Biker Mice from Mars

SNES

Review by Matt Paprocki

Konami

Racing

Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

 

Completely overshadowed by Rock & Roll Racing, Konami's attempt at a combat racing title is just shy of a classic. Biker Mice from Mars doesn't exactly scream quality from the name (the license is fairly weak), and that's the likely reason no one has heard of it. The controls, graphics, and gameplay have an uncanny arcade style feel for a console game.

Biker Mice From Mars (U) 0000.jpg (15261 bytes)From a perspective, Biker Mice offers a slightly limited roster of racers to pick from. It's the core of the cartoon series available for selection, so fans should feel like they got what they wanted. As is the norm, each offers a different array of attributes. Racing and winning earns money, which turns into increased attributes.

This slight RPG touch is taken from Interplay's similar Rock & Roll Racing, and that's fine. If you're going to steal a game, it might as well be a classic. The perspective adds a fantastic layer of depth to the play field, and while there are some brief moments where it's hard to tell where you'll land after a ramp, the aesthetic advantages pay off.

Slipping around corners feels natural, and depending on your bike choice, you can even drift, certainly a racing game concept that was still a little time away. Weapons play a role, but unlike Rock & Roll Racing, you'll get one after each lap (along with a boost refill). Projectile weapons are handled wonderfully. When a target appears over the player, it's a sign to move. Most car combat titles don't even offer any indication that a blow is coming.

There are those weapons that stop the race cold including an earthquake and time stopper. These are usually handed out to the person in last for balance, and while somewhat cheap, it helps anyone stay involved regardless of the skill differential. The difficulty ramp is harsh as the game comes to a close, so even a veteran player won't argue when they're given every opportunity. It's especially jarring as the course hazards (fans especially) make these tracks all but impossible to avoid crashing at least once.

Biker Mice From Mars (U) 0001.jpg (13101 bytes)As a late release, this one also takes advantage of the console, and not just visually. There is no slowdown, and the speed as new engines are purchased are surprising for a console that seems more well known for its slow processor than color. The voice work and soundtrack add that final layer to this minor classic and complete the illusion that this is a flawless arcade port for those who don't know any better.

It's easy to praise Rock & Roll Racing (it certainly deserves it), but not fair to overlook this gem. Don't let the cheesy (no pun intended) name throw you off. Besides a few gripes, Biker Mice from Mars is right up there in a strong 16-bit Konami line-up for the SNES.

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Last updated: Saturday, December 24, 2005 01:24 AM