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by Aaron Vark - October 28, 2015

Mad Panic Coaster - PlayStation (1997)

Japanese PlayStation Cover

You know the mine cart riding level from that one 3D platformer? Imagine that as a whole game. Now imagine it going incredibly fast. That's basically Mad Panic Coaster in a nutshell.

Mad Panic Coaster

The game was published by Hakuhodo in 1997, an advertising agency in Japan whose only other game is the RPG Himikoden: Renge. The developer of this game is unknown, as the only company shown before the intro screen is Hakuhodo. However, given that Himikogen: Renge was developed by Chime Corporation, it is unlikely that Hakuhodo actually developed Mad Panic Coaster.

In Mad Panic Coaster, you control a boy and a girl (perhaps a brother and sister?) as they sit in a roller coaster car and go through 15 hellish roller coasters. How these roller coasters even got past safety testing is unknown, as they don't have any rails or barriers of any sort. It's up to you to steer the roller coaster car using the d-pad to make sure it stays on the track. The roller coasters also have various monsters, traps, and jumps to avoid. To do this, you use X to jump. Hitting Square will make the girl throw some sort of yellow ball projectile that explodes at a long range, while hitting Circle will make the boy throw that same type of projectile at a shorter range. Falling off the track or getting hit by something will cost you health, and once you run out, you must start the level all over again. Once you make three laps around the track, a rainbow with the words "lucky" form around you as they come to a stop, and you move on to the next level. Every three roller coasters, a boss will be fought after completing the third lap. This boss is similar to the regular enemies, except that they take many more hits to kill. To defeat them, you has to either throw enough projectiles at them or survive another three laps.

The levels take you through a plethora of locations, ranging from scary castles to the ocean to Wonderland to the inner cities. Each roller coaster has its own unique enemies, and while the game may move too fast for you to see these enemies in close detail, pausing can show that a lot of work went into these details. Most of the game is contructed out of polygons, but the boy and girl are sprites, allowing them to appear more expressive than PS1-era polygonal characters would typically allow. The music, while slightly limited in terms of variety, is fitting for what goes on in the game, consisting mainly of instrumental thrash metal and hardcore punk tracks.

As mentioned before, Mad Panic Coaster goes incredibly fast, but sometimes too fast for its own good. You barely have any time to react to half of what's going on, and just mashing the attack buttons can sometimes be the best strategy. When there's a jump coming up, it's usually signaled by a few rows of guitars along the track. While this is fine for the first few levels, eventually the guitars go by so quickly that you may not even notice them. Something such as maybe a red triangle with an exclamation mark would probably be a better signal. You will also die an excruciating amount of times, and the fact that you have to restart the level after you die does not help matters. However, the levels can be memorized to a degree, so with enough practice you can get through them.

Mad Panic Coaster feels like it was meant to be an arcade game, like one of those motion simulator cabinets. The fact that the game gets cheaper with the difficulty as it goes on, culminating in a bullet sponge boss fight and a disappointing ending with the two siblings (?) at the beach, and the way it considers health and continues, it may have been designed that way. To that extent, Mad Panic Coaster is somewhat flawed, but there is an appeal to all the crazy action that goes on, and there isn't really a single game that is like it.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Hakuhodo (?)

Publisher:

  • Hakuhodo

Genre:

Themes:


Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)

Mad Panic Coaster (PlayStation)


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