This classic GameCola article was originally published in July, 2007.
Before we even start this, I’m going to need you to go here.
It’s very important that you do that in order to understand exactly what we’re talking about here. The video’s on YouTube, so you shouldn’t have any problem running it. Done? Good. The scenes towards the end where you’re looking down the hood of your car are the actual in-game screens. Imagine a yellow arrow at the bottom pointing left or right, and little icons indicating gas and brake appearing at the top, and you’ve got the entire game nailed. Now, to understand what the guy was saying during the song, go here.
Are we all caught up? Great, let’s move on.
Friday, June 29, 2007 (11:28 AM)
Goddamn. I’m still stuck on this shitty deserted island. I wish I had a Big Mac. Or a Whopper. Or anything at all besides seagull. They’re gamey. I’m so bored that I tried building a transistor radio out of sand and water, like on Gilligan’s Island. Needless to say, it didn’t work. However, today, a new crate washed ashore. Inside, I found a working Sega CD and a copy of Road Avenger, which just so happens to be one of my favorite games for said system.
Friday, June 29, 2007 (11:42 AM)
I’m not one to go on and on about how great Full Motion Video games are, mainly because they suck balls. Ever played Night Trap? Sewer Shark? They fucking blow. But I have a soft spot in my otherwise cruel and jagged heart, and that soft spot is for games exactly like Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, Time Gal—I love ’em. And Road Avenger may very well be the best. Did you even watch the opening I linked above? That’s right, it’s so cool that it just stole your lunch money, but it’s so laughably incomprehensible that I can’t help but think that if it was legal, I’d possibly marry Road Avenger.
I know this game so well that I’m about to make GameCola history. I’m not going to cheat, use an FAQ, or stop playing until I pass the entire thing. I did it approximately eight-billion times when I was a kid, so I know I can do it now. The whole thing only lasts about 30 minutes from beginning to end anyway, if you know what you’re doing.
Friday, June 29, 2007 (11:58 AM)
Sorry, I had to George Foreman a seagull for energy. I’m ready now. I’m going to do this level-by-level to show you how absolutely batshit crazy Wolf Team was back in the day (they made the game).
Level 1 – You start off on a scenic ocean highway. Since you’re in a car, there’s no up and down to press ala Dragon’s Lair. There’s just left, right, gas, and brake, which are assigned to the buttons. You’re immediately set upon by hooligans intent on ruining your lovely drive. But fuck that, you’re out for revenge! Remember in the opening song when he sang “I’m gonnna mrraahh! By the road! I’m gonna mrraahhggg by the ffahhhg! How many more schammps must I wahhhn!” Words to live by.
All around you are cars, trucks and motorcycles intent on fucking your shit up. You crash into them, force them off the sheer cliff next to the ocean and generally kill every person you can. Eventually, you make your way down to a marina, where our magical car shrinks down to about three feet wide to accommodate running on the sidewalk between buildings on your right and trees on your left. And fuck the pedestrians by the way, because your guy doesn’t give a shit. We then tear off across a pier—causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of nautical damage—then through a window and out a wall (barely missing a small child) before finally launching onto a beach, where it’s apparently still the ’60s and Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello are having a beach blast! That ends this level.
Level 2 – Now, this level kicks ass! It’s the Road Warrior movie to a T! You start off in a canyon, where the evil doers are using heavy machinery to…make more canyon? I don’t know, but I do know you have to fight a huge pickup truck with spikes jutting out the front, guys with Molotov cocktails and…wait, what’s this? In one sequence, you jump your car and flip it around to destroy a helicopter! Live Free or Die Hard ripped their shit off from Road Avenger! I love this game!
Level 3 – This is my absolute favorite level in this game. You wanna talk Road Warrior? This level is it. We’re on a futuristic freeway, just at dusk. Guys with purple and red mohawks are jumping from 18-wheelers onto the hood of your car to try to disable your engine. With motherfucking axes. Then, a car-hauler trucky thing pulls in front of you as you scream down the road and starts dumping cars off the top to try to wreck you—say thanks, Bad Boys II! You owe Road Avenger just as Road Avenger owes Road Warrior. I’ve only been playing this for about twelve minutes, but I’ve had seventeen orgasms. I need to go clean up. Since I can pause between levels, I’ll do just that and be back in a bit.
Friday, June 29, 2007 (12:14 PM)
Level 4 – This is a warehouse level. It has forklifts and stuff. Oh, and it’s absolute shit. Next!
Level 5 – Yeah, this is more like it. Back to awesome. You start on a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge and head into the city. After that, you crash directly through the glass wall of a hotel and proceed up a spiral staircase in pursuit of bad guys. With room to spare on either side of your car. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in…
Did you let it sink in? That a hotel made their spiral staircase wide enough to accommodate a fuckingcar? With room to spare on either side? Remember in the old Transformers cartoons when Soundwave would transform from a 40-foot robot into a boom box that a human could use comfortably? That’s how Road Avenger uses its scaling physics as well. But guess what? I love this game! Anyway, I kill another helicopter by crashing through a window on the sixth floor and off I go.
Level 6 – This one’s a jungle setting. There are bulldozers and other equipment tearing up the environment. Jesus, these guys HATE nature. This level is notable only for the radical side-flip your car does off the end of a ruined bridge, viewed through your windshield (previously, all the cool stunts—like helicopter ramming—were seen in a kind of cut-scene outside your ride from a different angle). I puked. Twice.
Level 7 – Sewer level. Sigh. I hate sewer levels, and this one is no different.
Level 8 – This is what I always referred to as the “wheat level”. Ever seen the Pixar movie Cars? Remember the wheat thresher that tries to kill them when they go cow tipping? Yeah, in this level you, drive through wheat and wheat threshers try to kill your ass. It’s very cool. At one point, a guy jumps off a thresher from my right and sticks a fucking pitchfork in my hood, and then another guy jumps in from the left and does the same thing, making an “x”. Then he plugs his thumbs in his ears and sticks his tongue out at me. Hey, I can’t buff that shit out, asshole!
Level 9 – This is the final level. They have dramatically cut down the response time you have to react to the onscreen indicators. You WILL die on this level. A lot. You basically have to memorize the entire thing to have a prayer. Luckily, I have. It’s set in the heart of the city and you thrash some bad guys around a bit, running into shit and scaring pedestrians into religion.
It’s very sensitive, very pin-point button pressing you’re dealing with now; but eventually, you’ll get the evil head-woman leader out of her car. When she does get out, she’s wearing a red mini-skirt and top, red high heels with white socks, a red mid-waist cape, and purple hair and she has a black Doberman Pinscher. She then gives me the thumbs-down gesture, presumably meaning I’m dead. Instead, I jump out of the wreckage of my car and steal one of their ambulance-looking evil cars and eventually kill her.
Friday, June 29, 2007 (12:32 PM)
That’s it. I’ve beaten it. I’ve avenged the death of my fiancé. At the cost of about 85 men, one evil chick, two helicopters, a dozen trucks, several industrial complexes, and maybe—just maybe—my soul. I repeat: I love this game. I swear I’m not lying when I say I break out the old Sega CD every few months just to play through this. It’s stupid and badly dubbed and ridiculous and absolutely insanely entertaining. This may very well be the perfect guilty pleasure game, and for that I have to rate it accordingly. This rates as high as it does because it does what it strives for so well. It’s definitely a quick thrill of a trapped-in-the-’80s mentality kind of game, and for that it gets its due.
Now, how the fuck am I going to get off this island and do next month’s review if a new game doesn’t float ashore? My saga…continues.