Your Sinclair

Road Runner

Author: Phil South
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Your Sinclair #22

Road Runner

I think the really wacky way to start a review on this game would be to say "Meep meep", but I really couldn't handle the resulting arguments... you know, some say he says "Meeb meeb", others "Beeb beeb", "Beep beep", or even "Mbeep mbeep"... C'mon guys, it's only a cartoon series!

Any road up, after the Road Runner cartoon, came Road Runner the Atari arcade game. You play the part of the Road Runner, nipping around the vertical screen pecking up the little piles of seed. You're pursued by Wile E Coyote, and you really have to get up some speed and fancy cornering to escape his clutches. The Acme Trucking company is best avoided, too, unless you want to end up as a hood ornament on one of its trucks.

The conversion of a 16 bit arcade game, with all its colours and music is a tricky thing for the Speccy, as we've discovered in the past, and although Speccy Road Runner is predictably primitive compared to it's coin-op counterpart, it doesn't suffer as much as some have.

Road Runner

The game takes place in a vertical section of the Speccy screen, imitating the format of the original, which scrolls back and forth as you struggle to pick up the piles of seed to keep you going along the road. Unlike most scrolling games, you can actually go back on yourself and get the piles you you missed, which is handy 'cos you miss quite a lot. As you progress along the road it forks and turns, and you have to keep pecking. running, and thinking so's you don't take the wrong fork. The screen has some depth, so you can go 'in' to the screen and 'out' towards the bottom, which means you can follow the twisty roads if you're quick enough, but the thing is that while you are bound to the paths, Coyote can run straight across the terrain. At the top of the screen is a seed meter which tells you how you're doing for seed, if you miss too many piles, you run out of juice.

If this had been an original arcade game. it probably wouldn't have rated very highly at all, but as it's a conversion it actually comes out quite well, with most of the qualities of the coin-op showing through in the finished Speccy version. It's fast and addictive, and though the graphics are a little eccentric 'cos of attribute problems, they are funny enough to carry the game. Especially the bit where the Coyote is chasing you on a jet-powered skateboard! Great fun.

A true enough conversion of the popular arcade game, with lots to recommend. Good clean cartoon fun.

Phil South

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