Heavy Rain is a game that has divided opinions here at Gamer Limit. Some of us think it’s a glorified cutscene with obligatory button presses, others think it’s a welcome change of pace and a great narrative-driven game.
Heavy Rain’s influences are vast; movies like Se7en and Saw are easily spotted. Yet there is one gem of a game that hasn’t been praised for being a visionary of its time, and an obvious influence on Quantic Dream’s big PS3 exclusive. I give you: Road Avenger!
Road Avenger (also known as Road Blaster) was an arcade Laserdisc game that brought together cutting edge narrative and fantastic visuals; it really was the Heavy Rain of its day. Ported as a launch title for Sega’s Mega CD system, the game showed what the system was capable of, bringing the excitement of movies to life. Don’t believe me that it rocked? Check out this intro clip, then tell me I’m wrong.
Taking the role of a vigilante seeking vengeance on the biker gang that killed your wife, Road Avenger immediately tugs at the heart strings with its harrowing introductory sequence. From then on, it is a desperate race to the end of each level, getting ever closer to the boss of the gang and gaining revenge for your fallen loved one.
What really set the game apart from other Laserdisc titles was the sheer choice of movement as your car tore around streets, beaches, shopping malls, and country roads. Not only would the game give you the old steer left and steer right, but brake and turbo were also included to give more variation than previous Laserdisc king Dragon’s Lair could ever dream of.
The fantastically deep chase scenes in Road Avenger are clearly ripped off by Heavy Rain; why the current rights holders, G-Mode of Japan, haven’t sued yet is beyond me. Perhaps a Facebook group would be the way to get the ball rolling and have Quantic Dream held accountable for their copyright infringement. Just look at Heavy Rain‘s car chase below, then sample a few levels of Road Avenger. See what I mean?
It seems I’m not alone in appreciation of the awesomeness that is Road Avenger. In January this year it was announced that a novel based on the events of the game is set to be released sometime within the next couple of years. The book is being written by Margaret Park and will be published by MMP Publishing.
With a Heavy Rain novel a distinct possibility, it’s great to see Road Avenger getting in there first for the recognition it deserves. In a recent press release, Margaret said: “The original concept is ‘Mad Max‘ like, so we’ve decided to make ‘Road Avenger‘ a psychological action drama, which will end up like a cross between ‘Mad Max‘, ‘Ronin‘, and Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Traffic‘. Though we are expanding on a simple plotline, we are straying far from the typical Hollywood attitudes that engulf many fine stories.”
I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean “simple” plot – it was probably a typo. Margaret should know her stuff though, since on the same press release she is described as “an Author and Poet of Psychological and Experimental Fiction Crossover Writings, best described as Stephen King partying with David Lynch in The Twilight Zone”. I hear King likes to get down, that must’ve been one bad ass party.
Hopefully this has opened your eyes to what now needs to happen; it’s so obvious I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. Road Avenger must be remade by Hideo Kojima for the Playstation 3, as only the cut-scene king himself could do justice to such a visionary title. Also, only the powerful Blu Ray format (just like the Mega CD before it) could house what is sure to be the future of video games.