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MegaRace is a video game created by Cryo Interactive, released in 1994. It features pre-rendered 3-D graphics and over twenty minutes of full motion video of fictional game show host, Lance Boyle. It was released for MS-DOS on March 28, 1994, for the Sega Mega-CD/Sega CD on July 30, 1994 and for the 3DO on September 5, 1994. There was apparently a version in development for the Commodore Amiga CD32, which was previewed in many Amiga magazines of the time. (http://eager.back2roots.org/DATA/M/MEGRA.html)

Microïds, owners of the Cryo brand, made the game available on Good Old Games in 2009.

Plot

MegaRace takes place in the distant future, where the player is a contestant on a game show, called "MegaRace". MegaRace is on the VWBT (Virtual World Broadcast Television) television channel where contestants compete in a live-or-die race match against Hells Angels-like speed gangs. MegaRace's host is the eccentric Lance Boyle (played by Christian Erickson). He guides the player throughout the game, introducing new levels and enemies, frequently discouraging the player.

Objective

The objective in MegaRace is to kill all of the speed-gang members in each race before three laps of the racetrack are completed. The first race starts out with a small number of speed-gang punks, but more are added in each subsequent race. Three ways are available to the player for dispatching opponents: slamming them into the sidewall of the track, hitting them with missiles mounted on the player's car, or passing them, causing the opponent's vehicle to explode after the gap between the two cars becomes too great. Missiles are the most effective way of dispatching opponents; however, they are limited by a finite amount of ammunition available in each race. If all opponents are not killed within three laps, the race is lost and the player must start again from their last saved game. If all opponents are successfully dispatched, the player moves on to the next race.

Gameplay

Megarace ingame

DOS version of MegaRace

Megarace is a Vehicular combat game with arcade gameplay, similar to that of RoadBlasters and Spy Hunter. However, it is also a rail shooter, in which the player does not fully control the car; he can move it from side to side and accelerate within a limited range, but cannot turn nor fully stop the vehicle. In fact, the speedway is actually a pre-rendered full-motion video playing on a loop. The player must not only kill the opponents, but must also selectively avoid or run over "symbols" marked on the speedway itself. When driven over, these symbols temporarily improve or harm your car's performance. Almost every symbol on the speedway has a corresponding symbol with an opposite effect, such as acceleration and deceleration symbols. It can be quite difficult to make optimal use of the symbols in some levels, particularly Paradise Valley.

Cars

There are a total of 8 cars in the game. Three of the cars (the Enforcer's) are available to choose from at the very beginning.

The Enforcer's Cars

  • Ouzbel takes damage well and has good weapons but very bad armour and poor handling.
  • Luis is not the easiest car to control, but has good weapons and armour.
  • Jose has poor weapons and armour but excellent shields and handling.

Speed-Gang Cars

  • Ramon ("The Vultures") takes hard turns and fires her weapons well but has poor shields.
  • Maria ("The Sharks") has average weapons and armor, perfect handling and not-so-great shields.
  • Hooper ("Big Bob and the Power Tools") has good armor, shields and handling but lacks good weapons.
  • Omega ("King Cool and the Master Class") handles well and has perfect shields but poor weapons and armor.
  • Paloma ("The Scabs") has excellent armor and weapons and good shields but is hard to control.

