Quality Control, Video games

Quality Control Review – Super Off Road

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably have figured out that I like racing games. They’re one of my favorite genres of video games, alongside RPGs, wrestling games, shumps, and shooters. For those counting – that’s my top 5 right there. So, after having refrained from picking other racing games (including F-Zero) for my Quality Control picks, I decided to pick a racing game. The game in this case is Super Off Road.

The Premise

Drive a race car around a track, be in the top 3 to advance to the next track. In between races you can upgrade your car’s top speed, acceleration, shocks, tires, and top speed, as well as buying Nitro boosts, all using the prize money you earn from winning races

The Good

For a game with basically a top-down omnipotent camera angle (you can see the entire track and everyone on it), the controls are positively solid. Additionally, this is one of the racing games where flipping the track fundamentally changes how you approach the track much more significantly then more traditional racing games – because of this camera angle.

The Bad

The movable obstacles which they put on the tracks (hay bales) seem to slow things up a bit too much. Also, there’s little rhyme or reason to when power-ups are placed on the track. Once they’re placed there’s some logic to their location – but God knows when they’ll start appearing.

Additionally, aside from a little up-resolution, I can’t really see anything in this game that would distinguish this from the NES Off-Road racing game.

The Ugly

Right off, this is going to be the longest chunk of this review.

First, the game give no visual cues to which truck is yours, except for your steering. Which means that your first race in this game – and possibly your first several races, will be spent figuring out which car is yours.

Second, when cars bump (and they do bump) they have a big effect on the cars course. How big? Well, there were several occasions where the initial jostle coming off the starting line had me turned entirely around. Similarly, taking a turn too sharp can also lead to needing to have the car do a 360. Considering that an entire race can take less than a minute, that makes a big difference.

Third, you only get one continue, which allows you to advance to the next track. Once you use that continue, it’s game over – requiring you to start the entire career mode over from the beginning, and being that there are 16 tracks, that can be a heck of a set back. This is aggravated by the fact that when you continue, you lose all your previously purchased upgrades. As I’ve said before, there’s no good reason to limit continues. Ever. If you still want to add the sense of difficulty, then set it that when you continue you re-run the last race, and you keep all your prior upgrades. I understand that that wasn’t the way things were done on the arcade version – but I’m going to tell you a little secret. Arcade machines are designed to rob you blind. They want you to keep pumping quarters into them until you are flat broke. However, the arcade machines are able to do better graphics then home machines (during this period), because the developers weren’t limited to the hardware restrictions of the NES or SNES or other home console systems. They could design hardware that would fit the needs of the game, instead of vice versa. So, arcade quality graphics is a good thing. Arcade quality difficulty on the other hand, is not necessarily as good.

The Verdict

This is not a good game. It’s not the steaming pile of filth that NARC was, but it’s not exactly quality either. If I were you, and I had a PS3 (like I do), I’d get Motorstorm instead. If you have 360, then get DiRT 2. Moving back to my rating system, I give this a 2 out of 10.


2 thoughts on “Quality Control Review – Super Off Road

  1. Brandon says:

    You weren’t playing the game the “fun” way. You have to have two players. One of players actually plays the game, the other player plays the “blocker” and tries to run head first into the computer players, aiding the other player. What was awesome is sometimes you could hit the computer cars hard enough that they’d actually turn around and start driving the races backwards… and sometimes the blocker turns on the other player, too. Good times.

    • Alexander Case says:

      Yeah. Unfortunately I only had the one controller. Otherwise I would have tried to rope someone into playing two-player.

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