Review by Retro

"Almost as great as the arcade game"

When I used to go to arcades and spend fortunes all the time, Super Off Road was always one of the games that I had to play every time I saw it. When I saw Super Off Road on sale for the NES, I didn't think twice about getting it right away.

In almost every way, Super Off Road for the NES is just as great as the arcade game of the same name. In Super Off Road, you have to control a car and try to win races against three other opponents in various off road tracks.

The races in Super Off Road get more difficult the further you get into the game. All of the races are full of dirt, but they're not all the same. The tracks range from a straightforward track that just has a few basic turns to tracks that have water traps and tighter turns.

Before you even begin playing Super Off Road for the NES, you can choose to play anywhere from one to four players. Any of the cars that aren't controlled by you or someone else will be controlled by the computer. For instance, if you play a two player game, that means that you will control a car and your friend will control a car, and the computer will control the other two cars. In other words, there are always four cars in each race to begin with. After you choose how many players are going to play, you can then choose what country you want to be from. Then it's time to race!

Super Off Road is in ways the typical racing game. You will start at the checkered finish line and have to complete a certain number of laps, and of course you have to try and be the first one to cross the finish line. In the first few levels, your car and the other cars will be real slow, but don't fret, because you won't have to be slow for long.

Super Off Road did have some innovative qualities that made it different than almost all the other racing games of the time. While you're racing, from time to time, money bags and nitros will pop up somewhere on the track. Money bags give you extra money that you can use to buy new equipment for your car in the shop (which I'll get to in a minute). Nitros play a MAJOR role in how well you do in the races. Nitros are speed boosts. When you use a nitro, you will hear a low 'bang' noise and you'll see your car spurt real fast in the direction it's facing. You'll need to save as many nitros as you can because you'll need them in the later races.

At any time during the race, you can look at the top of the screen and see how many nitros you have left and how many laps you've completed. Also at the top of the screen is the name of the track and the time.

Whenever the first car crosses the finish line, the racers who are in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place will not be able to finish the race. Instead, they will freeze in place. Therefore, whatever place you're in when the first car crosses the finish line (unless you're the one who crossed it first), that will be what place you will finish in. As soon as you finish a race, a screen will come up that shows what place you came in and whoever wins the race, that player's national anthem will be playing. It also tells how long it took you to finish the race.

After each race, no matter what place you finished in, you will be taken to a screen in which you can buy some very useful powerups such as new motors, nitros, tires, shock absorbers, and extra speed. If you look at the top of your graph, you will see a number amount of how much money you have collected. If you just won the race or if you collected some money bags, your money total should be pretty high. Buying these items is the key to making your car faster and to surviving the later races. Once you've finished choosing your brand new items, you will go to the next race.

As a game of Super Off Road progresses, the computer players will get much faster. The computer racers' styles vary depending on what race you're on. For example, on some races, the computers will race like usual, in some, one of the computer's cars will be much faster than everybody else's, and in a few of the races, the computer will use a nitro every time you use one. I don't know if that's the way it does in the arcade game of Super Off Road, because I never got that far in it.

Like most racing games that were around at the same time as Super Off Road, you will have to either win or at least come in a favorable position after almost every race if you want a chance to keep racing for a long time. For about the first 10 or 15 tracks, continues will be allowed, but after a certain point, the game will tell you that no more continues will be allowed. This means that if you're coming in 3rd or 4th place more than you're coming in 1st or 2nd place, your game will probably be over real soon. Once your game is over, a high score screen will come up, and you might see your name on it.

The NES version of Super Off Road is GREAT, but it's not quite flawless. Of course, the graphics aren't quite as good, but that's to be expected. The levels with water in them don't seem to come up as often, and the sounds aren't quite the same, but that hasn't ever bothered me that much either. The biggest difference you'll see is that the cars look real small, whereas in the arcade game, they were big and you could see them clearly. You're also more prone to getting stuck along the walls or against another car than you are in the arcade game. Other than that, this game is great. It's a lot of fun to play multiplayer, and unlike many racing games, it's even fun to play by yourself against the computers.

If you've ever liked Super Off Road in the arcades or if you like racing games at all, I definitely recommend picking up Super Off Road if you see the chance.

GRAPHICS - The graphics can't compare to the ones in the arcade game, but they still look great. The dirt and the tracks in general look great, but the cars could've been done a little better.

SOUND - The sounds aren't anything spectacular, but they're well done. The national anthems' music sounds good and so does the other music in the game. The sound effects such as a nitro being used, all go with Super Off Road's atmosphere.

CONTROL - The control isn't quite as responsive as it should be, but it's easy to get used to. Just don't try to take a turn too sharp or you might end up getting stuck for a few seconds.

REPLAY VALUE - If you like racing games, then you'll probably be playing this one a lot. Through the years, me, my brothers, and my friends have played this one more than any other racing game for the NES.

OVERALL - Super Off Road is a great game in almost every way. My only complaints are that the computer racers can sometimes be impossible unless you use TONS of nitros, and the cars are a bit too small. Other than that, this game is nearly perfect.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/12/01, Updated 05/20/02

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