Our latest look at recent console ports has a selection of games where the originals go all the way back to 1989 – here are Quest for Infamy, Moto Roader MC and Music Racer: Ultimate.
Quest For Infamy
Phoenix Online Publishing released Quest for Infamy back in 2014, and it was (in title and content) an obvious throwback to the days of classic adventure games – Sierra’s legendary Quest for Glory series in particular, which started out as Hero’s Quest until a certain IP holder demanded a name change.
In an odd twist of fate, another subtle name change gave us Quest for Infamy, where your job isn’t to chase after all that’s good but to be the anti-hero for a change – a villain who takes more than he gives. It’s certainly an interesting concept that developer Infamous Quests ran with through a comedic approach, and the new console ports by Ratalaika bring that experience to a whole new audience.
As with Quest for Glory, the game blends classic adventure gaming with RPG elements, which can be seen both in the character selection (a brigand, rogue or sorcerer) and the turn-based combat. Role playing enthusiasts might be disappointed at the lack of meaningful choices though, as most of the story is fairly linear and your choices in quests and conversations don’t feel very impactful.
It’s a nice throwback to the MS-DOS days of adventure gaming though, with a strong retro flavor to the graphics, good music and decent voice acting. The writing is a bit hit and miss as not all of the jokes land, and we’re not convinced the subject matter lends itself as well to a comedic touch as some of the classic Lucasarts and Larry games did. Nevertheless, if you’re yearning for a classic adventure on your console then your choices are limited and this will do nicely – it also offers a lot more content than your typical Ratalaika game, which is a pleasant surprise.
Moto Roader MC
This is a port/remake of a game we had never heard of, even though we love the genre it’s in. Moto Roader is a top-down racer from 1989 in the same vein as Super Sprint, Ironman Off-Road, Badlands, Nitro and Super Cars – but it only launched on the PC Engine console back in the day, so for a lot of people this will be the first time they go hands on with it.
Ratalaika’s bringing it to modern consoles, with all of the original game modes intact. That means you can play against the computer, but it’s a lot more fun to play this one through local multiplayer, where the entire track fits on the screen, so it even works on a smaller TV as it doesn’t use split screen. If you have the option, we highly recommend you play this one with others, because the inclusion of weapons makes this a lovely party game.
Weapons can be used to hit both opponents in front of you (with missiles) or those behind you (with mines), which was kind of a rare feature in these games back in the game – which mostly featured turbo boosts as power-ups. When you add the fact that there’s plenty of diversity to the track layouts, with on-track boosts and crossroads to make sure every one of the 25 tracks feels unique.
Moto Roader MC even comes with a little mini game that’s reminiscent of Rocket League, where you use cars to score goals with a ball, showing that this was a game that was ahead of its time. This one’s definitely fun with a few friends around, but if that’s not an option then trophy hunters will console themselves with the thought of an easy platinum trophy.
Music Racer: Ultimate
AbstractArt originally released Music Racer back in 2018, but now it’s been ported to consoles by Sometimes You in an Ultimate version that also includes all the post-launch content that came out for it. We played it on PlayStation.
The central concept for Music Racer is that you can race on tracks that are shaped around your own music that you feed into it – a concept we fell in love with when Audiosurf launched, which is a game we definitely wouldn’t mind seeing on modern consoles. But where Audiosurf felt very easy to set up and use (on a PC), Music Racer is a bit more obtuse. I wasn’t familiar with the music service (Audius) that’s supported, and the game doesn’t really guide you through the whole onboarding process very well.
In-game, Music Racer looks the part – like a neon-infused version of Horizon Chase Turbo. There are different cars to unlock as well, some of which look like they come straight from the neon-lit 80s. They’re mostly cosmetic though, as this is a racer that because of its nature is largely on-rails – something that makes sense for a music-based title.
The biggest problem, however is that Music Racer doesn’t seem to analyze the music all that well. What was thrilling about audiosurf is that tracks would start to surge and spin when the music picked up tempo, and that pick-ups were timed perfectly to the beat of the music. Here, that is far less pronounced, and it certainly doesn’t feel as invigorating because of it. Ultimately, that makes Music Racer a game with less lasting appeal than similar games, but it’s an okay experience for a few evenings of music-infused gameplay that also comes with an easily obtainable trophy list.