Biker Mice from Mars [import] review

  • Fun for a while
  • Fight music
  • Punching cats in the face
  • Racing is broken
  • Fun doesn't last long
  • Face-punching gets old

Konami’s 1994 Biker Mice on the SNES was not a bad motorbike racing game. It’s a shame, then, that the racing element is the one part of this new DS game that’s entirely broken. You steer left and right on the 3D course with the D-pad, while holding down A to accelerate and B to boost. Note: boost is a Martian word meaning “achieve speeds it’s impossible to steer at.”

Making subtle moves with the D-pad is unfeasible, which is especially annoying on levels where you have to avoid multiple rows of landmines laid by the evil cat monsters. You chase these feline foes - they’re called Catatonians - throughout the racing levels, and destroying them gives you extra seconds of play time, seconds you’ll desperately need in order to make up for the atrocity of the steering controls. The only up-side is being able to pick up two kinds of missiles, each mapped to a shoulder button, which you must use to blow up the cats. Nice.

Luckily, the racing only minimally intersperses the main segments of the game - a side scrolling mice-fight-’em-up, revolving around their mission to stop the cats from getting the Regenerator (a poorly named plot device created for the new cartoon series). The fighting’s actually quite fun, in a one-button press, always as much health lying around as you need sort of a way. You can’t skip to the end by slipping past enemies either - all must die before you can progress. The sound effects of the cats dying is enjoyably ghoulish, with some levels echoing the “miaaooooohhhoow” noises eerily in our ears even after death. But, as long as you can jump to avoid certain fiends, you’ll only ever need to use A to face-punch your enemies.

There’s a nice range of human and feline enemies, all with different abilities and ways to be killed, and encounters with each kind are built up carefully until you find yourself stuck on a screen with 10 different foes attacking you in 10 different ways. Again, a lot of well-timed jumps and pressing A will get you through this without any bother, but there’s enough variation to make this passably satisfying. No, it’s not great, but is a briefly amusing distraction. You know, we don’t want to be catty.

More Info

Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Racing


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