Mini Reviews 22/04/2016

There’s a lot of games that I’d really like to talk about but I can’t always find enough words to give them their own post. Here’s 3 games that fit that description. They’re all good, you can easily play them in an emulator and they’ll all give you a  weekend’s worth of fun.

Eliminator Boat Duel (NES)

I’ve got to admit, I only started playing this because of the box art. It looks like somebody’s vaporwave mix-tape but there’s a decent game hiding behind it.

Eliminator Boat Duel is a one-on-one boat racer by Sculptured Software. It was quite a late release for the NES, it came out in North America in 1991 and Europe in 1993. You race across point to point courses that switch between top-down and chase perspectives against a cadre of larger than life weirdos. It looks quite good for an NES game although it recycles most of its graphics and environments. That’s easy to forgive considering the hardware and even though the tracks are made up of only a handful of art assets, they all have a unique route.

It’s not very boat-like in the way it handles, but it feels good otherwise. It has a nice, gradual difficulty curve and it’s got a lot of personality. I went in with low expectations and came out pleasantly surprised.

Screenshots

 

Mario Andretti Racing (Genesis/Megadrive)

This is an EA Sports published game that bears the name of racing legend Mario Andretti. There were a lot of real-world motor sport games on the SNES and Megadrive and most of them were very similar. This one stands out because of the variety of styles of racing it features; you can race either stock, indy or sprint cars. The last of those is interesting because I think sprint car racing is badly under-represented in games. You could probably count all the games featuring that style of racing and still have a couple of fingers left over. You could compare this game to Al Unser Jr’s Road to the Top as that’s also a celebrity endorsed game featuring multiple styles of racing but I think this is much better overall.

It’s not licensed by any real governing bodies but the tracks are all clearly based on real circuits with fake names. Hardware limitations mean that the tracks and environments are quite sparse but they make a good effort to follow the layout and manage to include some small elevation changes.

Mario Andretti Racing is a fairly standard but very well made motor sport game with all the level of polish you would expect from an EA Sports title. I play this game quite often so you’ll most likely hear about it again at some point.

Screenshots

 

bit Generations Dotstream (Gameboy Advance)

Let’s finish with something a little bit different.

Dotstream is an abstract racer for the Gameboy Advance. You race a coloured line around minimalist vector-graphic style courses while making use of traditional racing game mechanics such as drafting and pit-stops. It’s part racer, part maze game, part Snake. It has a few game modes including a particularly interesting ‘formation’ mode where you control multiple lines at once. You unlock extra levels in that mode by winning the Grand Prix events.

A combination of simple controls, stylish presentation and a great soundtrack really make it stand out from most of the Gameboy Advance’s sizeable library of racing games. It doesn’t have a very large selection of tracks but it’s quite a challenging game so it’ll still keep you occupied for a while.

There is also a Wiiware version of the game called Artstyle: Light Trax. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but it looks to be different enough to require a separate write-up.

Screenshots

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