Road Runner

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

Published in Computer & Video Games #71

Road Runner

The first meeting with this game, was at a motorway service station, on the way back from watching a preview of the new Bond film, which was arranged by Domark. It was about half past midnight, and I'd stopped off for a cup of coffee and a butty, when I spotted the face of Road Runner on an arcade machine. Anyway, £2.40 down and half an hour later, I felt I should carry on back to Accrington. I was incredibly impressed by both the simplicity, and the addictiveness of the game, and couldn't wait for someone to release it. I couldn't believe my luck when a copy arrived the next day.

To my surprise, it was almost an exact copy, in both graphics and gameplay, and to be quite honest, is one of the best arcade conversions I've ever played.

You play the role of Road Runner, (Speedious Birdious), being pursued by that ever hungry Wile E. Coyote (Starvingous Carnivorous), whose sole meaning in life is to do the Road Runner what Colonel Sanders did to chickens. Now the only weapons our feathered friend has are his legs, whereas good ol Wile E. has bombs, jet-powered skateboards, jet packs, and pogo sticks.

Road Runner

All Road Runner has to do, is to get to the end of each level, without being blown up, squashed, eaten, or generally being destroyed in numerous ways. This may sound easy but the hazards don't just come from our favourite meat eater but lay on the roads in the form of mines, trucks, boulders, crevasses, invisible paint and bird seed, all of which must be jumped, dodged, ducked and generally avoided, all except the last one. You must eat the bird seed, except the ones which Wile E. has laced with iron filings which will slow you down. Also on the road, are glasses of lemonade which you can either drink to gain a bonus, or make Wile E. drink to slow him down. When you complete a level and lose your last life, you can go straight up to it via a short cut on level 1.

As I've said, the gameplay is as close to the original arcade game as is possible and it's just as addictive. Shaun "Trailblazer and Kik Start" Southern must be congratulated on the Commodore version, especially in the graphic department. You really feel like you're involved in a cartoon, as they capture the characters to a tee. I loved the way Wile E. looks round in amazement when you run past him! Both backdrops and sound are excellent and there's even the cartoon's jingle when you lose your last life.

My only criticism is that because each level is a multi-load, it could become a pain for cassette users, but on disk it plays like a charm. But this and you'll have fun for ages, and a guarantee that at some point you'll laugh out loud. I know I did!