3D racing games have come a long way on the GBA.
At the 2003 E3 conference, the Majesco Games booth had
a preview of a working title using their brand new Voxel
3D Engine for the GBA. From that brand new 3D engine,
they bring you the "valueware" ($20 USD Retail)
off-road racing title "Quad Desert Fury".
This is a bare bones racing game with some really
nice eye candy. There are only 2 game options - quick
race (to test and familiarize yourself with the game)
or challenge (where you try to beat the game from start
In quick race, you get to choose one of the seven
tracks available and do a single race. Races consist
of 3 laps against 3 opponents. As the title suggests,
QDF is off-road checkpoint racing across vast and varied
terrain with turbo and land mines found along the way.
Each track is based in the same world, but the tracks
checkpoints are laid out in different and more challenging
ways as you go along.
In challenge mode, your objective is to win the race
to move on to the next. There are 7 races in total to
be beaten. Unfortunately, there is no save feature,
so you have to play from start to finish if you are
going to take the challenge. Once you've beaten the
challenge mode, that's it, which is quite disappointing.
There are no bonus games, tracks to unlock, or new vehicles
Because of frame rate issues, it is very difficult
to play this game with complete control. At times, the
quad reacts oddly, either over-steering or under-steering,
especially when trying to react to the bumps in the
terrain. When this happens, it's very difficult to correct,
because by the time you change direction, it's almost
always too late. Although the game does control reasonably
well most of the time, there are still lots of little
frustrations along the way, due mostly to the slow frame
rate and resultant lag in control. One good thing to
note, however, is that QDF allows you go almost anywhere.
There are no boundaries, no limits... because of this
feature, there are multiple ways to get you to your
This is where QDF shines. The highly detailed 3D
landscape is beautifully sculpted and as I've mentioned,
you're at liberty to go anywhere you want. Your quad
and rider are simple 2D sprites, but they look good
and react properly with the terrain and other vehicles
without any issues. Animation is also good, particularly
when you crash since I found it rather entertaining
to watch as the rider hopped over the quad while it's
in a backward roll.
Unfortunately, however, this beautiful 3D landscape
is a little too much for the GBA to handle, and you
will notice that frame rate and controller reaction
suffer immensely. When surrounded by opponents, for
example, the frame rate drops to a dismal 5 to 10 FPS.
Even when you're the only one on screen, it maxes out
at maybe 20 FPS, if you're lucky. Looks like the Voxel
3D Engine needs a bit more optimizing before it can
be considered a complete success.
Sound & Music
The music is good quality new age rock, quite apt
for an off-road game like QDF. Unfortunately, there
is only one soundtrack. Although QDF doesn't have that
many options, there still is one that allows you to
turn off the music, just in case you get tired of hearing
it again and again.
The sound FX are fairly decent with one exception.
When you hit your brakes, it sounds like a car skidding
on a regular road and not at all like a quad in sand
The Voxel Engine is a good indicator of how great
3D can be implemented on the GBA. Unfortunately for
Quad Desert Fury, the implementation seems a little
rushed, evident in the slow frame rates and lagging
controls. Most disappointing though, is the lack of
features, missing save game option and short game time.
I beat the challenge mode in just under 25 minutes and
in my opinion, isn't worth the 20 dollars they're asking
for it. Still, I'm willing to give QDF 2 out of 5 stars
mainly for the really nice track graphics and the ability
to go nearly everywhere in the game world.