Moto Roader (TG-16)

Moto Roader Box Art

Moto Roader

System: TG-16

Release Date: December 1989

Developer: NCS

Publisher: NEC

Genre: Racing

Moto Roader is a racing game set in a utopian future, where life has become too boring and the people complacent. They really missed the mark there, I’d be more at home with the dystopian version. Five racers take each other on ever changing race courses through 8 heats. The views is from the bird’s eye, which means you can’t see what’s coming, so it’s best to watch the drone fly over the course before each race.

In this future, you’re not allowed to fall behind and will be automatically teleported if you’re touched by the edge of the screen. This is horribly frustrating and disorienting, as you keep your speed and heading, even if you’re in the middle of taking a turn. The default steering control is weird, too. You press the direction to turn toward it. Want to face up? Press up. Right? Press right, and so on. You can change this to more traditional left/right steering by choosing Handling Type B in the parts menu.

Each heat on the course is slightly different from the last with different numbers of laps. You need to make sure not to fall behind, because each time you’re warped from the back, you lose a unit of gas. You get a full tank after each lap, but it’s easy to find yourself low. At the finish line, you earn points based on your finish and money.

Before each race, you can take your earned money and spend it on parts. The different body types all lead to faster maximum speeds. This is also true for the engine, but also increases your acceleration, at the cost of burning more fuel. Better brakes allow you to stop more quickly and handle tight corners better. Tires help with handling. This is also true with handling. Turbo helps you go faster, but accelerate slowly. I’m not really sure of the optimal upgrade path, but I would guess Body and Engines should be at the top of your to-do list.

There are also special items that I didn’t mess around with too much. The Gas Tank is useful if your car is lagging behind your opponents, because if you run out of gas, it’s game over. I did try the Grenade, which gives you 40 bombs to lob at your enemies. The Nitro is completely worthless, giving you only one boost. The others may have their uses, but they were the least interesting part of the game to me.

Graphics: 1.5

Graphics are nothing special, just looking like slot cars on the track.

Sound: 1.0

The growling engine noise overpowers what could have been some decent music.

Gameplay: 1.0

The warping mechanic makes the game play pretty awful. If it had been more of a real race, the game would play better.

Difficulty: 2.0

There are a lot of different tracks to learn and if you don’t upgrade just right, it’s hard to stay at the front of the pack.

Fun Factor: 1.5

It’s not a real fun time, but it’s alright in the early heats.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Moto Roader earns a D+. It’s a below average racing game. Not the worst thing I’ve ever played, but it needs to be revised and iterated on to be recommended.

Moto Roader Video Review on YouTube