Written by  :  xroox (3970)
Written on  :  Jan 13, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars
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Lance Boyle for president!

The Good

As you would expect from the early Cryo releases, this is an absolute visual and audio feast. Amazingly impressive in 1993 and still looking good now. The graphics are lovely and the soundtrack is excellent. The very best thing about Megarace, however, is the host of this futuristic gameshow, Lance Boyle (played to perfection by the highly talented Christian Erickson). He is one of those characters you will either love or hate. Personally? I think he's the best character ever, in any PC game. He is very, very funny, thanks to a great script and Mr. Erickson's enthusiastic delivery. Lines are guaranteed to stay in your head for ages. I can still think of lots of them now ("Magical Maeva didn't have any vicious speed gangs...So we spent quite a lot of money and got one!")

The gameplay in Megarace is fast and furious, definitely adrenaline pumping. The end of each race is always great, because you know there is some more video coming up, another interesting and unique racetrack to visit and maybe even the chance of winning a prize. Prizes in this game are strictly for comedy value (Lance provides the voice-over as a sparkling rendered clip plays: "Covers...for your car seats! Say...I'd go for some of these myself if I didn't already have a boxful..."). Some of the prizes are also distinctly weird in a way that only the French could come up with.

Megarace is a fun game, quite a delicious treat.

The Bad

Well...OK...the gameplay is quite good, but not amazing. You race around pre-rendered tracks that spool off the CD. You have to use the various symbols scattered across the track (speed up, get extra weapons, etc.) and avoid the bad symbols (lose weapons, slow down, skid, etc.). You then have to kill a sequence of gang members, who will appear one after the other in front of you. You can do this either by shooting them or knocking into them until they are destroyed (an onscreen damage meter shows how close they are to death...Some of this is quite reminiscent of ye olde Chase HQ) or by passing them and staying in front for a certain amount of time, after which they auto-destruct. You are strictly racing against the clock, of course, and often races come down to the last few seconds. It can be very tense and frustrating. Eventually, you kill all of the other gang members (although, as Lance Boyle reminds you, no-one actually gets hurt, because it's only 'virtual death') and have to take down the gang leader. If you do that, you win the race and also the gang leader's car. Mmm...nice. (Wait a moment...I was meant to be complaining about things in this part of the review, not describing how the gameplay works. Oops.) Anyway, yes, this gameplay is pretty good. You have to be strategic in your use of the symbols around the track, although its mainly down to memorising the track layout so you'll know what to do when and what to avoid. It's hard to quite put your finger on just what is dodgy about the racing in the game, but it doesn't feel quite right, at times. You will become so proficient with some of the tracks (because you will probably have to repeat them, a lot) that you will end up doing each lap and killing each gang member in the optimum time. Then you'll get up to the gang leader and almost kill him (I say 'him', because I think all the gang leaders are meant to be male) and then the time will run out. Knowing you have raced an optimum race, you will think "What? How can I possibly do this in the time limit?", but your only choice will be to try again. Then one time, you will somehow manage to do it, with about quite a few seconds to spare. It's on to the next race. You are relieved, but not quite sure how you did it. It feels a bit random and strange, at times. Also, the game could be accused of being slightly too easy, and sometimes you'll play one track that takes you many repeats to finish, and the next track, you will blitz through on the first try. But overall, I guess the level of difficulty is about right. Oh yeah - one thing that's not too cool. There are too difficulty settings, but if you play on the first one ('normal', I think), then when you finally finish the last race, there is no ending sequence. You are just told that you have to play again, on the next difficulty setting. This is very disappointing. Of course, I did it, and was completed it on the 'hard' setting, and then there was an ending sequence. Nothing too amazing, though. And here's one more weird thing - When I was a few tracks away from the end of the 'hard' difficult level, the races were indeed becoming very tough. Then I upgraded my double-speed CD-ROM drive (Heh heh...Yes, this is a few years back!) to a quad-speed, and when I next loaded the game, the races were about twice as fast! Initially, I thought the game would be unplayable like this, but in fact, it's what enabled me to rush through the last few races and finish the game! My car shot around, destroying everything in front of it with consumate ease. I felt like a bit of a cheat, but it wasn't my fault, and anyway, I'd already played through the game one and a half times.

The Bottom Line

Megarace is a fun game with great comedic video clips. It has aged a bit, though, and Megarace 2 is a much more advanced game. But I still look back very fondly on this one, and am now eagerly awaiting Megarace 3 (once again starring Christian Erickson...Hooray!)