Amstrad Action

Road Runner

Author: Gary Barrett
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #26

Road Runner

Last month had several games based on cartoon series and this month Road Runner joins them in another arcade conversion. Road Runner does his best to outwit the ever hungry Wile E. Coyote, who is portal to Road Runner and chips.

As Road Runner you have to beep-beep your way across four different levels of right-to-left scrolling arcade action. The four levels are loaded one at a time from cassette or disk. You have to collect seed which lies on the road, while avoiding Wile E. and the many other hazards in your way. If you miss five piles of seed during a level, then you will faint and lose a life.

Wile E. Coyote tries to catch you by using gadgets from the Acme company, in the same way that he did in the cartoon series. On the first level he chases you on foot. On level two he chases you on the back of an overgrown firework and on a pogo stick. Level three has him back on foot. Level four has the crevasse, where Wile E. flies after you with a jet-pac on and throws dynamite at you. If Wile is not using another gadget and he's lelt so far behind that he disappears off the screen, then he puts on a rocket powered skateboard and uses that to catch up with you.

Road Runner

The game features hazards which can kill either you or Wile E. Bonus points are scored for Wile E. being killed. The first level only has trucks on it, which drive on from the left hand side of the screen. Later levels introduce the other hazards of mines, boulders, crevasses and cannons. Mines explode killing whoever steps on them, boulders and cannon balls kill whoever they hit. All three of these hazards, and the dynamite thrown by Wile E., leave a tastefully charred body on the screen if they hit.

Crevasses have to be jumped otherwise you lose a life, and they're particularly difficult when dynamite is being lobbed at you. But things aren't all bad. Lemonade causes you to stop while drinking it, but also gives you bonus points. Whenever you lose a life you are taken back towards the start of the level by Wile E., but thankfully not always right the way back.

Each of the four levels of the game have different scenery. After the fourth level the scenery returns to level one, but this time there are extra hazards. The first level has a short cut which can be used when restarting a game to reach the last level that you were on. Bonus lives are awarded every 10,000 points.

Road Runner

There's good use of colour in the game although the actual playing area is small. The scenery scrolls smoothly and the sprites are clearly identifiable. There are no tunes in the game, but the spot effects are good.

Road Runner has a lot of the atmosphere of the cartoons, but it is let down by poor collision detection. Another minor limitation is that if both you and Wile E. are killed at the same time, Wile E. always recovers first and you lose a life. Not a classic, but bound to provide many hours of fun.

First Day Target Score

Complete the first four levels.

Second Opinion

Road Runner

The animation is delightful - little leggies whizzing around at high speed. The gameplay's a lot of fun but it can't be described as difficult by any means. The only really testing part is getting over the crevasses. It captures much of the flavour and atmosphere of the cartoon, but once that wears off you'll find it gets repetitive.

Green Screen View

No problems beep-beeping away in green.

The Verdict

Graphics 83%
P. Nice how a charred remains are left if you or Wile E. explode.
P. Smooth scrolling.

Road Runner

Sonics 52%
N. Only spot effects

Grab Factor 78%
P. Great fun trying to get Wile E. killed.
N. but frustrating when he drags you back towards the start of the level.

Staying Power 70%
N. Things get difficult after only a couple of levels.
N. Only four basic levels to travel along.

Overall 74%
P. A good game which could have been excellent with a bit more work.

Gary Barrett

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