that they told you to press, no wonder the genre died fast, but what we got from the genre at that point was a controversial game that wasn’t really offensive at all, the American politics didn’t have anything to moan about and started attacking anything they didn’t understand. And we also got another FMV game that few people know, Road Avenger (or Road Blaster or FX Blaster), developed and published by Data East for the Arcades, but I’m taking a look at the Sega CD port, developed by Telenet and Wolf Team and published by Wolf Team, Renovation and Sega. The Arcade version was released in 1985, whilst the Sega CD port was released in 1993.
So a gang is terrorising a city, meanwhile, you and your girl is cruising in your car, until some gang members crash into your car and tumble down a hill, destroying your car, killing your girl and you somehow survive. So of course, in order to get your vengeance you’re going to kill every gang member, just with your car, before battling the gang leader. This story just screams cheesy 80’s with revenge, cars, explosives, lots of testosterone all over the place. Sort of like Mad Max, except for the fact that it’s not so apocalyptic.
So the game is an interactive game, a full-motion video. The video plays and the game tells you what to press, for example, if a car is ramming into you, you may fall down the hill, but the game tells you to press an arrow button, holding it will avoid this mishap, not pressing it or pressing the wrong button will make you crash or explode. At times you need to press a turbo or brake button depending on what the game tells you to press. It’s a straightforward game, but for beginners it’s really hard to master, the game feels much more like a memory game than an immersive movie experience, in fact, I wouldn’t exactly call it an immersive movie experience since you’re much more focused on what button you’re going to need to press next and pray you don’t press the wrong one. But you know what, considering that the game is split into different levels, you always get a rush trying to finish a level and having a sigh of relief and a fist in the air when you make it in one piece. Though at times I’ve tried to press a button and it doesn’t always work, even when I’m pressing the correct button.
Now for the FMV, it’s an anime from the 80’s, and I love it, the animation is fantastic and it has some great moments just because of it, I’m a lover of good 2D animation. But here’s the thing, this praise is for the arcade version because the footage of the Sega CD version sucks. You see the Sega CD was widely infamous for having a lot of FMV games, unfortuately, the footage was either in decent enough quality but the screen was too small to see for some or it would be full screen but compressed so badly to the point where you have no idea what’s going on half the time, and the Sega CD version of Road Avenger has the same issue too. There isn’t much music, and I’m talking about the Sega CD version here, but the most memorable song is the opening theme, it’s both cheesy and touching at the same time.
Did you Know? The animation was made by Toei Animation, under the guidance of Yoshinobu Inan, who also directed Gundam: Char’s Counter Attack, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, and the best darn Transformers movie ever made, Transformers: The Movie.
Overall, the game is ok, for the new kids, the whole game overall is a quick-time event, and if you’re fed up of those elements of new games you’re not going to like this one. But it’s a good time to test your reflexes for that Call of Duty, playing Road Avenger or anything similar will make you a great MLG gamer.
You can get it on the Arcade, MSX, Sega Mega-CD, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, LaserActive, 3DO, VHS, iOS, Sharp X68000 and Windows.