With Zapper defeated, all the hostages (damn, look at all those tiny sprites!) come out to celebrate, alongside OK Joe's family.

I love a happy ending, don't you?

You're also told the total of your six area lap times, indicating how much of the 24-hour deadline you'd chipped into, at it's at this point we get to pull out a surprise quiz on you- did you figure out why the deadline doesn't matter at all? I'm not gonna say it. Use your noggin and you can figure it out. In any case, from here the game just loops, and apparently does so without end- a quick try on Capcom Arcade Cabinet's Casual Mode (which we'll see in a moment) got us to a third loop of the game, so you can pretty much stop there.

The game doesn't seem to have a credits roll of any kind, but The Cutting Room Floor lists credits hiding in the game code, with the note that it's formatted correctly so perhaps there's a way to see it in the game itself. One thing I know for certain is it's not done by beating the game in one credit- I did that in the Casual Mode run and got nowt. Anyway, of the names there, the most notable is probably Tokuro Fujiwara, who worked for Konami briefly before leaving to join Capcom, working on some of the early arcade games including this, Commando and the Ghosts n' Goblins series, then working on a veritable ton of their home console games including Demon's Crest and Goof Troop, before leaving to form Whoopee Camp to make the Tomba games, then coming back to Capcom again. There's also Chieko Ryugo who did a lot of work in the Mega Man Battle Network series, and Shinji Kuchino who worked on several classic CPS-1 games including Forgotten Worlds and Final Fight. If there is a way to trigger this in-game, I sure don't know it, sadly!

Anyway, it's time to end on the traditional HIGH SCORE TABLE TIME!!!

With Joe's family saved, The Speed Rumbler's been defeated. Quite a ride, huh?

I have a big ol' soft spot for The Speed Rumbler, and much like Iron Tank, I think a lot of that is down to the controls, because it's all about the feel of the car itself. Swerving and dodging with this little jalopy is just so much fun, it feels really fluid and satisfying as hell when you swerve past oen of the giant rigs, dodging three enemy cars at the same time and, occasionally, making the enemies swerve into hazards themselves. That's the big draw with this one, and even though it's a driving game without a steering wheel, it works so well! The other elements added in work pretty well too like the shooting, and picking up hostages can be tricky when you're surrounded but it's a neat spin on the standard power-up collection system.

All that said, one thing that may be off-putting- and it was for me as I replayed it- is the difficulty. The Speed Rumbler is hard. There's a lot of one-hit kill enemies and hazards, and the odds can feel overwhelming at times, especially since enemies can nudge you into hazards too (and they will, a lot). There's rarely a moment when the screen isn't covered with gunfire, and more prominently, the collision detection is skewed against you, especially when it comes to cliffs and water, as even lightly brushing against them is death. The fact that enemy cars can also blindside you by appearing from the sides to ram into you makes it even harder, and was the primary reason I gave up in one of the ports' Score Attack modes! When the game isn't kicking your ass though, it just has the right feel of movement and combat to make it worth persevering, but even I lost my rag at some points (that bloody Armed Port!).

Ultimately, if you enjoy a challenge that sometimes oversteps the mark, you should absolutely check out The Speed Rumbler, and if it sounds a little intimidating, one of the ports we're going to talk about has a mode that tweaks the collision detection and other elements to make it fairer (after writing this, I had to play through this mode a few times just to settle down after the 20th failed Armed Port run, you know). I'm jsut glad that Capcom didn't forget it completely so it could show up in some of their retro collections! So, with the difficulty in mind, take The Speed Rumbler for a spin someday, why don't you.

And now, it's that time, folks!

Home ports now, and oh dear, this is the part where we know there's a home computer version but we have to skirt around it because we're so comically bad at getting home computer games to run in emulation. Except this one. The Speed Rumbler's sole home port before the Capcom Classics Collection rerelease was for the Commodore 64, developed by Lyndon & Associates, and it's... Not really a port at all. I mean technically it's The Speed Rumbler, in that it is a top-down driving-shooting game, but all the level designs and enemy placements are totally different. I mean, it works but it's not really a proper port. One for the super-curious only, really, unless you're just gonna watch a longplay (which also has a bonus cracktro!). I really don't have much to say about this one...

