By Melbourne House
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #36

Roadwars | GH | JR | SJ | Verdict


Late in the 24th century, the inhabitants of the planet Armageddon were forced to live on its surrounding moons due to world-wide nuclear holocaust. Now, early in the 25th century, the system is a tourist attraction; a museum piece and a testament to the folly of war.

Huge space roadways now link the moons to each other, but owing to a malfunction in the main computer, the defence systems have gone haywire. This is where the player comes in: seated in a battlesphere - a heavily armed and armoured war machine - the aim is to clear the roads and make them safe for the tourists to travel on.

Two such machines are sent on the mission, with the second sphere coming under computer control in the single-player mode. Each sphere is armed with twin lasers and can initiate shields, whereupon the sphere becomes totally enclosed.


Progress along the roadways is hampered by blue generator tiles which emit destructive sparks, laser-firing satellites and coloured spheres that traverse the roadways to explode on contact with the players' craft. All these are dodged or destroyed as necessary and the action continues until the roadways are cleared, or all the players' spheres are destroyed.


Although Roadwars is a good conversion, it's only a moderately compulsive game. The 3D effect isn't outstanding - more competently effective - but the battlespheres themselves are pretty, looking like pencil drawings enhanced by neat animation.

The track system, however, is made up of fundamental elements which are used over and over again, and although items such as barriers are added later, it is ultimately very repetitive.


The sound is pretty feeble, and the music nondescript, but at least they don't intrude too greatly on the action.

It's fast, but the inconsistent control method aggravates: the frantic action is too often a result of poor sphere control rather than external danger. Details aside, there's a good deal of enjoyment to be had from the progress gained, and features such as the effective extra weapons assist in this.

Basically, the lack of inter-level variety depreciates the enjoyment. If you like the arcade version, you'll like this; otherwise, test it first.



Roadwars is identical to its coin-op parent - and unfortunately that's where its faults lie. The arcade original's "twist" joystick and two fire buttons have been crammed onto one joystick, and consequently the battlespheres handle very badly - trying to aim the gun and move at the same time is unbelievably difficult.

I found the best way to play was to aim the gun at the side of the road just under the "horizon", constantly fire the guns and avoid anything that gets through. Use the shield sparingly and it's easy to knock up a huge high score.

It's a shame that the gameplay and control method haven't been tweaked for home use - the two-player mode has plenty of competitive potential and the graphics and sound are both competent. As it stands, Roadwars is a polished, but badly flawed, shoot-'em-up.



I was never impressed with the 'arcade' version of Roadwars, and this Amiga version doesn't improve on the theme. The roadway moves quite effectively and the battlespheres are neat (if a little lacking in frames of animation) but the constantly drab colour scheme tends to niggle after a while.

The gameplay is *very* repetitive and no amount of smart graphics can overcome this fact. Simply blasting all the different items and dodging the occasional sphere isn't my idea of a good time. The situation is aggravated by the awkward control method: movement left and right, rotate lasers, open and close shields and fire are all accessed from the same joystick, making it rather fiddly at the best of times.

If you discount the unusual backdrop and odd game style - and the novelty does soon wear off - Roadwars remains just a rather tricky, but fairly simple, shoot-'em-up.



Presentation 60%
Simultaneous two-player option and attractive instruction packaging, but poor control method.

Graphics 69%
Beautifully drawn sprites but disappointing and repetitive 3D effect. Blandly coloured throughout.

Sound 53%
Inoffensive soundtrack complemented by average sound effects.

Hookability 58%
Initial lure is marred by the tricky control method and shallow gameplay.

Lastability 45%
Repetitive action and lack of variety soon proves detrimental to lasting interest.

Overall 59%
A good conversion and a polished shoot-'em-up which lacks spice.

Roadwars | GH | JR | SJ | Verdict