I was thrilled when asked to choose this month’s game. Being my first selection, I wanted it to be a game that was personal to me because it was something that I owned or borrowed as a kid. After comparing my list to the back issues of Yokoi Kids I was down to two choices, one of which was Motocross Maniacs. I played each game for a bit and then I heard something that made me choose Motocross Maniacs, which I’ll get to in a bit.
This was a very early title. It was the first of the Ultra Games for Game Boy and only the second post-launch title release overall in North America. It was also one of the games that my parents got my brother and I when we first got our Game Boys. The racing has lots of jumps and there are different power ups, including the hidden jet pack that can only be found by doing a flip in certain locations. There are also mini maniacs that can be found this way that follow you around but don’t actually do anything. You can play two players via link, race against the computer, or race alone. Ultimately, you’re just racing against the clock, as you will get a game over if time runs out and it doesn’t matter if you lose to the computer (something I did not realize as a kid). There are ten tracks that repeat across three difficulty settings (i.e., you start with less time to complete the race). Ultimately, management of your nitros and mapping out the course to make sure you get power-ups, especially time boosts, without losing too much time is the key to winning in the later stages.
Short, simple, repeatable, and very difficult as you start with less and less time. Good music and satisfying sound effects help round out the otherwise limited game. I give this game a B. If you normally play via emulator or 3DS shop because of cost, this is one that you can get physically. A loose copy of the physical cartridge itself can be had for less than $10.
Now, as I said earlier, I heard something in this game that made me select it. While racing on Motocross Maniacs track 4, I heard something that sounded extremely familiar.
Recently, I have been listening to a lot of NES OSTs while working. One series that is frequently in my rotation is the Mega Man series. To me, the stage 4 music sounds exactly like the intro to Gravity Man’s stage in Mega Man 5. I know Capcom is never shy about “borrowing” music, names, likenesses, etc., but to do it from their rivals at Konami!? As far as I can tell from my brief Google searching, I might be the first person to notice, or, more importantly, to care about this. Anyway, hope you enjoy. –Pete (@dmachetto on Twitter)