Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Developer Rare was known for a number of Nintendo Entertainment System video games it produced, such as Solar Jetman and especially Battletoads. Following the success of its isometric racing game R.C. Pro Am, they used a similar engine to create a like-minded title with boats instead of cars. The result was Cobra Triangle, a single-player racer featuring a speedboat conquering some action-packed levels on treacherous rivers.
The player controls the sleek-lookin’ red Cobra-class speedboat, using the B button to accelerate and the A button to fires its cannon, with the directional pad obviously steering. Yes, this vessel is packing firepower with an onboard gun that will be put to heavy use throughout the missions. The Select button utilizes a power-up, using a sliding scale similar to the game Gradius: There are certain tokens that can be collected on the stages, and collecting them advances the selection on the bar of power-up choices (Turbo to speed up, Fire to increase number of rounds cannon can fire at once, Missile to upgrade the gun, Speed to enable faster firing, and Force to grant a force field along with health power-up) until the player hits Select to activate the current highlighted power-up.
Cobra Triangle has twenty-five stages to beat, each of which has an objective. This may range from placing first in a race against other boats, collecting and disposing of mines, collecting certain items, rescuing people, or others, and every fifth level has a boss creature that must be defeated, such as a sea serpent or giant shark, the final boss.
The gun can be upgraded multiple times until it is launching multiple heat-seeking missiles, which will come in handy for the boss monster bouts. In addition, the Cobra begins each life with a twelve-point health bar that is depleted when shot or hitting obstacles. Appropriately, the speedboat handles smooth and slippery, and gamers used to road racers may take some time to adjust to the distinctive feel.
This video game looks pretty good; though, rather than emphasize the details, instead the cartridge showcases the smoothness of the action animations and how fast-paced this game plays. It is not as though the bosses are especially impressive, or the level designs are really brilliant, rather the simple strength that the gameplay progresses without a hitch.
The levels, for the most part, actually do not have any background music to speak of until the boss portions, or until time is running out (around 20 seconds) on the time limit, at which point a hurry-up tune begins to play. The sound effects are good, and you may recognize some noises borrowed from other games, like the electrical arc buzzing straight from Battletoads. The various tracks and sounds are well-done, but also not overpowering, serving rather to complement the gameplay instead of overshadowing it.
Cobra Triangle is a neat little video game. Even though the objectives change throughout, the overall point is very straightforward: Take control of an armed speedboat and race fast down the water track while blasting everything in sight. This is a simple yet enjoyable pursuit, only ruined by the occasional rather difficult portion that might be sandwiched between two segments you found to be a bit easier. Nonetheless, a playable, beginning-to-end quest is presented, and handled in fast-flying fashion. For a quirky concept that offers an action-oriented challenge for would-be boat jockeys, Cobra Triangle shoots down three and a half stars out of five.