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Mach Rider

Episode 026



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Mach Rider is unlike anything we've seen on the console so far. In the episode I come off perhaps a little too excited about the game, but I think I would swap out excited for impressed. It has a Nintendo polish, but feels nothing like a Nintendo game. YOU are Mach Rider in a Dystopian Future fighting the "Quadrunners" throughout the wasteland. What a cool idea that Nintendo hasn't really attempted again.

In many ways Mach Rider feels like a precursor to another currently defunct franchise, F-Zero. F-Zero blew fans away on the Super Nintendo since it was a launch title that showed off the power of the "Mode 7" 3D graphics. While that was impressive, I still think Mach Rider doing it on the NES is even more impressive. Of course, it's not completely polished and is sometimes difficult to avoid obstacles, but I don't think it's so bad that it should be looked down on.

There is enough variety in the modes (Fighting/Endurance/Solo/Design) while still keeping the core gameplay the same that the game remains rewarding to those willing to continue playing. Gear switching is a little useless, but a neat mechanic. And the game comes with an amazing soundtrack for the NES that I keep it on my phone for subway rides. I AM MACH RIDER.

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In the episode, we joked about the message at the start of each level “You are Mach Rider”.  Silly as this is, for an NES game it really does a great job of making you feel like Mach Rider.  There is a flow to the action and the way you handle your bike that gives a feeling of momentum, and actually delivers a heart pumping racing experience.  My only complaint comes from the level creator which never let’s you design more than the shape of your track, which you probably won’t recognize once you play your course anyway.  Regardless of the course creator, this is an excellent game!  Go give it a try… Mach Rider!



I'm kicking myself for not being a part of the vote to put this game in our essential games list. Looking back on it, I'm not sure what I was thinking. This game was made for me. Post-apocalyptic setting? Check. Vehicular mayhem? Check. Wicked awesome soundtrack? Check. Yes, there are a lot of games that have been released since that scratch those various itches, but Mach Rider hangs up there with the best of them. Play this game.


Oh man, just play this one, honestly. I almost don’t want to tell you about it because it’s a badass game and going in blind makes you feel like a real badass. 

Speaking of badasses, Mach Rider is the baddest ass that ever sat on a TOUGH motorcycle in the middle of a post-apocalyptic future, where the two biggest groups are A: all the jerks in the past who designed the dumb highway patterns, and B: the mutant-skinhead-tricycle-driving-skinhead-mutants who you gotta shoot until they explode.

The cool thing about Group B is that they can be whatever your imagination makes up for you. They’re the aliens who destroyed your planet and you want to take revenge on the human race? Hell yeah. The game doesn’t explicitly say what their deal is, so you can have fun with it. 

This game is just cool. You shoot a gun at obstacles and bad guys. You learn how to shift gears to take turns when it’s icy. And if in you collide with a rock or oil drum (or one of those ball things that comes towards you, I still don’t really know what those are), you don’t just fall over like in a normal game. That’s not badass, that’s lame. No, instead your sprite EXPLODES across the screen, and if you still have lives, the exploded parts of your body reassemble you into being. I mean god damn if that isn’t badass. 

This game’s got three modes and then the developers tossed in a course creator because they could. It’s really limited and your courses all kinda feel the same…and they don’t save, but I appreciate the gesture. The first mode is Fighting Mode. This feels the most like a story mode. You choose one of two maps each time you win. The goal is to get as many points as you can as you make it through each level. You don’t have to go super quickly; you can take your time. But the game feels good. And it makes you want to go fast and shoot a bunch of stuff. Sometimes, I feel like I’m fighting myself. I know I’ll do better if I slow down, but that’s lame. 

The next mode is Endurance Mode. In this one, you’re given a set amount of time to travel a certain distance. You still get points from shooting stuff, but it’s more important that you make it to the end of the stage. When the timer hits zero, you start slowing to a stop. There will be some runs where you just pass the target distance as you are rolling to a stop. These are the best moments of this game mode, without a doubt. 

The last mode is Solo Mode. This is just like Endurance, except there aren’t any enemies, so it’s really more about the driving. You can still get points for shooting obstacles though. At first this seems kind dumb, but the more you play, the more you realize that you need to learn how to use your gun defensively as well as offensively. This mode is a lot like a training mode in some ways. You gotta learn how to drive and shoot. You may not be ready for blasting your enemies…yet.

This game requires skill, but it gives you enough room to have fun as you get better at the game. This is something that pretty much every NES game I’ve played has not provided. In a lot of games, it feels like you just kind of keep restarting until you understand the quirks of the controls. But these controls are solid. They’re intuitive, and incredibly responsive. 

The music is just one song and a couple jingles, but that song is so solid that you will get it stuck in your head for days and love every moment of it. There’s also a variant of the song that you don’t hear until later levels, and it will give you shivers because you won't be expecting it. The game establishes a comfort zone with it’s catchy tune, and then it sneaks in some changes on you to mess you up. That’s an auditory psychological difficulty curve. It’s wild. But it’s true. 

All in all, this game is my favorite NES game I’ve played so far. Personally, I put it over Super Mario Bros. in terms of enjoyment. It feels good to play. It’s unique. The art is cool. You are cool. You are badass. You are Mach Rider.