Road Runner (US Gold) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Road Runner
By U. S. Gold
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #29

Road Runner

Meep! Meep! Here comes the world's fastest feathered freak, that supersonic Road Runner in his very own arcade game. And, true to the cartoon series, in paw-blistering pursuit is the sharp-nosed Wile E. Coyote, intent on having roast Road Runner for dinner.

The player takes control of Road Runner, who has to escape the slavering attentions of the horrible hound. He can outsprint the coyote with ease, but the prairie wolf is a persistent carnivore, and is quite willing to pursue his adversary on paw, pogo stick, skateboard or even jet-powered skateboard.

The action is set over twelve horizontally scrolling levels, with Road Runner speeding along from right to left and completing a level by reaching a set marker. Wile E hotfoots behind, trying every trick in the book to reach his prey. Road Runner starts with five lives, losing one each time that Wile E gets his paws on him.

The disadvantage of all this speed is that energy is expended at a vast rate, and the only way to keep going is to collect the piles of seeds which are scattered along the route. Road Runner faints with hunger should five seeds be missed, and Wile E then retrieves him at leisure. Certain seeds are not all they seem, and are rich in iron filings. Once these are lodged in Road Runner's gizzard. Wile E Coyote uses his powerful magnet to slow him down.

Trucks, avalanches, crevasses and mines appear on later levels, representing deadly hazards. These also kill Wile E. and if Road Runner goads him into a hazard extra points are scored.

Other features include invisible paint spilled upon the road, which makes either creature invisible when touched, and lemonade which is drunk for bonus score. An additional score is also awarded when Road Runner plays chicken and lets his ravenous pursuer get close and then runs off, poking out his tongue as he goes! Meep! Meep!


The lack of consistency in the gameplay always put me off the Road Runner arcade machine, and I feel that this conversion has not improved the situation at all.

It's quite disorientating to play a game where the levels vary in difficulty as much as they do in this one - a pleasant romp can turn into an impossible trap in a matter of seconds.

This may be desirable to some players, but it only served to put me off completely. This is a pity really, because Road Runner does have some strong points.

The graphics are excellent, and a great degree of the original cartoon's sense of humour has been retained. If you're a disk-drive owner who liked the arcade machine then I can recommend this - if not...


I love the arcade game - and this is about as close as you're going to get on the C64. The graphics and sound are spot-on, and the gameplay is remarkably similar. The only bugbear is the incredibly frustrating cassette multi-load.

Long, long waits have to be endured between levels, and even more waiting occurs after a game has finished and the short cut option is used. The disk version is great though, with only a couple of seconds' break in the hectic action.

If you're a 1541 owning Road Runner fan, buy the Commodore version post haste. Even the most patient of C2N owners should think about the long-winded nature of the cassette format first.


Anyone wanting an exact replica of the arcade version of Road Runner need look no further than this latest US Gold offering. Unfortunately, for me this represents its greatest flaw, since I wasn't that keen on the stand-up version.

The gameplay is very simple and chase games, however well done, aren't really state of the art in gaming. Having said that, this is an extremely competent conversion - especially the sprites, which are superbly animated and have heaps of character.

The music is great too, and serves to induce a rising feeling of panic. Cassette owners will be overjoyed to hear that the multi-load system is one of the worst I've seen, practically crippling an otherwise fun game.

An awful point is the fact that play begins immediately the level has loaded. If caught off-guard, Wile E. slides straight on and grabs you before you have a chance to react - truly annoying!


Presentation 67%
The lack of options and painfully slow cassette loader mar an otherwise polished product.

Graphics 80%
Colourful, smoothly-scrolling backdrops and well animated sprites, fully capturing the flavour of both the cartoon and arcade game.

Sound 79%
Four whacky tunes and great spot effects.

Hookability 71%
Quite playable, but the long pauses between levels detract from the enjoyment.

Lastability 57%
Plenty of action across twelve levels, but the multi-load would try the patience of a saint.

Overall 69%
A very competent and playable conversion with is sadly marred by an awkward cassette multi-load.