Shockway Rider (Commodore 64)

by Paul Morrison


Someone suggested that to kick off the new A Gamer Forever Voyaging, I should play an unsung classic... a game I thought was excellent, but that not many people will have played or heard of.

What a great idea.  Pity I kind of ignored it...

I'm getting lazy in my old age, so these pathways appeal to me.  The muggers, not so much.

I'm getting lazy in my old age, so these pathways appeal to me.  The muggers, not so much.

Shockway Rider isn't that unheard of, but I suspect it wasn't a widely-played game.  Nor is it a classic, but I did like playing it back in the day. I bought it from the semi-legendary second-hand bookshop in the bus station, where computer games were traded in like you wouldn't believe.  The turnover of games was massive, and you rarely had to pay more than half price for any game that was regularly sold at full-price, even one that was more or less newly-released.

I paid four quid for Shockway Rider.  Isn't it bizarre how you remember stuff like that?  It had reviewed well in ZZAP! 64 and I needed a new game to play, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  Was it four quid well spent, or a waste of pocket money?  Read on and see...

In the heat of battle, player one has lost his head.

In the heat of battle, player one has lost his head.

It's a strange concept for a game.  People no longer walk to get anywhere, they travel on moving walkways.  They're a lot like the flat escalators you find in airports... well, apart from the fact that you're constantly in danger of being mugged.

Yes, seeing as this is the future, almost everyone else is a dangerous thug, out to get you.  Bastards.  Why can't we all just get along?  If you want to reach your destination, you'll need to grab some kind of weaponry from the stationary walkway at the top of the screen and chuck them at any offender who happens to stray onto your level.

Choose an option and he blows a kiss.  No idea why.  Just go with it.

Choose an option and he blows a kiss.  No idea why.  Just go with it.

It's quite a simplistic game, in all honesty, but it's pretty good fun for a while, especially if you've had an annoying commute.  There's a funky little Rob Hubbard tune accompanying the game, and it fits the action really well.  I'm not quite sure what the digitised bloke on the title screen is about... it confused me back in the day, but I've since read that it might be one of the characters from The Warriors movie, which would make a bit of sense.

Shockway Rider does get much harder quite quickly, so whereas it might have been quite dull it becomes a real test of the reflexes.  That said, the action is very samey so it's not well-suited to long gaming sessions.  If you're at a bit of a loose end, though, check it out for half an hour or so.  It should plug a gap quite nicely.