Enduro Racer started out life as an arcade machine by Sega; it was a normal racing game like its better known stable mates Hang-On and Out Run. The idea was to ride your dirt bike through the rocky roads pulling wheelies over jumps. It was quite a popular game at the time and saw quality conversions to the home computer market.
Something got a little lost in translation with the Master System version however. The gameplay is played from an isometric angle like Paperboy. Aside from the different angle the idea of the game is the same. You have a timer which ticks down and your task is to race to the finishing line as quickly as possible. Each level has a couple of different paths which merge in and out of each other from time to time allowing you to fight your way around the traffic. There are ramps almost everywhere so you will want to hit these and pull down on the D-pad while doing so to gain some air and keep your momentum going.
You will ride across generic looking levels with grass, desert, dirt, water (which you can sink into!) and finally some mountains. The remaining time when completing a race will award you some points which can be used to tune up your bike’s handling, suspension and so on.
Aside from the various obstacles laid all over the tracks to slow you down there are also other bikes and cars to contend with. If you crash into them it will really set you back. The other vehicles are a real source of annoyance as they just trundle all over the place, there is no feeling that they are trying to win the race, they only serve to get in your way by swerving over your path.
The gameplay feels slow and sluggish mostly due to the strange angle of play, there is never a sense of speed like in Hang-On and Out Run on the Master System. The game is also quite bland with uninspired locales and features which repeat themselves constantly. It’s not to say that Enduro Racer isn’t fun for a short while, but there isn’t the depth available here as you would find with Excitebike on the NES. Our recommendation is to pass up on this; it’s certainly not going to hold your attention for very long like more accomplished racing games.