Review by RyanVG

Reviewed: 07/06/18

A Fair Example of an 1980s Racing Game

Knight Rider is a fairly good example of what a racing video game in the 1980s should be like. It's like Highway Star except that you can also do missions where you destroy terrorists and save the world. The driving is really fast and the time limits are really furious. I also like how you have to monitor your gas in addition to the amount of damage that your car receives. I prefer the purple title screen of the Japanese version over the bland North American title screen. The car and the Michael character really come to life with such a vivid neon background highlighting their awesomeness.

The controls are simple: the "up" key is for acceleration while the "down" key is for deceleration. Devon and Vonnie really provide some comic relief in the "mission" mode but they simply announce the number of lives you have remaining in the "drive" mode. I like to believe that Knight Rider does a really good job of providing urgency to the player. Drive too slow and you're gutless. Drive too fast and you're reckless. The music is really pounding and provides an adrenaline rush of joy to the player while he is controlling the vehicle. Even though there are no continues in the "drive" mode as opposed to the "mission" mode, I felt relatively no difficulty in progressing through the levels.

While the relentless violence and hyperactive driving may turn off some fans of the TV series, I like how the vehicle can accelerate up to 500 kilometers per hour in the right conditions. Shooting the blue vehicles results in a 5-second penalty while shooting red vehicles results in gaining points. Yellow vehicles provide the player with important power-ups along with the black trucks. There should be a Virtual Reality version of this game just to show off how realistic the driving was by 1988 standards.

Overall, this game would be a moderately successful Nintendo Switch game in today's world. The controls would have to be re-wired but a lot of people would enjoy the simplicity of these 1980s racing games. I'm sure that not too many young people would know who Devon and Vonnie are but they can find plenty of information on those characters on Wikipedia or the Knight Rider Wiki. Even allowing some kind of 3D mode with the same 3D glasses used in Highway Star could have enhanced this game a little bit back in the day. But of course, 8-bit developers had to deal with a lot of limitations back then and they did the best that they could have done at the time.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Knight Rider (JP, 09/30/88)

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