Mach Rider is a 1985 vehicular combat racing video game released on home consoles and coin-operated arcade units. HAL Laboratory developed Mach Rider and Nintendo published it for the Nintendo VS. System and the Family Computer (FC or Famicom). The game was originally released in Japan, but the arcade version of Mach Rider received a North American release the same year. In 1986, the NA at-home version was released, followed by a European release in 1987. Over the years, Mach Rider has been ported to and re-released on several Nintendo consoles including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.
Unfortunately, Mach Rider still hasn’t received a Nintendo Switch port. This is somewhat surprising since the Nintendo Switch is the current Nintendo console. Not only is it the most recent console, but it’s also proven to be one of Nintendo’s most popular consoles. Since Mach Rider has received a port or re-release for many Nintendo consoles, it’s shocking that the Switch still doesn’t have it.
Fortunately, modern gamers can still find playable versions of Mach Rider online. RetroGames.cz has the NES version for free. Players can play the game right on their browser with no download required. RetroGames is a great resource for other classic games like EarthBound, Streets of Rage 3, and Gradius. Other websites have playable versions of Mach Rider too. Players can use ArcadeSpot or Free80sArcade to play Mach Rider free online. Google has several options for gamers to consider. Any interested party should do their research to decide which website host they want to trust.
Due to the age of the game, a lot of the information about Mach Rider’s reception has faded over time. Today, gamers still enjoy this classic racing game. 90% of Google users claim to like Mach Rider. Nintendo’s willingness to re-release the game for so many consoles over the last 40 years speaks volumes for how much gamers love this game.
Mach Rider Premise
Mach Rider, like many other games of the time, focuses mostly on gameplay. Most games in the 1980s and even into the early 1990s didn’t have a lot of time to flesh out a complicated plot or characters. Most games didn’t have a save feature and functioned on a Game Over system. Once they ran out of lives or failed their objective, players would receive a Game Over and be booted back to the beginning of the game. This usually meant that developers were more concerned with a simple idea that would amplify their gameplay aspects.
To Mach Rider’s credit, it did have a fleshed-out premise. The game takes place in the year 2112. In this future, evil aliens invade the planet. These invaders ride Quadrunners, vehicles that they use to get around. The player will come in contact with these Quadrunners frequently because they are one of the most common enemies in the game.
Players control Mach Rider, the title character. Mach Rider uses a powerful motorcycle to move from area to area in search of human survivors. During Mach Rider’s quest, he runs into numerous enemies and obstacles that he has to destroy. Fortunately, his bike can make quick work of most enemies thanks to the guns mounted onto the front of it.
The game features some advanced gameplay mechanics for the time. Players can move Mach Rider’s bike from side to side to help avoid obstacles or destroy enemies, but that’s not all the bike does. In addition to having a machine gun mounted on the front that players also control, players can shift the bike’s gears to make Mach Rider speed up. The bike has four different gears that will grant speed boosts the higher it goes. Trying to stop while in a higher gear will result in slower acceleration, so players need to get familiar with how the bike moves and operates to conquer the game.
Players score points by destroying obstacles, killing enemies, and blocking incoming enemy attacks. Mach Rider features four different courses and modes. These courses include the Fight Course, Endurance Course, Solo Course, and Design Mode. The Design Mode is an incredibly cool feature because it lets players design their own courses to race on.
Mach Rider Main Characters
Mach Rider doesn’t spend a lot of time fleshing out a detailed story. Likewise, it doesn’t really focus on developing characters either. The game focuses almost entirely on the actual gameplay. Players play as Mach Rider, the title character and the main protagonist of the game. The game doesn’t give much about Mach Rider’s character away. He is a motorcyclist who uses a super-powered motorcycle to fight Quadrunners. Mach Rider is also searching for human survivors to save from the alien invasion. This seems to be his primary goal as he moves from sector to sector. The game reveals nothing about his personality or even what he looks like under the motorcycle helmet.
Mach Rider Titles in the Series
Despite Mach Rider receiving so many Nintendo ports and re-releases, it didn’t spawn a franchise. The only sequel Mach Rider ever received was an arcade-only game called Vs. Mach Rider. Mach Rider has made cameo appearances in other Nintendo projects over the years, though. The game may not have a proper sequel, but the gaming world will never forget the character.
The Mach Rider Series:
- Mach Rider (1985)
- Vs. Mach Rider (???) – Vs. Mach Rider is a sequel to the original game, but it was only released for coin-operated Nintendo VS. System arcade machines. The gameplay is essentially a modified version of Mach Rider’s Endurance Course.
Other Mach Rider Appearances:
- Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) – Mach Rider appears as one of the trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The trophy claims that Mach Rider has infinite ammo.
