Review: Motor Psycho (Atari 7800)

In this review, we jump to the chance to play the Atari 7800 game Motor Psycho. We find out how well this racing game plays.

This game was released in 1990.

The goal of this game is to complete 5 laps on each of the four tracks available.

Impeding your progress are various hazards. The most immediately obvious hazard are other racers. touching other racers mean you blow up in a massive fireball. Another hazard is the flashing traffic cones. These cones can cause you to slow down or bump into a different lane. An additional hazard is the small jumps found in the road. They are about as wide as the tires, so reasonably easy to avoid. The final hazard is the track itself. You do encounter hills with limited visibility and sharp turns. Crashing into turning signs can also cause you to blow up.

The major factor in this game is the timer. You have a limited amount of time to complete a lap. How much time you get at the start and how much time you earn for completing a lap depends on the track. The longer the course, the more time you get.

One thing I found peculiar is the fact that the game boots you into track 1 right away. You aren’t given an option. While this is the logical track to start off with, not giving the player the choice right away strikes me as strange.

Another weird aspect is that this game is more like a prototype of a racing game. There is no player placement in the track necessarily. You just get bonus points at the end for overtaking other vehicles. In short, this is more of a time attack with other racers on the road than anything else. As a result, this game ends up being a somewhat dull affair.

What this game has going for it is that this is a third person perspective racer. By this time, it is a technological achievement even though it is not unprecedented. BallBlazer achieved a similar perspective game on a home console 6 years earlier.

This game, unfortunately, suffers from having a fairly short life span. It is more than possible to get your fill of this game in the matter of hours. You don’t have to complete each of the courses before you’ve had your fill of this game.

Generally speaking, this game manages to do two things that aren’t that common to see. This game manages to be a major technological achievement. It is a third person perspective home console racer made in 1990. At the same time, this game counter-intuitively manages to be a somewhat dull affair by being more of a prototypical racing game than an actual racing game. The short life span of this game didn’t really help things either.

Graphically speaking, this game has its strengths and weaknesses. One strength is that the players are nicely detailed (both you and the opponents). Another strength is that the sides of the roads are smoothly animated. A weakness, on the other hand, is the hills and land itself. Everything is one color. Because of this, the scenery is extremely plain and the hills can be a little tricky to see. The road hazards also leave a lot to be desired. The background is the only other real splash of art to be had in this game.

The audio is a major weakness for this game. There is a poor quality intro sound. The rest of the game has no music and simply the painful emulation of the engines. This alone made the game far less bearable.

Overall, this game manages to be more a technological achievement rather than a joyful experience. It’s a major technological achievement by being a third person perspective racing game. At the same time, this game is little more than a time attack challenge with other racers on the road. It also has a short life span. The graphics have their strengths and weaknesses, but the audio is almost all weakness. Overall, this game is little more than an interesting distraction for an hour or so.

Furthest point in game:
Track 1: completed
Track 2: Lap 3
Track 3: Lap 2
Track 4: Lap 2

General gameplay: 16/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 1/5

Overall rating: 54%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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