RoadBlasters (NES)

RoadBlasters Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: January 1990

Developer: Beam Software

Publisher: Mindscape

Genre: Driving

Looks like another port of an Atari title brought to the NES with RoadBlasters. Your goal is to race through 50 rallies full of other vehicles, shooting gun turrets, and the occasional obstacles. You’re equipped with an unlimited supply of bullets you can shoot forward and upgrades seldom dropped.

Things start off by letting you choose one of three different stages to race from. If I decided to play this game again, I’d be jumping stages. You go by holding Up on the D-pad. Shooting is handled by the A Button. Attached to killing enemies is a multiplier, but it immediately drops if you’re not shooting, so I used a turbo button. The multiplier doesn’t work as intended. It’s supposed to drop when you fire and miss.

There are four special weapons that can be picked up. Occasionally, a plane will come on screen and drop the UZ Cannon, Nitro Inject, Cruise Missile, or Electro Shield. The UZ Cannon is a rapid fire gun that is superfluous if you’re using turbo. Nitro Inject allows you to increase from the 212 mph maximum to 298 mph. The Cruise Missile blasts everyone on screen, including invincible purple cars. The Electro Shield is a short burst of invincibility, helpful when you receive it. Blow up and lose your upgrade.

Fuel is your time limit on each level. You can replenish these with green orbs found at set points on each race, or in orange orbs that appear when destroying certain enemies. If you run out of fuel, the reserve tank starts to deplete, but your main tank is filled up half way through the track. Your reserve tank fills based on your score at the end of each level.

I found myself exploding when I didn’t think I should be. I guess I could have gotten too close to the gun turrets on the side of the road, but I couldn’t be too sure. The presence of mines are alerted to you with an annoying alarm. I thought there were only 30 levels, so kept plugging away, but once I got there and there were more levels, I decided I was done with this one.

Graphics: 1.5

I dunno, it looks ok, but I’m not overly excited by it or anything.

Sound: 1.0

It’s light on music. Engine sounds aren’t terrible, but the mine alarm and shooting effects are annoying.

Gameplay: 1.0

You’re holding Up on the D-Pad and pressing the A Button a lot. Not much to it.

Difficulty: 1.0

I ran through over 30 levels only dying twice, I probably could have done the rest, but…

Fun Factor: 0.5

I was so bored playing this. I’d much rather play one of the other terrible driving games I’ve played.

Overall Grade: 1.0

RoadBlasters earns a D. This is a real let down. Some more depth would have been amazing, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.