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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40858)
Written on  :  Jul 01, 2019
Platform  :  Arcade
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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Zip through a cross-country race full of drunk drivers and hoons

The Good

There are plenty of games that let you participate in a cross-country race, such as Activision’s The Great American Cross-Country Road Race and Didatech’s Crosscountry USA. But long before that, Irem’s MotoRace USA was released in the arcades in 1983 and later ported to early 8-bit systems including the NES and SG-1000. The game is also known as Traverse USA and Zippy Race, and you can set a DIP switch that will automatically change the title.

You will start your cross-country race in Los Angeles, then proceed through five more cities to your final destination in New York. The game consists of two sections. The first section is delivered in a top-down perspective, where you have to avoid cars and obstacles. Some of the cars try to block you from getting past. You can even perform wheelies and jumps if you drive your bike over specific areas. You need to get through this section before your fuel runs out.

Provided that you get far enough, the game then switches to an over-the-shoulder perspective of you driving along a straight road with your destination seen in the distance. Only for a short time, you need to keep an eye out for any cars that are coming your way. When you get to the destination, you will receive extra points depending on how much fuel that you have in your tank, as well as your standing position. Once you have made your way to New York, you start the cross-country race again, but this time with a different, but faster, bike and difficulty is ramped up.

Every car you pass has different colors, and they also have their own individual numbers written on the hood. The environments are different, both with wide and narrow sections. All the cars swerve all over the road in an attempt to block you, and there are some strange animations. For instance, when a car bumps into another one, the target just stops and performs “donuts”. Also, while you are driving along the straight road, I like the way you can see the notable landmarks in the city you are heading to (eg: casinos in Las Vegas complete with neon lights).

The music consists of four soundtracks: two that play every second city, and one when you are driving on the straight road, and one when you have reached the checkpoint. They are all well composed, and blend in well with the current setting. As far as sound effects are concerned, the honking of the cars add to the atmosphere

The Bad

The sound of the bike engine seems to be missing, and the game sometimes cheats by having cars drive across the nature strip or bridge to get to you.

The Bottom Line

Participate in a cross-country race from Los Angeles to New York while avoiding cars and other obstacles. The graphics and sound are very good, and there is always room for "just one more go". I can see why this game was called Zippy Race in Japan because you can complete the game in under half an hour if you are good enough.