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LambdaCalculus
New Jersey, USA

Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by LambdaCalculus Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:23 pm

Last year, Pixelglass Games (through their ReImagine Games label) released an Amiga CD32 port of Taito's classic LaserDisc game, Time Gal. I did a little write-up about it here, and now to follow up with that release, ReImagine has recently released another classic Japanese LaserDisc game to our beloved platform: Data East's 1985 classic, Road Avenger!

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This is your ride. Pretty badass!


Originally released in arcades worldwide in August of 1985, and under the title Road Blaster (which had to be changed for home releases to prevent confusion with Atari's own RoadBlasters), Road Avenger was the brainchild of video game designer Yoshihisa Kishimoto, who also created another LaserDisc arcade game for Data East; the helicopter shoot-em-up Cobra Command, before leaving Data East to work for Technos Japan, where he created the River City Ransom series, as well as Double Dragon. As homage to his work for Data East, the car from Road Avenger has a cameo in Double Dragon (in the Lee brother's garage), and the chopper from Cobra Command has a cameo in Double Dragon II (right in the heliport at the start)!

Road Avenger starts with an attract sequence showing the plot: violent road gangs are terrorizing the city, and they attack the protagonist and his newlywed bride as they're driving by the seaside. Leaving the protagonist for dead, the gang's leader, a nameless, purple haired lady, crushes his bride's corsage underfoot and leaves. Little did she know that the protagonist, a former police officer, has decided that he will wipe out the gang and stop their crime wave for good. So after healing from his wounds and souping up his sports car to turn it into a lethal weapon, the protagonist must go through 9 waves of fast, furious Mad Max-like car chases and battles.

Like many other FMV games, Road Avenger is played by simply inputting the right direction at any given moment. There are four actions that can be done: steer left, steer right, brake, or turbo boost. Unlike most other FMV games of the day, however, you will have moments where you have to input one action and immediately follow up with a second; as an example, while running across a ship dock, you may have to brake to slow yourself before going over the edge, and then immediately turn left to continue across the dock. Pressing all the correct actions allows the action on screen to continue; slip up and you're treated to a spectacular (and brutal!) crash scene.

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Think my insurance will cover this?


The animation of the original arcade game was produced by Toei Animation, a large and famous Japanese animation studio that has produced a great number of anime series known the world over (ex: Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Fist of the North Star). Toei also produced the animation for Time Gal for Taito, and like that game, Road Avenger's animation is excellent, with plenty of cool action sequences, fluid motions, and plenty of cool 80s aesthetic. The music is nothing super spectacular but fits well with the action, with plenty of cool guitars and horns, and the sounds of screeching tires, roaring engines, and innocent spectators screaming bring the frantic racing action home nicely! The port features two opening songs in the attract sequence: one is the original instrumental piece from the arcade version, and the other is the opening song of the Sega CD version, which was exclusive to that port only until now. The Sega CD opening is driving yet cheesy 80s metal that's just too perfect for the action; seriously, listen to its awesomeness!

As for the ports themselves, ReImagine went above and beyond even what they did for their Time Gal port! There are two versions of the game: one for OCS Amigas and the CD32, and one for AGA Amigas. The OCS release has decent FMV, but as it's tailored to the lower palette of that chipset, you're still going to get compression artifacts and sometimes muddy color. The AGA release uses HAM8 video and looks significantly better, with less color banding and muddling. However, because of the higher video bandwidth, the AGA version cannot be played on a stock Amiga CD32 (since it only has a 2X drive; the AGA port requires a 4X drive), but if you have a TF328 expansion board and a CF card in your CD32, the HDD installation version of the port will happily run on it! Yup, like Time Gal before it, ReImagine put out both ISOs and HDD install versions of the game, in both OCS and AGA flavors, for all Amiga fans to enjoy!

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Run the bad guys off the road before they do the same to you!


Think you have what it takes to take back the streets and stop the violent gangs from terrorizing the city? Download Road Avenger and find out!
Own: Amiga 500 (NTSC), Amiga 4000, Mac Mini G4 & iBook G4 (MorphOS), ThinkPad T40 (AROS), R.Pi3 (Amibian)
After: Amiga 1200, Amiga 600

https://nostalgiaroadtrip.com
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McTrinsic

Re: Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by McTrinsic Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks for the great review. I highly enjoy reading a bit further than just the release notes. A great way to start the day :) .
These are the moments that make me also a bit grumbling. I told myself I would only have fun with games and stuff like this when my Amiga is working 100%. And currently I still have an issue with my network-setup, so both releases that you mention sit on my HDD idle...

Cheers,
McT
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by intric8 Wed May 02, 2018 7:31 am

Have to admit I’m not familiar with these genre of games, but I do enjoy reading about them. Cool post, Lambda! Thanks for sharing.
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EzdineG
Springfield, MO

Re: Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by EzdineG Wed May 02, 2018 3:27 pm

Thanks for sharing! As an avid Dragons Lair fan, I have a soft spot for these fmv games. Will have to have a gander at this one.
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LambdaCalculus
New Jersey, USA

Re: Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by LambdaCalculus Wed May 02, 2018 7:53 pm

Okay, I need to practice more, but here's some gameplay footage I recorded!
Own: Amiga 500 (NTSC), Amiga 4000, Mac Mini G4 & iBook G4 (MorphOS), ThinkPad T40 (AROS), R.Pi3 (Amibian)
After: Amiga 1200, Amiga 600

https://nostalgiaroadtrip.com
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Lorfarius
UK

Re: Road Avenger - LaserDisc arcade action strikes again!

by Lorfarius Thu May 10, 2018 2:15 am

Out of all the FMV titles this is by far one of the best. Awesome conversion too!

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