Pretty much a love letter to the classic Road Runner shorts, with many of the original gags recycled for this game, sometimes with new twists. The game did rather well, which led to further video game reimaginings of classic Looney Tunes in the form of Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage, Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, and Looney Tunes Acme Animation Factory, as well as an adaptation of a more modern take with Taz-Mania (Sunsoft).
A sequel to the game, Wile E.'s Revenge was planned, but cancelled when Sunsoft's American offices closed due to bankruptcy. Wile E.'s Revenge would have had Wile E. as the playable character, trying to catch Road Runner.
Not to be confused with Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, developed by Blue Sky Software for the Sega Genesis in 1995, or Desert Speedtrap Starring Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote for the Sega Master System and Game Gear in 1994.
This game has examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: Unlike the Looney Tunes shorts, luck and causality aren't working against Wile E. here (or at least, not until clearing a stage). The player will quickly learn that Wile E.'s crazy inventions in the game can and will take out the Road Runner with surprising efficiency if they fail to avoid them.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: Justified, since the native habitat of the two is the desert with the classic saguro cactus.
- All the Worlds Are a Stage: The last level combines traps and gadgets from all previous levels.
- Anti-Frustration Features: As difficult as the game is, it's not completely without mercy. Losing a life respawns you with at the last flag you touched — with half of your Sprint Meter filled, giving you a much better chance at clearing whatever obstacle just killed you. Continues will drop you back at the start of the current world, but in exchange you get all your extra lives back.
- Anvil on Head: Wouldn't be a Warner Bros.-inspired property without it.
- Astral Finale: The fifth and final world, "Quantum Beep", takes place in outer space. Wile E. has teamed up with Marvin the Martian to recreate the Solid Tin Coyote, which serves as the game's Final Boss.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Each boss machine has to be attacked at a key point to disable it, conveniently marked with exclamation marks on the blueprints Wile E. looks at before the fight. The points usually make sense, such as the base of the throwing arm on the catapult, or the circuitry panels on the crane and drill machines.
- Bomb Whistle: Naturally, for every time the game shows the Coyote plummeting off a cliff. As well as the ending... except he's plummeting from orbit.
- Boss Fight: Given the franchise in question you'd expect the whole game to be avoiding the Coyote and leaving him to his own doom, but the larger boss machines actually work as intended! In these cases the Road Runner has to actively disable the machine before it becomes Coyote food.
- Brawn Hilda: One, dressed in full Viking regalia (including the horned helmet), comes out at the end of each boss level to begin to sing, with the Coyote holding up a sign saying "Not yet" in the first four levels. Maybe if he let her sing earlier, she wouldn't have been the Shadow of Impending Doom that gives Wile E. his final humiliation in the ending.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: After losing his Final Boss fight and falling back down to Earth, Wile. E. Coyote begs the player to end the game before he lands - a callback to the end of Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z.
- Canis Latinicus: In the first part of each stage.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The basic and common checkpoint flag is yellow, uncommon ones are green, rarer ones are red, and the rarest are purple. Rarer flags give more points, but are harder to find.
- Construction Zone Calamity: The second world, "Rock 'N Rivet", takes place in a construction site. The boss of this world is Wile E. in a crane with a wrecking ball.
- Credits Gag: These lines appear in the closing credits:Very Special Thanks To:
(We are not worthy!)
Mike J. Henry
- Death Mountain: The first world, "Zippity Splat", takes place in the more mountainous parts of the desert.
- Death Throws: The Road Runner dies this way, turning upside-down and falling off the screen Mario-style.
- Disaster Dominoes: Successfully completing even a substage involves this hitting the Coyote. It gets epic during boss fights.
- Disney Villain Death:
- Wile E. falls into a canyon after his failed pursuits of Road Runner in Zippity Splat Act 2 and Rock 'N Rivet Act 2, and after he is defeated at the end of Train Runnery Act 4.
- When Road Runner defeats the Solid Tin Coyote at the end of the game, Wile E. falls back to Earth. He pulls out a sign asking the player to end the game before he hits the Earth. Unfortunately, he's not as lucky as he was in the Looney Tunes short; he falls back into the canyon, gets run over by an ACME delivery truck, bombed by the explosives it drops, has the Opera Singer fall on him, and has Road Runner taunt him.
- Doppelgänger Spin: One later level can potentially spawn multiple Wile E. Coyotes in the green bat suit at the same time. No reason for this is ever given.
- Epic Fail: Any time the player completes a stage, expect to see this from the Coyote.
- Every 10,000 Points: Each 50,000 points earned awards and extra life. Each 100,000 awards a Continue.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Though the environments aren't always friendly anyway (a construction site for example), even a circus train of animals has them all attacking the Road Runner.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Each non-boss level has a number of flags in them that serve as respawn points. Finding all the flags in a stage grants an extra life, and collecting enough over the course of the game earns a Continue. Flags are also the biggest source of scoring in the game which also contributes to lives and Continues, so seeking them out is encouraged, because you're going to need them.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Sadly, only done in post-level cutscenes.