- WarioWare Twisted! (2004) – Mach Rider appears in a microgame based on the Mach Rider game.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) – Mach Rider is seen as a sticker of himself straddling his bike. The sticker ups Explosive Damage by bumping the stat up by 29 points.
- Mario Kart Wii (2008) – Players can unlock Mach Rider’s bike as one of the usable vehicles. Mach Rider doesn’t make an appearance himself, though.
Mach Rider Cheats, Exploits, and Cheat Devices
Mach Rider came out during a time when cheat codes were almost like a gaming industry standard. Many games couldn’t be saved, so players needed to complete them in a single sitting. If they received a Game Over, they’d have to start the game over from the beginning. This is somewhat hard for modern gamers to imagine. Over the last few decades, gamers have grown accustomed to long-story games or online, live-service games. Having to restart the entire game because the player died seems absurd nowadays, but back in the 1980s, players usually had a certain number of lives or a time limit before they failed.
To make getting through games easier, developers often created cheats, exploits, or deliberate bugs that would make beating the game easier. This allowed players to play the game as it was intended without any help or, if they knew how to cheat, utilize exploits to make their experience simpler. Today, some developers still include intentional cheat codes, but they’re fewer and farther between.
Mach Rider does have a few cheats that players can take advantage of, but they aren’t as abundant as some of the other games of the time. Many games featured codes to jump around the game, give the player more lives or invincibility, and even auto-complete certain challenges. Mach Rider doesn’t have all that, but it does have a free continue cheat and a cheat for a free hidden power-up.
Cheats for Mach Rider (NES Version)
If players reach Stage 6, 11, or 16, they’ll be able to continue the game if they receive a Game Over. This prevents them from having to restart.
GameFAQs user Dugongew described this cheat as simply as possible. This is Dugongew’s recount of how this cheat works: “If you have reached Stage 6, 11, or 16 before you get a Game Over, holding B and Left while pressing Start on the title screen will allow you to continue at that stage. Make sure you do it quickly because your progress will be deleted if the game advances to the demo play. This code works between game modes as well. For example, if you reach Stage 11 on the Solo course, you can use this code to begin at Stage 11 in the Challenge course.”
Hidden Power-Up Secret:
If players can unlock this hidden power-up, they’ll gain partial invincibility. Dungeongew describes this cheat on GameFAQs too: “To trigger the hidden power-up, you must finish the level after destroying exactly 3 barrels on the side of the road and filling your shot meter to at least 180 by bumping enemies off the road. (The numerical value of your shots is not visible, but it starts at 80, goes down by 2 whenever you fire a shot, and goes up by 16 every time you block kill an enemy (push them into an obstacle). So if you fire 3-6 shots, you have to kill at least 7 enemies by bumping them into barrels).
“This power-up grants you partial invincibility: most hazards will have no effect on you, and you will no longer slip on ice. However, you can still be killed by the flying bomb projectiles, hitting a barrel on the side of the road, or being hit from behind by an enemy. Dying this way will cause you to lose the power-up.”
Pro Action Replay & Game Genie Codes
Mach Rider does support a few powerful cheats for players that have the Pro Action Replay cheat device or the Game Genie cheat device.
Pro Action Replay Cheat Codes:
- Infinite Lives: 0000 6304
- Infinite Energy: 0000 5D02
- Infinite Bullets: 0000 5F50
Game Genie Cheat Codes:
- Infinite Lives: SZISZL
- Infinite Bullets: AIZKXZ
- Won’t Lose Energy from Driving: SXAZSG + SXAZNG
- Won’t Lose Energy from Crashing: AETLUY
Mach Rider Cheats FAQ
When Googling “Mach Rider cheats” or just “Mach Rider“, most of the FAQ results are irrelevant to the game. There are a couple of important questions, though, so let’s take a look at them.
What are the controls for Mach Rider?
- Left and Right on the control pad: Steers Mach Rider’s bike from side to side.
- A Button: Accelerates the bike.
- B Button: Fires Mach Rider’s machine gun. Bullets from the machine gun will destroy enemies and obstacles.
- Up and Down on the control pad: Shift gears on Mach Rider’s bike. The bike has four gears.
Is Mach Rider a female?
No, Mach Rider is a male protagonist. In the original Mach Rider game, the protagonist always appears in his motorcycle gear. He never takes his helmet off, leaving his appearance, gender, and any other defining features up in the air. In the Vs. Mach Rider game, an arcade-released sequel to Mach Rider, every time the player beats a level, part of a picture would reveal itself. If the player unlocked the entire picture, it showed a female character holding a dagger standing next to Mach Rider’s bike. This led many players to believe that the title character, who most gamers believed to be male, was actually female. This, however, is not the case. Since then, Nintendo has always referred to Mach Rider with male pronouns.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©HIDEFACES / HAL Laboratory / Nintendo.