Absolut Gaming: Game Shot


AKA Ass-Bandit
Well, I'm still working on getting a proper review of a game together, so I'm going to give you a small review of a game I recently re-discovered for the C64, Shockway Rider, which was on the PowerPack (basically a cover tape) of Commodore Format #5. So lets get straight into it with the...

Storyline: Er...in a world with a fast moving pavements, a man tries to ride all the pavements as fast as he can...or else he'll explode?

I really have no idea if there is a storyline or not, Commodore Format #5 says "The 'Shockway' is the pavement of the future - a moving side-walk with fast lanes! Your aim as the shockway rider is to traverse all 12 districts and 'Go Full Circle'. I doubt there's much more to it than that, but you can get through it without knowing why this grey clothed bloke is riding on horizontal escalators attacking everything that moves.

Graphics: They do the job, but it's nothing to praise the game for. A quick glance tells you what things are and what to hit. Foes are easily spotted, as they all seem to be wearing bright purple clothing and purple masks you'd expect to see highwaymen or Zorro wear. The thrown item graphic changes depending on what you're throwing (spheres or bricks), but it doesn't make much difference. Everything it hits makes them explode in a cloud of...something. I do wish to know why the hell there are lollipops in the middle of the lanes though.

The overall scenery gets very samey after a period of about 3 minutes, there's pretty much no difference in levels apart from colours. Bland and boring...which actually sums up the...

Gameplay: Very repetitive. The basic goal, is to get from one end of a district to another within a time limit. Failure to do so results in game over. You can work out roughly how much more you have to go by taking a look at the district name in the bottom left of the screen, as it's accompanied by a number which counts up depending on how far along you are. Dictrict lengths vary from 15 areas to 19.

In this world, however, purple-clad muggers and gangs threaten anyone who...apparently wear grey, as these guys only seem to hassle you. You touch them (or pretty much anything, for that matter), you explode, and your head rides on down the shockway as you lose a life. You can fight off these bastards by throwing objects that you can collect on the static pavement, which look like either a stack of bricks or cubes. You can get two types of weapon, bricks and spheres, but there's no difference between the two. You don't run out of objects, they don't go away when you die, they just both make things blow up.

Yes, pretty much everything blows up when they hit something, you included (I'm guessing that hints at a race of nitroglycerin people). So try to not touch anything that looks remotely dangerous, and that includes the lollipops in the middle of lanes.

The only way to get to the end of a district in time is to ride on the fastest lane, which is closest to the screen, making the top lane (slowest) completely pointless. And even when you're on the fastest lane, unless lollipops are spread everywhere, staying in one lane for too long causes an indestructible bouncing ball to come after you, forcing you to switch tracks briefly. It's an annoyance and completely pointless.

You're probably bound to loose some lives, and as such, the game lets you collect extra lives by completing district bonuses, which include collecting mailbags, shooting targets, and shooting innocent bystanders. That's right, the game encourages you to hit innocent people casually riding the shockway...nice.

However, one of these bonuses is utterly useless and time-wasting - collecting bottles on level 3. Unlike the mailbags (which are on the lanes), these bottles are on the static pavement, wasting precious time.

Level 5, on the other hand, leaves you without weaponry until about 3 areas in, forcing you to jump around trying to dodge enemies (hint: harder than it looks).

And once you've gotten through all this monotony? You go full circle and start again! Only this time, the bonuses are slightly harder. Lovely.

There is no real urge to play through this game more than once, except for highscore bragging rights. Which is unlikely in this day and age.

Music / Sound: Slightly upbeat, but loops and gets old fast. You can choose to tunn the music off and use the SFX instead, but it's just as bad. It basically consists of plings, 'bouncing' sounds, and a number of other sounds to indicate lane change, weapon throw, weapon hit, etc.

Final Thoughts: It's overall not very fun. You can use it as a time-waster for when you're waiting for something, but you should only do so if (a) you're using an emulator, or (b) you have a floppy disk (5 1/2") with the game on, as it's not worth the 3 - 5 minutes of tape loading.

You can get hold of a D64 image of the cover tape here if you wanna dive it a shot, make sure you use an emulator to run it.
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That depends on your point of view. Drinking may have made the game that much more enjoyable. Suddenly the mundane becomes the incredible and you're laughing every step of the way.
In that case, drinking would just help take the "filter" off. Belligerent reviews have the potential to be very amusing.

I'm sorry, I would not normally condone drinking in such a matter, but for a feature named "Absolut Gaming: Game Shot" it just makes sense. The name just screams vodka as it appears you're already endorsing a brand of adult beverage.

Or for a twist on the reviews formula, you might say how many "Shots of Absolut" you would need to actually enjoy the game. The higher the number, the worse the game.


AKA Ass-Bandit
Fuck me, you might be on to something there. I'd probably only bring out the alcohol for bad games though (when I get round to them), or some rare occasions for good games.

As for the series name, I randomly came about it whilst thinking about alcohol. Just screams originality, right?
I have to admit, I do like the name. It's what prompted me to read the thread in the first place.

It almost might be worth it to only review bad games for the sake of the alcohol. It also seems like it could be amusing to create video reviews while under the influence, but that could be dangerous. I don't know, I'm just spitballing here, but I think this concept has some amazing potential.
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AKA Ass-Bandit
The closest to audio-visual reviews you'd get is play-through recordings with voice dubbed over. Of course, to do this, I'd have to set the emulators to record the games, and use something like Audacity to record my voice at the same time, which would result in a lot of takes if drunk.

I'll think about it anyway. Of course, these wouldn't come about often, I'd have to do them on a Friday or Saturday evening, and make sure I have enough cash for not only alcohol supplies, but also housekeeping, costs for my motorcycle wish I should have soon, and food costs at work.