Amstrad Action

Road Runner

Author: Adam Peters
Publisher: Hi-Tec
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #76

Road Runner

"Beep, beep," as the telephone always says when you try ringing British Rail. It's also the clarion call of that daft bird with a haircut similar to the one most of our Crap Haircut Compo entrants want to see Adam P sporting. What's his name again? Road Runner, yeah that's it.

Hi-Tec is into cartoon characters in a big way. It got hold of the Hanna Barbera licence a couple of years ago. bringing out various Hanna Barbera character games (Top Cat, Hong Kong Phooey, etc), four of which are featured on a recent compilation. Now it seems they've come to a similar agreement with the Warner Bros Looney Tunes posse.

Road Runner (or Road Runner And Wile E Coyote, to give it its full name) is a game of two stages and eight levels. The first stage is a single screen jobbie (i.e. no scrolling), where Roadie moves from left to right, jumping every now and then.

Road Runner And Wile E. Coyote

Piles of bird seed appear on screen, and you have to peck away at them (using the Fire button) to gain the sustenance you'll need for stage two. Unfortunately, you are obstructed from doing this by all the nasties zooming round the screen.

Worms and clockwork mice whizz along the ground, clouds shoot lightning at you, and Wile E Coyote zips across the skyline hurling ten ton weights and cherry combs in your general direction. There are plenty of power ups, some better than others (avoid the circle with the T on it at all costs!).

You have to survive with energy intact for a given time period (usually 90 seconds) to progress to stage two. This sees you running along a mountain path (a les cartoons) whilst Wile E chases after you on skis, wearing a rocket pack, or whatever.

Road Runner And Wile E. Coyote

This stage is totally easy. The only control at your disposal is Up (jump). You've just got to jump the obstacles Wile has left for you. These are very few in comparison to the number of power-ups around. Providing you pecked away at enough seed, you'll outrun the coyote easily and end up with loads more energy that you started with.

The other seven levels are the same, just a bit harder (bouncing armadillos in level three, etc). The problem is that you have to try and do everything with just one life. You get so little starting energy that you can't afford to die on a stage one (bearing in mind you should have gained loads of extra energy in the previous stage), otherwise you stand no chance.

The graphics are good, if a little dark, and the whole thing sticks very closely to the formula of the cartoons. But it gets repetitive very quickly, the gameplay is limited, and there's little impetus to try and progress in it. The sort of entity the word 'mediocre' was created for.

The Verdict

Rearrange the following - distinctly, game, a, Runner, budget, is, Road, average

Adam Peters

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