Amstrad Computer User1st December 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #49
If you drew beweaponed sports cars on the front of your rough book at school you will like Atari's arcade fantasy, a game where you control a car racing along a twisty road, with a front mounted cannon to ease the traffic jams.
The arcade game was a great hit. And, as is the fate of all such successes, was snapped up for conversion, US Gold bought the licence and commissioned David Looker to write the Amstrad version. David is a veteran of driving games, having written Nigel Mansell for Martech and 3D Stunt Bike for Amsoft - a game rumoured to have been designed by Alan Sugar.
In Road Blasters you sit behind a DeLorean shaped car with a view over the front. Extra weapons are dropped from a small plane - you need to line up and match speeds to get the goodies.
The machine gun is faster than the standard weapon. Nitro injectors whizz you along and are useful if you are low on fuel. Cruise missiles take out all obstacles with a nuke-like glow while electro shields protect your bodywork, allowing you to drive through other cars.
As you zoom down a three lane highway, the route is blocked by yellow and blue cars. Yellow ones, called Stingers, can be shot for points. Blue ones, Command cars, are nigh on indestructible. Static road hazards include pill boxes, toxic spills, spiked balls and mine fields.
Later in the game jeeps and motorcycles appear. In the arcade version the bikers are difficult to hit, but the limitations of Mode 0 pixels have made them portly targets here.
You are limited to the amount of fuel you can carry, though no matter how many cars you wreck, you can carry on playing until the tank is empty. Extra fuel can be picked up by driving into green or red fuel globes, which hover over the track. Half way along each of the 50 levels there is a zebra crossing which refuels your main tank. Extra range is catered for with a reserve tank.
This is added to as a bonus. How much you get depends on how well you do.
Comparisons can be made with Elite's Overlander. Road Blasters has less plot and only a flat road, but it plays better. Bullets fire the way the car is pointed, unlike Overlander which can only shoot into the screen.
US Gold's graphics are better, it feels more like driving. The 6 litre turbo slides convincingly on the corners.
The music (6128 version only) is good and screen update smooth. The game is every bit as addictive as the arcade original. Burn rubber!