... No, far more interesting is the fact that there was a cancelled NES port! Well, it's unknown how much work was done on it, but it certainly was advertised by Capcom at some point, scans of which can be seen on the LostLevels Database (the second of which advertises Makai Island, which was released in Japan as Makaijima but the localisation was cancelled) that says it was part of the Captain Commando Challenge Series... Which is the label the Commodore 64 version was released under as well. How it would've turned out is anyone's guess- depends on whether they had Micronics lined up for it, hoo-whee! There was also apparently a cancelled ZX Spectrum port too, and I can only imagine, only dream how that could've turned out.

The game's first 'proper' home port (read: emulation by Digital Eclipse) was in in Capcom Classics Collection Remixed for the PSP, again by Digital Eclipse. The first PSP Capcom set, it's essentially a rejig of the two home CCC sets, taking all the non-Capcom Generations games from CCC1 and adding in every title from CCC2 minus Eco Fighters, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Tiger Road, Trojan and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. This port is decent enough, but similar to Avengers it's done in by the screen size. You can, at the very least, play the game vertically by flipping the PSP on its side, and there's a few screen options such as having your score and health on a separate status bar to the side. As a nice extra for The Speed Rumbler fans, however, is that the music player contains an exclusive remix of the Area 1 & 4 theme, Sharp Shooting! If the VGMDB page for this album is right, this was made for a promotional CD distributed at E3 2006, so the only way to hear it (as well as remixes for 1941, Strider, Street Fighter, Side Arms and Black Tiger) is to either get that CD (good luck) or buy this set

Afterwards- yes, it turns out the portable version came first- the PS2 and Xbox as part of Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2. You know, the same set that included Avengers which is where I've pinched most of this text! I'm currently unable to vouch for the quality of this port, however, as I collected all my retro sets on the Xbox... And the Xbox version of CCC2 was never released in PAL territories, as the system was considered 'dead' over here when it was released in 2007. Typical. No, of course I'm not still annoyed about it, why would you say that? Not even now this text is copy-pasted. Nope. No sir.

In both the aforementioned collections, you can unlock a couple of things:
Gameplay tips - score over 20,000 points; artwork - beat Area 3 - Stone Hill; music player - beat the game.

Finally, if you want to play The Speed Rumbler the best way, then it was included in Capcom Arcade Cabinet, a Game Room-style 'buy the games you want' deal for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. It's ported by M2, grand masters of emulation (see also: Sega 3D Classics, the Konami Rebirth series, Mushihimesama Futari 360) and they know how to get things done. This version is faithfully emulated and has online leaderboards, fully customisable dip-switches, a gallery with unlockable artwork, a training mode to practice previously-beaten stages, and a 'casual' mode which changes many of the rules of the game (including but not limited to tweaked collision detection, keeping items after you die/clear a stage, starting each life with a Gun and Hammer upgrade, and much stronger shots) to make things easier. Honestly, if you struggle with the normal mode, Casual Mode might be for you, especially since you can tweak it to only add in the rule about keeping your equipment or tweaking the unforgiving collision detection. Finally, it lets you select either the Japanese or International version, if you're that fussy. Because of the distribution method, you need to buy the base Capcom Arcade Cabinet game first, then either buy it separately for £2.69, as part of the 1985-II pack which also includes Commando and Savage Bees for £6.75, or getting the whole package, plus bonus games Vulgus and 1943 Kai, for £16.99. However, it's definitely worth it, as this is the version of The Speed Rumbler to play.

This version has unlockables too:
Beat the game for the first set of artwork, then play for 30, 60, 90, 180, 240 and 300 minutes to unlock more artwork.

And that's the tale of Joe, the Speed Rumbler. Ride on, you road avenger, you!