Speed-Gangs

  • The Vultures is the first speed-gang the player encounters. Its Packleader's name is 'Jailbait'. It controls the NewSan levels (Uptown, Sunset Boulevard and The Golden Gate Speedway) and drive Ramons. It is a speed-gang with a lot of rage, and its members like to liberate those strong feelings by smearing people across the highway.
  • The Sharks is the second speed-gang the player encounters. Its Packleader's name is 'Hammerhead'. It controls the Magical Maeva levels (Atlantis, Aqualand and The Blue Lagoon Funworld) and drive Marias. The speed-gang was actually bought because Maeva didn't have any vicious speed-gangs. Hammerhead wants to either nail the Enforcer to the side walls or bite the Enforcer's legs off.
  • The Power Tools is the third speed-gang the player encounters. Its Packleader's name is 'Big Bob'. It controls the Factory Land levels (Industrial Park, The Snake and The Big Zero) and drive Hoopers. Its members don't like robots (because they are putting humans out of employment) and they don't like robot-lovers (like the Enforcer).
  • The Master Class is the fourth speed-gang the player encounters. Its Packleader's name is 'King Cool'. It controls the Fractalian Space levels (Belly Of The Beast, Particle Accelerator and Paradise Valley) and drive Omegas. Its members come from the finest families; they are rich kids with attitude, and are tired of the ugliness that they see all around them, to the point that they want to blow it all away.
  • The Scabs is the fifth and final speed-gang the player encounters. Its Packleader's name is 'Rabies'. It controls the Terminal City levels (Wasteland and Orbital Junkyard) and drive Palomas. Its members are a degenerate bunch of people that want the Enforcer to put them out of their misery.

Other Speedgangs

There are at least two other speed-gangs that are not named, these two control The Skyholder and The Can levels. The former appear to drive Luises, the latter Palomas. Of course, both of these speed-gangs could be completely virtual, controlled only by VWBT.

In the Sega CD version there is a Packleader on the Hall Of Fame with the name of 'Wolfgang' with a score of 20,000 on the Orbital Junkyard track.

Speedways

There are fourteen speedways in five worlds. This does not count two extra races, The Skyholder and The Can. The tracks' appearances differ between the 'Novice' and 'Hard' difficulty levels; races on outdoor tracks instead take place at night, the colors of indoor tracks differ, and the placement of symbols on the tracks also differ.

Worlds

  • NewSan - (Futuristic San Francisco)
  • Maeva - (Submarine levels, also known as 'Magical Maeva' or 'The Aquatube')
  • Factory Land - (Various Construction Sites)
  • Fractalian Space - (Various Extraterrestrial Locations)
  • Terminal City - (Landfill, Suburb of NewSan)

Speedways

  • Uptown
  • Atlantis
  • Industrial Park
  • Belly Of The Beast
  • Wasteland
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Aqualand
  • Particle Accelerator
  • The Snake
  • Orbital Junkyard
  • The Blue Lagoon Funworld
  • The Big Zero
  • Golden Gate Speedway
  • Paradise Valley

If the player beats Lance Boyle's score (120,000 points), plays for a sufficiently long time, and comes in second, third or (occasionally) fourth, Lance will let him move on to the next track. Usually, coming in any position other than first either ends the game or forces the player to play the "Last-Chance Speedway" (a.k.a. The Can, Tokyo). In this situation, Lance says, "You were lucky to finish that race alive, Enforcer. If I let you drive another one, you'll get splattered all over the track!"

Bonus Speedway

  • The Skyholder - An entirely virtual speedway where the Enforcer's brakes have been removed, resulting in high speed, and he must dodge oncoming cars. Your opponents appear to be driving Luises.

The purpose of The Skyholder is to score bonus points. As usual, the Enforcer scores 100 points for driving over a light-colored "bonus points" symbol, or loses 100 for driving over a dark-colored "penalty points" symbol. The Enforcer also scores points by causing an enemy to crash other than by passing them, but the Enforcer also crashes in this situation, since no weapons are available in this level.

Penalty Speedway

  • The Can (Also known as 'The Last Chance Speedway' or 'Tokyo') - A circular speedway in Tokyo. Your opponents drive Palomas.

The Can (a.k.a. Tokyo) is a speedway serving only as a last chance; if the player does not win this race, the game ends. In order to race in Tokyo, the player must:

  • Finish 'Belly Of The Beast' in second place.
  • Finish 'Particle Accelerator' in second place after finishing first in all other races.
  • Finish all 14 speedways on both difficulties and select Tokyo in the level select menu.
  • Play from beginning and beat Lance Boyle's score and come in second place on any track without losing.

