Note: This game was reviewed on actual Turbografx 16 hardware with no emulation.
It is Moto Roader for the Turbografx 16. Is this a hidden classic from the past? Has Super Mario Kart finally met its match? And most important of all, will it earn the beloved Malstrom Award, the most distinguished award in gaming? There is only one way to find out!
Moto Roader is a top down racing game with five cars. The tracks differ in length and design. Sometimes there are ramps, tight corners, ice, even holes. Your first choice is to choose which circuit you play in, then you play races ‘called heats’ of tracks within that circuit.
There are three things that make this game interesting.
The first is the music. It is well done here in Moto Roader. The music made me want to keep going. The game has a great vibe. Even when I wanted to stop, that song going on with that futuristic helicopter showing me the next track pumped me up to do the next race.
Above: Moto Roader has personality!
Second, this game does five players simultaneous multiplayer. Very few Turbografx 16 games do this. This is a party game, but with computers it can be boring.
Third, there is an intricate upgrade system where you earn money from races and upgrade your car.
Above: Upgrade your car, reader!
Did you see that in the above photo, reader? Of course not; it is because you are slacking off again, reader. Where would you be without me? Yes, you do start off with a deLorean as your starter vehicle. So cool!
Above: Your Moto Roader car will not go back through time.
Now this game has the WORST first impressions of any game I have ever seen! If you try it, reader, you will suffer the same fate. But since you are reading this incredible review, you will know what creates those terrible impressions and how to avoid them.
Above: I cannot stop laughing at it. He does everything wrong.
Above: “Obviously, I must be doing something wrong.” “Not playable!”
Here is what is going on. The car starts with Handle A as default. Handle A is that up turns up, left turns left, down turns down, and right turns right. Handle A is supposed to be for the complete noob. But us gamers need Handle B which is hit left and car turns left, hitting right turns the car right. Changing Handle A to Handle B costs no money and should be the first thing to do to make this game playable.
In order to make the car ‘go’, you need a better engine and a better body.
Getting a Gas Tank as a special is recommended. The number at the button is the ‘gas’ which goes down every time the screen moves you forward in the bubble. When you run out of ‘gas’, it is game over. The Gas Tank adds 45 units of gas and is three charges.
This is a review of the Virtual Console version. Listen to the reviewer cuss and freak. “This game is shit! All my friends think it is shit!”
Poor Moto Roader! Yet, when we listen to the PC-Engine Fans, they think this game is incredible and awesome. “Git gud11!!” they reply.
Above: “I hate how I can drive through my opponent’s cars…” hahaha
These video reviews are absolutely hilarious if you understand the game somewhat.
Curious about the PC-Engine Fans heaping praise on this game, I went and ‘got guuuud’. I was winning races, getting the right upgrades at the right time, and smashing things. The game is addictive with its upgrade system. But you know what? The chief gameplay of the small playfield view of the screen with constant warping gets old. Even when winning, I do not want to win the circuits. There is not enough variation.
This game is more fun with five friends. But the problem is that they will not be your friends if you make them play Moto Roader.
This game is not ‘utter shit’ but is not ‘awesome when you get guuuud’ as the PC-Engine nerds say. The game does everything right except the gameplay. Multiplayer is there. Music is cool. I like the vibe the game puts out. I like the upgrades. But the gameplay just isn’t compelling today. While I hate 3d, 3d has been wonderful for racing games. This constant warping is stupid. The gameplay is annoying. Spend your time playing better games.
No, it doesn’t get a Malstrom Award. It does have some interesting elements, but you are better off skipping this one.
Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.
-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-
Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)
Devil’s Crush (Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)
Galaga ’90 (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)
Gradius (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)
Final Soldier (Good music and polish, easier difficulty, multiple powerup options. laser bubbles! Consistently fun.)
R-type (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)
Salamander (Challenging and addictive. If you like NES Life Force, you will love this.)
Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)
(8) World Court Tennis (Most interesting RPG on the TG 16. Seriously.)
(7) Alien Crush (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)
(6) Bonk’s Adventure (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)
(6) Boxy Boy (Solid puzzle game, but it gets stale fast. Contains level editor.)
Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)
(5) Military Madness (Overrated, dated gameplay, repetitious, dull colorless setting of the moon)
(5) Neutopia (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)
(4) Bomberman (dull and boring, totally surpassed by its sequels on this system)
(4) Ninja Gaiden (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)
(3) Moto Roader (5 player party game, great upgrade system, terrible core gameplay. USE HANDLE B!)
(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)
(1) Keith Courage in Alpha Zones (The 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)