- Humiliation Conga: The ending, which might be the most concentrated amount of abuse that Wile E. Coyote ever suffers - caught in the explosion of a Humongous Mecha, thrown out of space, plummeting towards Earth from orbit, driven neck-deep into the ground, run over by an Acme delivery truck, hit with explosives dropped by the truck, stepped on by the Road Runner, watching the Road Runner win the titular race, and finally hearing the fat lady sing... as she lands on him, no doubt quite impatient at having been silenced so many times.
- Humongous Mecha: The giant robot from "The Solid Tin Coyote" is the final boss, complete with futuristic improvements. Somewhat fitting since this was the single one thing from the animated shorts that the Road Runner was actually afraid of, and this time he has nowhere to run...
- 100% Completion: At the end of each level it counts off how many checkpoints you found — if you found them all you get a 10,000 point bonus.
- Invincible Minor Minion: Marvin the Martian in the fifth world. Pecking at him stuns him momentarily by lowering his helmet visor over his eyes, but there is no way to kill him.
- Literally Shattered Lives: At the end of Rock 'N Rivet Act 3, Wile E. jumps into a cement mixer, then comes out covered in cement. He then crumbles to pieces.
- Locomotive Level: The third world, "Train Runnery", takes place on a circus train. The boss of this world is Wile E. in a steam engine that tosses bombs.
- Logo Joke: When you start up the game, the Opera Singer clears her throat as the Sunsoft logo appears.
- Mad Bomber: The boss of the third world, "Train Runnery", is Wile E. in a steam engine that tosses bombs. Road Runner must toss these bombs back at Wile E. to damage him.
- Maniac Monkeys: Circus monkeys serve as enemies in the third world, "Train Runnery".
- Nintendo Hard: Once you've gotten acquainted with the game after the first world, it stops pulling punches. Levels become very large and difficult to navigate, enemies and traps get tricky to avoid, platforming gets a lot harder, and the game becomes increasingly stingy with power-ups and checkpoint flags.
- Oh, Crap!: Disaster Dominoes with the Coyote just aren't complete without this look.
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Featuring the Trope Namer pair; you play as the former and are antagonized by the latter.
- Scary Scorpions: Scorpions serve as enemies in the first world, "Zippity Splat".
- Shadow of Impending Doom: A staple - both the Road Runner and Wile E. deal with it at various points. Of course, the Road Runner, controlled by the player, can potentially dodge...
- Shout-Out: The game is essentially one gargantuan Shout-Out to classic Road Runner cartoons, with nearly every stage filled with some device that Wile E. tried to use in the cartoon, such as the green bat-suit, the rocket skates, the exploding mini-planes, and of course, the infamous catapult. Also with the names of the levels - Quantum Beep, anyone?
- At the end of the game, Wile E. is scared off of the Solid Tin Coyote by the Road Runner in a similar fashion to his second jumpscare in Fastest With The Mostest, and - once entering Earth's atmosphere - asks the player using signs if the game can end before he hits the surface, much like at the end of Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z.
- Snakes Are Sinister: Rattlesnakes serve as enemies in the second world, "Rock 'N Rivet".
- Spoiled By The Boxart: Right on the back of the box is a screenshot of the Final Boss. Granted you'll probably have forgotten about it by the time you get to the final boss, but still...
- Sprint Meter: For immediate bursts of speed, which can be refilled with birdseed.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Of course, the Coyote is going to use explosives. Toy planes manned by grenades and explosive robot female roadrunners are two of the most common.
- Wile E. takes this trope and runs away with it in the third boss fight, where his machine is spewing out bombs constantly.
- Talking with Signs: Including recycling the classic gag asking for the game (in this case, as opposed to the original specifying the cartoon) to end before Wile E. lands. This time, however, his request is denied.
- Taunt Button: The shoulder buttons cause the Road Runner to give a raspberry and to give his trademark "BEEP BEEP." These do absolutely nothing during play... but what would the Road Runner be without them?
- That's All, Folks!: In true Looney Tunes fashion, this is what you get when you either get a Game Over or beat the game.
- Too Awesome to Use: The super meter gives the Road Runner a speed boost and make him temporarily invincible. Unfortunately in later stages bird seed to refill the meter is very rare, and many areas are inaccessible without the speed boost; one lategame stage actually requires you to have some meter for the end. The stage in question is 5-1, where you need the speed boost to clear an otherwise-impossible wall climb.
- Traintop Battle: Stages 3-2 and 3-3 take place on top of a circus train.
- Underground Level: The fourth world, "Hopalong Casualty", takes place in a mine. The boss is Wile E. in a drilling rig.
- The Unintelligible: The Road Runner, who can do his trademark "BEEP BEEP" at the press of a button.
- The Voiceless: Wile E. Coyote.
- Visual Pun: The viking helmet woman who keeps trying to sing after every boss fight only for Wile. E to stop her until the final level where he's ultimately unable to. Essentially it's a play on the saying "It's not over until the fat lady has sung".
- When All Else Fails, Go Right: Mostly averted. Despite the Sonic-esque feel the stages have to them, very few abide by the rule of "go from one end of the map to the other to win". Exploration is encouraged in fact, as many checkpoint flags and power-ups are well-hidden.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer…: The Road Runner's only method of attack against Wile E. Coyote's boss machines is using his beak to peck at their weak points.