Up next for RetroBear are more technical problems, an ancient arcade conversion, one of the most popular board games in the world turned into a computer game and two of the most notoriously bad C64 arcade conversions. Cover your eyes and ears as this will not be pretty…..

Oh no - not WEC Le Mans AND Enduro Racer !!!

Thursday 14th April 2011


I am not looking forward to the next batch of games considering that it contains two absolute all time C64 nightmares. At least that is what legend says, after all my opinion may differ from those who have gone before me. We shall see as Day 2 of the Commodorathon commences….



4 attempts to load and using 2 different tape machines. Sadly it won’t go beyond the loading screen which is a damn shame as I remember this as being awesome. It goes on the pile to revisit later on in the quest.




By taking the role of Lee you have to battle evil martial arts forces at work. Through a variety of screens and levels (15 in total), the aim is to simply clear out the bad guys as quickly and sustaining as little damage as possible. There couldn’t be a more simple premise to a game. You are armed with kicks, punches and on occasions possessed by magic allowing you to kill the bad dudes from a distance. You can also jump between platforms to get those enemies higher up, or the ones you missed lower down.


Sounds simple enough doesn’t it ? Well sadly that is the main problem with the game. It is far too simplistic (and was simplistic by 1987 standards) to offer any long term play and becomes quite dull, tedious and repetitive in around 30 minutes of game time. In fact that’s probably the best way to play the game. Graphically it’s average, the sound below average with a grating tune throughout. You get a really underwhelming gaming experience.


As with Return of the Jedi (Game 5 in this Commodorathon), the fault really lies with the original arcade game. It was more colourful but was incredibly average. Nothing at all makes this stand out from the crowd. Shao-Lin’s Road is not the path to choose when looking to revisit a retro beat ’em up unless you are really, really pushed for choice. Go for International Karate + instead.


GRAPHICS : 5/10 – OK for their time if on the blocky and average looking side
SOUND : 3/10 (MUSIC) 3/10 (FX) – The music grates and the effects are below par

PLAYABILITY : 5/10 – Easy to pick up but just as easy to put down

LASTABILITY : 5/10 – There are enough levels to keep you busy but boredom will set in


OVERALL : 5/10 – About as average as a game can get.





This is a very long game to load via tape so you can probably guess it crashed on loading. It’s on the pile for another time with the other games….




The ever popular (in some households) board game comes to the humble C64 and the old tried and tested format doesn’t change one bit. Well except for a slightly annoying, dart throwing (watch the video) big nosed quizmaster with the David Gower haircut. Aside from that it’s a case of answering the questions, collecting the wedges and winning the game. You can play alone (if you are sad like me) or have up to six friends playing at the same time. The game also comes with two additional question banks to load in if you want to exercise the grey matter even further.


This could have been something incredibly trivial (pun intended) and despite a few of the questions being a little out of date with today’s standards, it is actually very good fun indeed. The whole thing whips along at a nice pace, and if you can stand the main character (who can be switched off) making all sorts of sarcastic comments then you will definitely enjoy this. It’s not an essential purchase but certainly one of the better examples of the fad of taking popular board games and making computer games out of them.


GRAPHICS : 7/10 – Colourful enough and solid enough without being spectacular

SOUND : 4/10 (MUSIC) 4/10 (FX) – Some of the questions are music based so the C64 does have trouble coping and most of the tunes I heard sounded like they could have been played on a Major Minor musical toy. Simple sound effects throughout

PLAYABILITY : 7/10 – It’s Trivial Pursuit !

LASTABILITY : 8/10 – Plenty of questions on tape and the option of having friends round to play.


OVERALL : 7.5/10 – A damn good effort and a welcome departure from shooting/punching things.





Fancy taking part in the world famous 24 hour race ? Well you won’t get the chance in this game but it at least tries to tempt you in with the promise of some Le Mans style racing. Pass through three checkpoints and record the fastest lap time possible. After that things get a bit darker simulating the night stages of the race.


When this was released a lot of column inches were written about just how poor a game this was. The car handles like a bar of soap, the computer controlled cars home in on you, you become trapped on the curb on corners, the trees and road signs seem to move onto the track, the scroller bars to simulate speed appear to go backwards and the track seems incredibly tight. After all that it’s hard to actually find something good about this game. Well the title sound track is pretty awesome.


The original arcade game if anything was TOO fast. It’s not often Konami missed out with their arcade games but this was one that should have stayed there. Not uncovertible by any means, but it was a task too far for the programmers here. In all honesty this racer should have been left in the pits because that’s not far off what it is.


GRAPHICS : 4/10 – The car looks OK but the rest of the graphics are drab and unimaginative

SOUND : 8/10 (MUSIC) 3/10 (FX) – Corking soundtrack. Poor in game effects.

PLAYABILITY : 3/10 – The car handling is atrocious and sometimes the odds seem stacked against you

LASTABILITY : 5/10 – Given how unfair it can be, there might be a small challenge to be had but this is not one you’ll be reloading again and again


OVERALL : 3.5/10 – An all round below par, shoddy and badly presented game. One of the worst racers on the C64, especially if you consider the quality of Pitstop II released 4 years earlier !





Get your motor running and take part in some crazy cross country bike racing. Leap over jumps, avoid boulders in the road and race to the checkpoint as quickly as possible to continue. Complete all the stages to become the number one dirt bike rider in the world ! (Well I had to make it sound exciting – think Hang-On but from a more vertical position)


This had two things missing from Sega’s original arcade machine – the giant bike you sat down on and the feeling of speed. This version has neither of those things, and thus the biggest selling points to this arcade conversion are missing. In fact so much are they missing you wonder why Activision splashed out on the rights as this, along with another of their home conversions for the C64 Afterburner, and it becomes simply another bike game.


But oh no, not just another bike game, a REALLY BAD bike game. There is no sense of speed, collision detection is optional, you pass through the other bikers as if they aren’t there, everything is lagging 5 seconds behind your controller movement and the only point of the game is to simply beat the clock so you can go to the next stage. After the rather nice title screen and music things go downhill rapidly and stay there.


GRAPHICS : 2/10 – Laughable by 1987 standards, the bikers look more like Police Training cyclists than dirt racers

SOUND : 5/10 (MUSIC), 1/10 (FX) – OK soundtrack but the usual feeble bike effects

PLAYABILITY : 2/10 – Bordering somewhere between unfair and unbelievable – as in “I can’t fucking believe that just happened”

LASTABILITY : 1/10 – Absolutely no replay value whatsoever


OVERALL : 1/10 – As legend has it – a total travesty of a game which should be burned.



So there you go – as bad as I thought it would be. It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t been gutted to the point of despair that neither Batman or Run The Gauntlet loaded. Still as Mrs B points out I am dealing with technology that’s about 30 years old. Oh well……


Up next : Green Beret, Rampage, Arkanoid, Quartet, Wonder Boy & Slap Fight – loading fails permitting of course.