(Note: to reach these milestones, a new game must be started; the above options are not available via a saved game).

Prizes

Throughout the game prizes awarded for winning races. To win a prize, you must win the race and score at least 8,000 points from that race. Any score from 8,000 to 11,999 points from a race wins a prize from Gallery #1, and a score 12,000 points or more from a race wins a prize from Gallery #2. The prize is random; the player has cannot anticipate which prize he is going to receive. Prizes have no effect on the final outcome of the game; these sequences are just for show.

Symbols

MegaRace has so-called "Symbols" scattered throughout each track. The player must attempt to utilize any positive symbols, while avoiding the large swarms of negative symbols which generally pollute each track. Nearly every symbol in the game has a counterpart with an opposite effect. Enemy cars are not affected by symbols; consequently, enemy cars will unintentionally drive over negative symbols, forcing the player to cease his attack.

  • Booster+ - Gives the player a boost of speed for a short amount of time. Some tracks, such as the Golden Gate Speedway, utilize this symbol as a trap rather than a benefit.
  • Booster- - Applies the car's brakes causing it to suddenly lose speed. Also causes the player's car to jerk involuntarily, disrupting the player's aim.
  • Points+ - Gives the player more points. The amount of points is determined by the amount of point+ symbols hit. This is the only symbol that can be found, other than the point- symbol, on the Skyholder track.
  • Points- - Takes points away from the player, the amount being determined by the number of point- symbols hit one right after another.
  • Energy+ - Gives the player more ammunition.
  • Energy- - Takes ammunition away from the player. It is one of the most common symbols in the game.
  • Weapon - Adds a weapon to the player's car, allowing the player to fire multiple laser guns at once.
  • No Weapon - Strips the player's car of all weapons.
  • Missile - Changes the car's weapon from lasers to missiles. The car must have missile support in order for this symbol to affect the car.
  • Rails - Holds the car to the rail symbol, also adds a burst of speed for the duration that the car is on the rail.
  • Shield - Grants temporary protection against enemy vehicles. The player's car must have shield support for this symbol to work.
  • Radar Jam - Jams the player's radar so he cannot see the location of enemy cars.
  • Blinding Zone - Causes the screen to ripple and wobble, throwing off the player's vision.
  • Command Inversor - Reverses the car's steering controls (such as the keyboard, mouse, or a joystick). It is very dangerous when taking curves in the track.
  • Panel Off - Disables the player's warning monitor, and causes all information on the status bar to vanish temporarily.
  • Skidding - Causes the car to involuntarily jerk left or right.
  • Skidding Turn - Causes the car to spin 360 degrees. Interestingly enough, this has no effect on the player's speed or traction with the road. The only thing that is disturbed is the player's aim.
  • Warning - Activates the warning indicator on the player's car, allowing the player to see upcoming symbols on his status bar.

Lance Boyle

The actor who played MegaRace's host was Christian Erickson. His previous acting experiences were very small roles in movies such as Fun with Dick and Jane and Dangerous Liaisons. MegaRace was Erickson's first starring role, and after that he has appeared in many other video games (in addition to MegaRace 2 and MegaRace 3) including Atlantis: The Lost Tale, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, XIII, Syberia II, Fahrenheit, better known in the USA as Indigo Prophecy and most recently (as of 2010), as 'The Doc' in Heavy Rain.

Music

MegaRace features a techno chiptune soundtrack composed by Stephane Picq of Dune fame. The music uses an AdLib sound card for playback and unfortunately due to the sound card's lack of support and little documentation on Cryo's file extensions, the music cannot be loaded into an audio player. However, the raw musical data for all the songs in the game have been captured and saved into the RAW file extension, which is playable in AdPlug, a plug-in for Winamp. The RAW files are available for download here. The MegaRace music can also be heard on the Kohina online radio station.

