In this special series on the Pioneer LaserActive, guest author Taylor Pinson will be discussing some of the games released on the Sega PAC, an add-on for the LaserActive that could play Genesis, Sega CD, and Mega LD titles.
DEVELOPER: Data East
RELEASE DATE: 01/25/95 – (JP), 1995 – (US)
Road Prosecutor is a fun, Dragon’s Lair-style arcade game and probably one of the best games on the system.
The story is explained purely by the visuals in the opening scene/attract mode. An evil biker gang roams unchecked across a wasteland, causing havoc wherever it goes. One of their victims includes the wife of a newlywed couple who get run off the road. The couple’s car explodes, the bride is killed, and the widowed husband is pissed. Our hero returns to his garage, starts up his muscle car that looks a lot like the one that just exploded (he had two identical cars?), and goes out in search of revenge.
Road Prosecutor was originally a Data East laserdisc arcade game from 1985 called Road Blaster. In addition to the LaserActive release, it was also ported to the Sega CD by Renovation/Wolf Team and had a Japan-only release on the Saturn as a two-pack with Cobra Command (aka Thunder Storm).
The game looks great on the LaserActive, especially compared to the Sega CD version (I’ve only played the Saturn version once, and while it was better looking than the Sega CD, I recall it still having some visual compression/artifacting). There are bright, vibrant colors, solid animation (from Japan’s TOEI Animation, of all places), rich detail, and none of the compression problems/ugliness of the Sega CD version.
The sounds of car engines revving and tires squealing are adequate, but musically, the LaserActive’s soundtrack is pretty bland,. This is doubly disappointing when compared to the Sega CD version’s rockin’ intro tune, sung by an unknown artist who sounds like the Japanese equivalent of Bruce Springsteen.
Despite being an FMV game based around quick time events, Road Prosecutor‘s controls are tight and responsive. Its difficulty, while tough, feels fair. I died plenty of times even on easy, but when I was playing it, every death felt like a result of my own actions.
The LaserActive port also improves replayability with the inclusion of randomized mirrored game sections. Sometimes after I died on a level, the game would flip the image, forcing me to press “left” on sections that had previously required me to press “right” instead. It isn’t too big of deal, but it does keep you from memorizing each level.
Overall, if you enjoy the somewhat limited FMV genre Road Prosecutor is one the better games on the LaserActive. Finding it will be frustrating, as it is one of the rarer and more expensive games for the system. If you can find a copy for a price you’re willing to pay, check it out, or give its cheaper, easier-to-find-but-not-as-pretty sibling on the Sega CD a shot.
B+ for LaserActive (would have been an A, if it had the Sega CD’s rockin’ intro).
BONUS GRADE: C+ for Sega CD (still fun, but those visuals are rough, especially after playing the LaserActive version).