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Motor Raid

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Released: 1997

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

As a Retro Gamer reader, we’re betting you remember how brilliant Road Rash was, with its combination of motorbikes and head-breaking melee weaponry. You do? Fantastic! Now, do you remember how brilliant WipEout was, with its combination of high speed and futuristic visuals? Of course, we needn’t have doubted you. Now, can you imagine how brilliant it would be if some madman decided to combine the DNA of the two games, to produce a really fast futuristic motorbike game with people smacking each other in the faces? Because that’s what Motor Raid is.

Sega’s futuristic racer sees players jumping onto one of four motorbikes, each bearing a different character with individual statistics and weaponry, and tearing up raceways across the galaxy. Each planet has a unique environment, from the tropical oceans of Reef 8 to the frozen peaks of Junos, and boasts plenty of background features such as alien dinosaurs. It’s not just the backdrops that bring WipEout to mind – course design is also reminiscent of the Psygnosis classic, with long, sweeping curves and plenty of steep hills.

While the basic formula of speeding and smashing your way to the front of a race will be familiar to anyone that has played Road Rash, Motor Raid brings a couple of its own features to the racetrack. A turbo meter builds during the course of the race, and allows you to charge forward with a couple of quick twists of the throttle.  You also have access to ranged attacks – by holding both weapon buttons, you’ll bring up a crosshair which allows you to lock on to other unfortunate racers and chuck your weapon at them.

Motor Raid isn’t one of Sega’s most fondly-remembered racing games, and it’s fair to say that it’s one of the least original to come from the company. Its status as an unconverted game doesn’t help matters here, a situation which no doubt arose from the awkward timing of the release. It would have been a stretch to get Motor Raid onto the Saturn, but it would have looked below par on the Dreamcast. That’s not to say it isn’t a fine game though, and fans of the games which inspired it will find a lot to like.