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As with other laserdisc-based arcade games from the same time, the gameplay consists of on-screen instructions overlaid over pre-recorded full motion video cartoon footage of high-speed chases and vehicular combat. The player controls the cross-hair to steer their car toward the correct directions according to the green arrows flashing and beeping beside it, while controlling the gas pedal, brake and booster whenever they light up.
The story of Road Blaster is inspired by the film Mad Max and takes place in the United States in the late 1990s (a future at the time of the game's release). The player assumes the role of an ex police officer with the SCP force turned a vigilante who drives a customized sports car in order to get revenge on a biker gang responsible for his wife's death on their honeymoon. After recovering from his own injuries, he upgrades his car and goes on a rampage through nine areas. His goal is to find the gang's female boss and complete his vengeance.
Development and release
Road Blaster uses animation provided by the anime studio Toei Animation. It was animated under the guidance of Yoshinobu Inano, who also directed or key-animated such films such as Gundam: Char's Counter Attack, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, and Transformers: The Movie. The game was originally released for the arcades in 1985, using a laserdisc system. After Data East became defunct due to their 2003 bankruptcy, G-Mode bought the intellectual rights to the arcade game as well as most other Data East games.
Various ports were released for consoles between 1989 and 1997 including versions for the MSX, Mega-CD/Sega CD, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, LaserActive, and 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (prototyped as Turbo Blaster). However, only the Mega-CD and LaserActive versions were released internationally under the titles Road Avenger and Road Prosecutor respectively. The titles were possibly changed to avoid confusion with the similarly titled arcade game Roadblasters by Atari Games, which was ported to the Sega Mega Drive around the same time. Road Blaster was also released for the Sharp X68000 and for and Windows in 2011, only in Japan.
Other variations included one-shot reproductions for VHS cassette players such as Takara's Video Challenger which was a limited interactive port of the Road Blaster arcade game. The Sega Saturn and PlayStation ports were compilations of Road Blaster and another laserdisc arcade game developed by the same team titled Thunder Storm (known outside of Japan as Cobra Command). Yoshihisa Kishimoto, the director of both Cobra Command and Road Blaster, later directed the arcade version of Double Dragon, where the car from Road Blaster can be seen inside Billy and Jimmy's garage at the start of the game. Cobra Command and Road Blaster were ported to iOS by Revolutionary Concepts in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
An expanded universe novelization of the game was announced in 2009. The project was officially authorized by G-Mode of Japan (the rights holder to most of Data East's catalog) to be written by Mary Margaret Park. An unofficial SNES port was also released in 2011.
Dragon reviewers gave Sega CD version of the game 4 out of 5 stars in 1993. On release, Famicom scored the Sega Saturn version of the game a 25 out of 40, giving the PlayStation version a 23 out of 40. The iOS port was released to generally favourable reviews, including the scores of 8/10 from IGN and 7/10 from Pocket Gamer.
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