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US Gold Ltd
1988
Arcade: Vehicle Combat
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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101
Phil King, Nick Roberts, Kati Hamza
Chris Bourne

Fresh from the arcades, the rubber-burning Atari coin-op has reached the Spectrum, courtesy of DJL Software and US Gold. Set in the distant future, Roadblasters puts the player in the driving seat of a high performance, heavily armoured car.

The player controls the car, burning up the miles through fifty levels of ever-changing scenery. The track is shown in vanishing point perspective and, as the car negotiates the many twists and turns, a distant landscape scrolls around on the horizon. If the car veers off the side of the road into one of the many trees and rocks, it disintegrates in a massive explosion.

Racing down the freeway is only half the game: many deadly enemies are lurking on the track. These include the heavily armoured command cars, sleek fast stingers and erratic rat jeeps which all stalk the highway, trying to blast the player's car into oblivion. As well as these moving enemies, the racetrack is littered with deadly mines and missile firing gun turrets positioned at the roadside.

The car starts off with a standard laser cannon to blast his enemies in the futuristic car chase. As progress is made, a friendly jet appears overhead and drops useful extra weaponry such as cruise missiles, a nitro-injector and electronic shields - useful lot those tricky moments on the highway.

Zooming through the countryside really bums up fuel and this machine is a real gas guzzler. Fortunately, scattered around the track are red and green gas globes which can be collected for fuel.

If the car reaches the end of a track (signified by a chequered piece of road) before running out of fuel, the player can prowess onto the next of fifty levels to continue his or her roadblasting exploits in another part of the racing world.

CRITICISM

'Another fantastic arcade machine comes to the Spectrum. But is Roadblasters just a repetition of other failed arcade conversions? Well, it almost has the speed, colour and excitement of the arcade machine and it is VERY addictive. The graphics are similar to Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix, with a detailed main car and background, but with the added attraction of the extra weapons. Each level has a beautifully unique backdrop, which smoothly scrolls in the background. There's a good mixture of simulation and shoot-'em-up but a bit more colour in the explosions - not just green - would have been welcome. Not exactly the arcade machine, but addictive and playable.' NICK ... 83%

'The popular coin-op has at last made it to the Spectrum. Car racing games are two a penny, but the inclusion of weapons in Roadblasters helps to make it more interesting than most. The game plays rather like a 3-D version of Spy Hunter, with your car speeding down the track and blasting the enemies. The collection of extra weaponry as progress is made is also reminiscent of this ageing game: instead of a lorry delivering it, a jet drops it from overhead. The graphics are rather bland - the monochromatic track scrolls fairy smoothly till you come to a bend, when everything gets quite jerky. The car itself is well-drawn but as the wheels don't appear to move, it seems to float down the highway. The landscape in the distance scrolls very smoothly and contributes to the sense of speed. Despite the mostly bland presentation, roaring down the freeway blasting other cars out of the way is strangely satisfying and, with fifty levels of action, you certainly get good value for money.' PHIL ... 85%

'Roadblasters is such a fantastic arcade game, that any home conversion is bound to be a bit of a disappointment. Although US Gold have gone a long way towards recreating the atmosphere of the original, the game just lacks that extra graphical edge. There's plenty to keep you occupied as you go roaring down the highway, blasting enemies, guzzling petrol and picking up extra equipment pods. The vehicle doesn't exactly seem like it's breaking the speed limit but the frantic track action soon takes you mind off that. Obviously it would be impossible to recreate the breath-taking action of the original, but one or two more explosions wouldn't have gone amiss. Unlike its the arcade counterpart, Roadblasters the computer game doesn't quite stand head and shoulders above the crowd - but at least you'll be playing this for longer than Out Run.' KATI ... 84%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: detailed cars against a mostly monochromatic backdrop
Sound: catchy title 128K tune with roaring in-game sound effects
General Rating: Initially enjoyable and exciting gameplay, with long-lasting addictiveness.

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84%

Screenshot Text

If you can't beat 'em, BLAST 'EM!

Watch those instruments, the next fuel stop if miles away.