Arcade Game #10: Motor Raid
Motor Raid is an arcade-only racing game released by Sega on its Model 2A arcade system board in 1997. In contrast to the realistic style of most of Sega’s previous racing games, Motor Raid uses a futuristic aesthetic and gameplay supplemented by fighting elements. The game’s sound creator is Makito Nomiya and Rikiya Nakagawa is the game’s producer. Motor Raid takes place in the future, in which the player rides futuristic motorbikes across different planets.
The game was released in single and two-player cabinets, which may be linked together to support up to four players. Game modes include “Championship” and “Practice” and there are four playable characters, Geila, Gunz, Io (stylized as I-O), and Robin. In 2018, it was made playable on consoles for the first time via an in-game arcade machine in the Ryu Ga Gotoku (Japan)/Yakuza (outside Japan) spin-off Judge Eyes: Shinigami no Yuigon (Japan)/Judgment (outside Japan). Motor Raid was not ported to the contemporary Sega Saturn or Windows 95.
Gameplay and Stages
As with most motorcycle arcade games, acceleration is performed by twisting the handle, steering is accomplished through leaning the bike’s body left or right, and braking is done by squeezing a lever. As the race progresses, a three-layer turbo gauge fills automatically and the player can choose among three types of boosts: a short blue boost that is ready when the boost gauge fills to 100%, a stronger green boost that requires the boost gauge to fill up to 200%, and an extremely powerful orange boost that can only be unleashed when the boost gauge fills to the maximum level of 300% and will allow the character to knock out opponents. Boosts are activated by waiting for the gauge to fill up and twisting the acceleration handle twice whenever the desired boost type is available.
Players can engage in close-quarters combat in an effort to seize or maintain first place. The primary combat move is to swing a powerful weapon (such as a crescent sword or a “smash-nail” pike) around to knock down and slow opponents. The player can also hold down the button to sacrificially throw the weapon at an opponent in an effort to take their weapon as a replacement, but if the player misses or gets attacked too many times, the weapon is lost. In such a situation, the player can throw a punch or use a permanent secondary weapon, such as a claw or whip, for a chance to steal a weapon from a nearby opponent. Players can kick to hold off opponents that approach from behind, but kicks do not result in knockouts.
Players are given a limited amount of time to finish a race, which can be partially replenished by passing through checkpoints. If the timer reaches zero, the game ends. Finishing a race at a good position may award the player a few extra seconds of time for the next race.
Upon beginning a game session, the player is prompted to choose between four characters and whether to compete in the “Championship” (where the player races on three planets for the top prize) or do a “Practice” run on a course from any of five playable planets (plus a sixth one, Segal, if a cheat code is entered). The player begins each race with the character’s primary weapon, secondary weapon, and a 100% full turbo gauge.
In the “Championship” mode, the player does a two-lap race on the first planet, Yendas, and a one-lap race in two other planets. Which planet the next race takes place on depends mostly on whether or not the player finishes in first place. If the player finishes first in all three races, they will go to the planet Segal for an extra race. If the player finishes first in every race, more about the chosen character is revealed in a bonus ending.
There are five playable planets in this game (plus a sixth, secret one), each with their own unique terrain:
- Yendas: A desert-like planet where the track is typically a loop. The Championship race here lasts three laps, unlike all other planets where the race lasts two laps. If played in Practice mode, the race lasts four laps.
- Ido: A mountainous planet with curves, hills and dips.
- Junos: A cold, snowy planet.
- Reef 8: An Earth-like planet, although it is mostly oceanic.
- Bowel: A hot, volcanic planet with several twists and turns.
- Segal: A futuristic city-planet at night, where only the best of the best Motor Raiders have the right to compete for racing supremacy across the galaxy. Crowds of people can be seen in parts of the track, and a large floating camera drone captures the race action live. Being that it is a secret, extra track, it is a fairly difficult one. It is also named after SEGA and contains a large Sonic the Hedgehog statue wagging his finger.
In the “Championship” mode, there are three stages (excluding the Extra Stage at Segal), and the first stage is always held at Yendas. Finishing the race in first place changes the next stage to a more difficult one than if 2nd or lower place is achieved. The races are as follows:
- Yendas → Junos (if placed 1st in Yendas) → Bowel (if placed 1st in Junos) → Segal (Extra Stage, if placed 1st in Bowel, else the game ends)
- Yendas → Junos (if placed 1st in Yendas) → Reef8 (if placed 2nd or lower in Junos)
- Yendas → Junos (if placed 1st in Yendas) → Ido (if placed 4th or lower in Junos)
- Yendas → Ido (if placed 2nd or lower in Yendas) → Junos (if placed 1st in Ido)
- Yendas → Ido (if placed 2nd or lower in Yendas) → Reef8 (if placed 2nd or lower in Ido)
I’ve never seen this game since arcades in the west have been either phased out or out of business since I used to go to a local arcade as a kid.
That’s it for Motor Raid as it was the final arcade game to be reviewed on Medium. See you on the final post on Medium next week! Samurai Cory out.