Sinclair User

Road Runner

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

Published in Sinclair User #64

Road Runner

In sharp contrast to Taipan, it is pretty easy to summarise Roadrunner. You control Roadrunner and as you'd expect you run away as much as possible. Over a variety of scrolling desert landscapes you continue the age-old battle between an obscure desert bird and its arch adversary the Coyote.

The spirit of the cartoon and indeed the coin-op of which this is a conversion, has been faithfully captured. The desert landscape has been drawn in surprisingly impressive detail. The scrolling is even half-way smooth. More disappointing is the size of the two protagonists - tiny little sprites. You get used to it, but surely they could be bigger. Maybe part of the reason is speed.

The success of the game (and the cartoon) is the sense of crazed pace at which chases occur. You run around the desert paths with the coyote Always only steps behind, losing time when Roadrunner has to stop and peck up seed.

Road Runner

As the level increases the desert paths get more and more twisty - any time lost by bumping into passing rocks or worse still, running up blind paths, brings the Coyote that little bit nearer. You can't afford to make many mistakes. Quite apart from the Coyote - who pursues you relentlessly - there is every chance that Roadrunner will be run down by one of the countless Acme trucks that zoom down the desert highway. The Acme Co are on their way to deliver.... the other feature of the game! Which is a wide array of whacky objects that the Coyote uses to get ahead of you. These include such authentic Roadrunner cartoon gems as jet-powered skateboards and pogo sticks.

That's about it really. The game has quite a lot going for it in the thrills-and-spills dept - it's certainly fast anyway, and the backgrounds are fairly good.

On the minus side are the minescule central graphics.

Road Runner

One surprising additional plus is the cleverness of the music at the beginning of the game which plays the Sabre Dance (I think) most effectively - can this be a Spectrum? But then during the game you get almost no sound whatsoever - rather disappointing in fact.

How entertaining you find the game will almost totally depend on your sense of humour (do you like seeing things go splat?) and how much you like being chased. (A sizeable proportion of you would, I suspect, rather do the chasing - and, of course, there's no blasting.)

If both of these things score highly you'll like Roadrunner but if big graphics are more your bag - well I can see all those Write Stuff letters saying we gave this far too many stars already...

Overall Summary

Straightforward chase game - which captures the original cartoon quite well - let down by small graphics.

Ricky Sullivan