When the Sega Master System was launched in the mid-1980s one of the debut titles was Hang-On, the exciting port of one of the best arcade racers (of the time). Fans embraced the game's fast-paced action and solid controls; it was a perfect example of the type of experience we wanted from our 3D racing games. Enduro Racer ignores everything we learned in Hang-On and creates a racing game that is mildly entertaining, but not as good as what has come before it.
Enduro Racer is a lot like a cross between Hang-On and the NES classic, Excitebike. Instead of being 3D (or even 2D), the game uses a strange isometric angle that can be a little confusing, but ultimately manageable. Despite the different camera angle, you control Enduro Racer exactly as you would Hang-On or any other faux-3D game of that era. You can't really move in or out of the screen, but you can dodge things left and right, which is something ... I guess.
Outside of the different look all of the fundamentals are the same. There's a timer counting down and it's your job to get to the end of the race before time runs out. This is the goal no matter where you are, be it on the grass, dirt, or any other generic locale the game throws at you. Each level has a couple of different paths, but they are generally right next to each other and almost exactly the same. There's traffic to contend with and a number of large jumps that you can catch some air with, but there's something slow and sluggish about the game that drives you right back to far better racing experiences.
It's easy to see why there aren't more games like Enduro Racer, the camera angle is kind of awkward and you never get the sense of speed you would with games like Hang-On and OutRun. And to make matters worse, the game isn't much to look at ... even when compared to other 8-bit games. It's nothing but repeating obstacles, all of which have very little detail to their name. To make matters worse they just seem to be strewn about with no real care, it's almost as if the levels were generated at random. Sadly they weren't, so there goes that excuse.
Enduro Racer is not the worst racing game on the Master System, it just seems unnecessary with far better motorcycle racers already on the system. The levels aren't different enough to keep you interested and without a multiplayer mode there's not much replay to speak of. If you're persistent you'll find some fun in Enduro Racer, but it's a long hike getting there ... one you might want to think twice about taking.