On its 30th anniversary year Moto Roader MC is getting its third release. It originally came out on the PC Engine CD, then in 2017 on Wii U Virtual Console. Now it’s hitting all current consoles as part of a anniversary celebration. This 1-4 player local couch racer is getting a bit of love but has it stood the test of time well? It’s tricky to answer.
Firstly – this game can be played with 5 players on the Switch – but the PS4 and XBox copies are limited to 4, leaving 1 AI driver in play. That’s no fault of the game – its the consoles. The fault of the publisher is that outside of screen resolution switching, button remapping and changing car shapes for each player – no extras are here. I’d have loved some concept art or a BGM player but alas no.
So what is this racing game for those like me who hadn’t played it before? It’s Super Sprint crossed with Micro Machines Military! You’ll have lots of single screen tracks to drive 10 lap races around. In a great innovation, tracks aren’t always circular – sometimes you drive off exit ramps on a screen and enter the other side of the map or elsewhere. Some of the best moments in Moto Roader MC involve quickly getting to grips with the trickier track layouts like become like mazes or require skill with sliding through an icy chicane or a spaceship conveyor belt. Boost pads are scattered about and shortcuts are aplenty. The tracks are nicely done even if some seem a little too oval-esque early on.
The two things that will make or break the game for you will be the handling and the weapons. Cars are too fast to turn tightly and so you’ll spend most of the time bouncing off of 90 degree turns or 180 hairpins. Often you’ll smash into your opponents and use them to get round corners quicker. Clean racing isn’t hugely incentivised and weapon usage is encouraged. You’ll be equipped with infinite missiles to fire in straight lines infront of you and bombs to drop and explode a couple of seconds after lobbing them behind you. These are extremely powerful because Moto Roader MC will not just stop you, it’ll spin the car around to face backwards on every single hit. This means that you spend more time weaving to avoid weapons than actually racing. I found my races would easily descend into “who escapes the lap 1 missile and bomb fest” but even then you aren’t safe. Tracks are so short the leader will end up lapping someone and then last bombs or missiles the leader and then you are all back together again. It is rage inducing but also quite funny – so long as you look at it as a party game and not a racing game.
Outside of multiplayer and a career of championships – all of which are open from the start – there is time trial without leaderboards and a 1992 top down Rocket League style mini game which is quite fun for a while too. Ultimately though, whilst the AI do make a decent opponent – its because of the weapon spamming that you’ll lose more often than it being pure driver skill. This sounds incredibly salty I know but if everyone can spam weapons constantly with just a tiny reload time delay – it devalues everything else around it.
So I came away from Moto Roader MC having enjoyed a bit of Super Sprint styled fun but being reminded of how much more rewarding pure driving games like Ironman Offorad are over this. However, if you want to have a really retro mindless blast – this does fit the bill, looks good for a 1992 game and has plenty of tracks to give you a few hours of light, rageful entertainment. Races are over in under 2 minutes so if you get pummelled, you can move on quickly but that uneven gameplay became tiresome quickly.
Maybe they are testing the waters for a reboot, but if they do, please give everyone limited ammo next time!
Review copy provided by publisher.
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