Game: Mad Panic Coaster
Genre: Roller Coaster Simulator
Release date: 1997
There are just two reasons to pick up a copy of Hakuhodo's Mad Panic Coaster, in my oh-so-humble opinion: 1) it sports a pretty awesome piece of cover art (see above) and 2) it features some appealingly strange--or maybe I should say strangely appealing--gameplay. Sadly, the latter is pretty flawed despite its rather compelling premise--which throws players into the front seat of an out-of-control roller-coaster car and then tasks them with hanging on for dear life until the end of the level, er, ride. So, how is the gameplay flawed? Well, it's too difficult (i.e., fast) by half, for starters. Also, it's a bit too sloppy, control-wise, to be much fun. Case in point: The only thing you have to do to survive each of the game's 12 stages is push left or right on the control pad at the correct time, but it's often hard to figure out what the correct time is. Should you push left a second or maybe two before an upcoming turn, for instance, or should you do it right as you're rounding the turn? It's never made clear, and as a result you spend a lot of time guessing--and dying--while attempting to master the appropriately titled Mad Panic Coaster. That's too bad, because the game is easy on the eyes (as far as I can tell--everything races by at the speed of light) and ears and, like I said earlier, its survive-an-out-of-control-roller-coaster-ride premise is a pretty enticing one.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts