Title:Arcade Archives Road Fighter
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 07/25/2019
Per Arcade Archives standards, this game offers a bunch of filters and visual options to play with, alongside the option to rotate the screen to play in Road Fighter’s original vertical mode. Unfortunately, this also means that the Hi-Score and Caravan modes still continue to not support any screen rotation change you use in the main game, which makes no sense with how many vertical games are coming out lately.
The game itself is fine for a game from 1984, although as expected the game looks dated. It doesn’t really seem to be an 8-bit game at first glance, but it also is nowhere near 16-bit quality, causing Road Fighter to have this weird combination of colors that just doesn’t work out so well, especially when compared to some of Konami’s older and games like Pooyan, Scramble and Frogger that had a lot more color. At the very least, the game sounds decent even if the majority of the sounds are engine noises.
Road Fighter is a racing game that tasks the player with making it to the end of a long set of courses to clear the race, all while avoiding the many cars and obstacles along the way and keeping an eye on your fuel. You have a low gear and a high gear button, and shifting between the two is key to dealing with crashing into hazards, which I can assure you is inevitable due to the sheer amount of cars on the road. I’m not exaggerating when I say that there will be car after car, determined to bump you into a wall and cause you to lose fuel.
Upon losing all your fuel, the game ends, and ironically, while you can adjust the speed of your fuel gauge so it’ll slow down or speed up as you drive, you’ll likely lose more fuel from crashing into things than going too slow, due to the aforementioned flood of obstacles. You can try and make the most of a collision due to a technique that stops you from veering into a wall, which involves tilting the joystick in the direction that will straighten your car. However, if you tilt the joystick in the opposite direction for too long, you’ll spinout and either crash into a wall or slow down immensely, usually the former.
Needless to say, this game is a ton of fun, nailing the addictive feeling of scorechasing that makes these old games shine. The faster you reach the finish line of each section, along with how many cars you pass, the more bonus points you get at the end of the round. Besides improving your times, you can also get bonus points if you go for long periods of time without crashing into anything, as planes and other background elements will react to your streak and give you a decent amount of points. As a result, the main game mode serves for a great score chaser, although the caravan mode doesn’t fit this game at all due to the fixed length of the courses, meaning that you’ll hit a skill ceiling a lot quicker in that mode compared to playing normally.
In conclusion, Road Fighter is a Konami classic that’s a fairly simple arcade racer compared to what would come out later, but that simplicity leads to a lot of fun overall. As a perfect fit for the online leaderboards (save for the caravan mode) and the good sense of one more try the game gives you, Road Fighter is still a bit tough to recommend at the pretty steep price of $8. Still, if you have any nostalgic memories of this game or its Famicom port, or if you just want an arcade racer from simpler times to toy around with, Road Fighter is still a solid classic all these years later.
I give Arcade Archives Road Fighter a 7 out of 10.