Developed and Published By: Ratalaika Games (port), MCS (original) Categories: Retro, Racing Release Date: 02.25.22
Ratalaika does it once again! They’ve released an excellent port of an obscure game. This time being Moto Roader MC, which was a PC Engine CD game. Color me incredibly excited.
Moto Roader, and MC by virtue of being part of the series, is a racing game. One of those top down, press left to turn left, right to turn right racers. Good old tank controls. This is something that takes a bit of practice to get used to, but once you do, it’s second nature. There is a press direction to point in direction control mode, but I opted to not really use it too much. You can shoot missiles to slop people infront of you down, and drop pipe bombs to mess with racers behind you, to keep them from catching up…truly, truly frustrating when it happens to you.
While normal today, back in 1992 when this game came out, it and quite a few other PC Engine games were doing something really cool. It allowed for more than four players at once to play. Five in fact, which is three more than the average SNES/Genesis game. Multiplayer is truly where Moto Roader MC shines. Racing games, especially ones where you can royally screw over the other racers are perfect for playing with friends. Not only can you race though, you can also play some car soccer…maybe another game will do that in the future…
If you either have no friends or just like to play alone, there is a single player component to the game. As typical of the genre, you get to choose from five sets of tracks. Circuit, City, Nature, Marchen, and Special. Unique looks, unique track layouts, each having five tracks themselves, you’ll have a lot to pick from. You can even get a randomized track set or make your own. After completing a set, you get an ending for that set.
Playing alone can be an frustrating experience. If you get struck too many times or hit too many walls, you are definitely not going to win. You might even get lapped. At first, this was happening to me and I was not having fun at all. But the more used to the game and how it worked, I was enjoying myself more.
Don’t let the small car sprites fool you, Moto Roader MC is a good looking game. The backgrounds, especially in the Special tracks in particular. The endings, the opening, and credits have great spritework too. This may lead you to question why this was a CD game then. The amazing music should probably answer that. It’s all really good, and I can’t imagine any of this music playing on a stock, standard PC Engine. Same with how smooth parts of the opening are.
So what does Ratalaika and their porting bring to the table? Button mapping and a nice control menu to know what does what. The amazing filter and shading work that’s in all of their ports. Rewinding is available, which comes with a cute warning to not just use it to pester friends. Each player and each car has it’s own style and color too, which if you want to, can change the style for each color. No cheats this time.
The implications of Ratalaika working on PC Engine CD games opens the floodgates in my mind for oh so more many games I hope to see. Perhaps Konami can hire them to port Rondo of Blood to Switch? One can dream. Ratalaika has slowly in the past year became a favorite in commercial emulation re-releases game devs and I hope to see them continue on this track and especially with the more obscure and un-released in the west kind of games.
Buy Now: $6.99
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review