Sequels

MegaRace was a success when it first came out, selling over 100,000 units. MegaRace also spawned two sequels, MegaRace 2 in 1996 and MegaRace 3 in 2001, the former using the same pre-rendered method introduced in MR1 (albeit with 3D polygon car models instead), the latter featuring full real-time 3-D graphics. Lance Boyle also returns for both sequels. MegaRace also came included with some Packard Bell, Quantex computers, and Gravis Joysticks during the early to mid-1990s.

Trivia

  • The music for the race track, "Maeva" in the Sega CD version of MegaRace is completely different from the music of the same track in the MS-DOS version.
  • The car RAMON is colored differently in the Sega CD version, it is tan with a blue stripe down the middle instead of gray.
  • In the Sega CD version in the Hall Of Fame there is a racer called Wolfgang, with a score of 20,000 on the Orbital Junkyard track on Hard. He is there instead of Lance Boyle.
  • The Thrillometer measures how exciting the current race is, if it falls into the gray zone then the audience isn't getting enough thrills. However, this does not affect gameplay or score, you could play the entire game with a low Thrillometer and still get the best score.
  • If you play the game on Novice, once you beat Paradise Valley the game will start over on Hardened; you must beat this too in order to beat the game entirely. However, if you play on Hardened from the start, once you beat Paradise Valley you will win and not start over.
  • There are six different endings, four bad endings, two good.
  • The first bad ending is when the Enforcer dies (Car blows up during race). ("And so the struggle for law and order on our freeways claims another victim.")
  • The second bad ending is when the Enforcer quits the game early. ("The Enforcer can't take the heat, huh?")
  • The third bad ending is when the Enforcer didn't kill the Packleader in three laps. (Gets to the end of the race without having 12,000 or more points and having only the pack leader left on the race). ("Sorry, Enforcer, you didn't get the job done. It's return-to-reality time, old buddy!... Let's call the next contestant.")
  • The worst ending is when the Enforcer is defeated and forfeits. (Car blows up and he quits). ("Look at that loser crawl away to die!") (Note: If you just played the Skyholder and crashed, and you quit, you get this message, even though the Skyholder is a bonus speedway.)
  • The first good ending is when the Enforcer kills every Packleader once without losing and quits. ("Hey! Doesn't time fly when you're watching low-lifes die? Just kidding. We'll let our Enforcer get some well-earned rest now.")
  • The best ending is when the Enforcer defeats every Packleader on all 14 speedways. This is the 'true' ending. The Enforcer receives the 'Solid Gold Enforcement Officer' Award, and also one of the prizes from Gallery #1. (Defeats King Kool in Paradise Valley in Hardened Mode).
  • In the "Special Thanks" section of the credits, one of the persons credited is Carroll Shelby.
  • According to the computer file that contains the subtitles to Lance Boyle's dialog, one of the lines was originally removed from the final game (although some games did ship with the original dialog). The dialog the player hears in the game is:
  • It's because of quitters like him that vicious speed-gangs miss out on a wonderful rehabilitation program! Tune in next time to Mega Race when we'll have a real Enforcer to admire!

The original line (a Soylent green reference) went like this:

  • It's because of quitters like him that vicious speed-gangs miss out on a wonderful rehabilitation program developed by New Directions in Meat Incorporated, makers of Bleed, the candy-bar poor folks love to be a part of! Tune in next time to Mega Race when we'll have a real Enforcer to admire!
  • In the Spanish MS-DOS version, that dialog is available, but instead of saying "the candy-bar poor folks love to be a part of!" he says "The candy-bar which is composed totally of poor people"
  • In the Spanish MS-DOS version, the host's name is "Aldo Veloz" and in the Brazilian Portuguese MS-DOS he's called "Chico Flecha"
  • In some versions of MegaRace, running over a certain symbol during the Maeva levels causes the screen to ripple, while in other versions, running over the same symbol makes your car spin around.

References

External links


fr:MegaRace pt:MegaRace

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