RoadBlasters

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Not to be confused with the earlier laserdisc arcade game Road Blaster.
RoadBlasters
RoadBlasters
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Atari Games
Publisher(s) Atari Games, U.S. Gold (ports)
Platform(s) Arcade, Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, Atari Lynx, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, NES[1]
Release date(s) 1987
Genre(s) Racing shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player
Cabinet Upright and sit-down
Arcade system Atari System 1
CPU 7 MHz Motorola 68010
Sound Yamaha YM2151, Atari POKEY, TMS5220
Display Raster, standard resolution, horizontally orientated

RoadBlasters is an arcade game released by Atari Games in 1987.[2] In RoadBlasters, the player must navigate a sports car through 50 different rally races, getting to the finish line before running out of fuel.

Gameplay[edit]

Object of the game[edit]

The object of the game is to complete all 50 rallies without running out of fuel. There is no limit to how many vehicles a player can receive to complete a rally, as long as they have fuel. However, the destruction of the vehicle will subtract a small amount from the player's fuel tank. In the arcade, Sega and Atari Lynx versions, players could start the game at a higher rally, with additional opportunities to jump several levels from time to time. Players can continue their game from where they left off; however, the player has only one chance to complete the 50th and final rally. For completing the final rally the player gets one million points as a bonus.

Fuel[edit]

Players can get fuel in four ways: green globes, red globes, a checkpoint, and the rally point. Green globes are on the road, and fill the main gas tank. Red globes are revealed by shooting enemies on the road. After completing each rally, the player is awarded extra reserve fuel determined by how many enemies were destroyed during the level. Each consecutive kill shot increases the multiplier, from 1 up to 10. A miss lowers that multiplier by 1. Whatever the multiplier is at when the finish line is crossed is multiplied by the value of the enemies slain, and that much fuel is awarded.

Each rally features a midway point, denoted by a line on the road which the vehicle crosses. At this point, the amount of fuel in the main tank is restored to what it was at the beginning of the rally (the amount of fuel in the main tank given at the rally's start fluctuates throughout the game). The amount of fuel in the reserve tank, however, is not restored.

When a player gets low on fuel in their main tank, a fuel light will blink on and an alarm will sound on the display. Using up the main tank will mean the vehicle then uses what reserve fuel is stored.

Enemies[edit]

There are various enemies that appear throughout the rallies:

  • Orange Stingers – The most common enemy.
  • Green Stingers – These release Spikers, mace-like explosives, if not destroyed quickly.
  • Command Cars (purple) – Bulletproof bumpers, must be destroyed by a Cruise Missile or Electro Shield.
  • Cycles – Motorcycles.
  • Rat Jeeps – Comes in from the left, stops, then swerves to the right.
  • Gun Turrets – Stationary on the side of the road.
  • Mines – Set on the road, cannot be destroyed. A special alarm on the dash display will sound when mines have been laid ahead.
  • Toxic Spills – Driving over them will spin the car out and slow it down.

Special weapons[edit]

At various points along the course, an airplane will come into view and drop a special weapon from its underbelly. If the player lines up the car to catch the weapon, the weapon is obtained. That weapon is kept until it is used up, the car crashed or another weapon picked up. If a player catches a special weapon while using another one, the current weapon will be replaced by the newest one.

  • UZ Cannon – A rapid fire gun that does not deplete the multiplier. A limited amount of ammunition is supplied.
  • Cruise Missile – Detonation dematerializes all enemies including fuel globes on screen. Three missiles are included.
  • Nitro Inject – Increases the speed of the car from 210 to 298 km/h for a limited distance. Three injections to a pack.
  • Electro Shield – Allows the car to drive through any enemy or obstacle unharmed for a short distance. Three to a pack.

Production[edit]

The game's creators originally intended for a digitized version of the 1950s pop song "Mr. Sandman" to play during one of the levels. This was never implemented into the game.

A promotional giveaway was accessible on the original arcade version, where players could send in their name and "personalized secret code" after completing rally 50 and receive a free "RoadBlasters" T-shirt.[3][4] The promotion ended August 31, 1987.[5]

During game play, a slightly robotic-sounding female voice gives the player advice in the form of several short phrases, often related to using the Nitro Inject, or when a player destroys several enemies in a few seconds. These phrases include "What a move!" and "Eat lead, roadhog."

When a player has the Nitro Inject activated when crossing the rally's finish line, the vehicle will drive off into the horizon, and the female voice will state, "Now that's cruising."

Stan Szczepanski holds the official Guinness World Record with 2,216,120 points.

Marketing[edit]

The game had a toy tie-in made by Matchbox. The toys were die-cast cars that could be customized with armor, lasers, machine guns, and rocket launchers and jet engines. There were two factions: Turbo Force and The Motor Lords. There also were play sets such as a mobile command base.[6]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 5/10[10]
Crash 84%[8]
Sinclair User 81%[9]
Your Sinclair 8/10[7]
MegaTech 72%[11]
ACE 654[12]
The Games Machine 62%[13]
Zzap!64 75%[14]
Power Play 75%[15]
ST/Amiga Format 58%[16]
Amiga Action 45%[17]

Home conversions[edit]

The game was released on a number of home formats at the time, and received mixed acclaim. The arcade version was later released via emulation on consoles in the 1990s. The game appeared on the Sony PlayStation compilation Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 in 1998, alongside Paperboy and Gauntlet. It was also released for the PlayStation 2 as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures arcade game compilation.

In popular culture[edit]

  • RoadBlasters is featured in the 2012 Disney film Wreck-It Ralph.[18] While looking for Ralph in Sugar Rush, Felix tells Sergeant Calhoun the meaning of "going Turbo": Turbo, a character from the 8-bit racing game TurboTime, grew jealous of RoadBlasters for stealing his glory at Litwak's Arcade. He was so jealous that he abandoned his game, invaded RoadBlasters and attempted to sabotage it, ultimately crashing the game as two boys tried to play it. This caused both games to get unplugged and be removed the arcade permanently.

References[edit]

External links[edit]