Archived Pages from 20th Century!!
|Reviewed by: Chris McMullen|
|Category:||Arcade Racer||Released:||December 1996|
|Platform:||Windows 95, also on 3DO, Saturn, Playstation.||Version:||Release|
|Multiplayer:||Up to 8 via Modem/Serial, IPX, TCP/IP.|
|Graphic modes:||320x200x256, 640x480x256|
|Controls:||Mouse, keyboard, joypad|
|Sound devices:||Most Win 95 supported cards.|
|Computer||Memory||HD space||CD speed|
While various trends have come and gone, one single solitary fact has remained
embedded in the psyche of generations.. that fact being.. 'Bikes are cool'.
Not the pedal powered mountain bikes that you buy just because
they've got 1042 gears, and only ever end up using one of them.. but motorbikes,
heavy metal monsters, the demons of the road. At least that's the general sentiment
in Road Rash the hardhitting arcade racing game from Electronic
Arts. You get to sit in the saddle (virtually at least) of some of the
meanest monster machines this side of Clive Sinclair's C5 junkyard.
Roadkill at 3 o'clock..
But from what I've said so far, you might be thinking that Road Rash
is a sim. Wrong. Road Rash doesn't offer you the
chance to fine tune your suspension, or chose from 20 different tyre types,
a la F1GP2. And in my book, that's a good thing. While some
folks get a kick from fine tuning their virtual vehicle's performance,
I'm off the starting grid, and driving the wrong way round the track before
you can say 'Oh my god aaaaaaaagh lookoutttt'. Hey, come on.. what's the
point of multiple camera views if you can't at least cause a few pile ups?
I fart in your general direction, officer of the law.
But I digress. Road Rash does let you trade in your bike during the course of the game, but apart from that, it's hardcore arcade racing all the way. And things can get real nasty. In Road Rash you take part in a number of illegal races on roads across the USA. Once you hit the road, it's a free for all.. you can punch, kick, and generally lay into the other racers to get ahead. Don't have a proper weapon? Just grab one off one of the other racers. But they're just as mean, and they'll be trying to do the same thing to you.
And since Rashing isn't exactly legal, no-one's bothered to clean up
the tracks. As well as the other bikers, you'll have to fight off
the cops, avoid pedestrians, cars, cones, and practically
every other obstacle you could think of. You can use these to your
advantage though; if you're being harassed by a racer, kick him into the
path of the nearest car, and watch him take a tumble. There's no room
for courtesy in this game; only the first three rashers to the finish line
qualify, and you'll need to qualify in every one of the five races, if you
want to progress to the next level, where things get a lot harder.
Pick a bike. Any bike.
If you do hit the asphalt, it's not the end of the world; this is virtual after all, and you can get up without a single broken bone, head back over to your bike, and continue the race. But unless you're far ahead of the pack, you're bound to lose a few placings, and you'll damage your bike. Trash it, and you're out of the race, and quite possible out of pocket.
You start off with the basic 'rat' bike; a none too powerful effort, and while
it'll let you keep up for a while, as you progress through the levels, you'll
find that the other bikers become better equipped, and if you don't get a better
bike, you'll always be bringing up the rear. Fortunately, you can use your
prize money to buy a new bike, from a selection of about twenty, including
Sport Bikes, and Super Bikes. The latter comes with a 'nitro' booster, which
you can use up to ten times in each race, but it's a lot harder to handle the
bike. And all the bikes handle differently; that super bike that you've been
saving your cash up for might be okay on straight stretches of track, but when
you try to take a fast corner, and find your bike can't handle it, you'll be paying for it. Ouch.
He's behind you!
The graphics match up to the action in Road Rash
; while there's none of the vector based graphics you find in the likes
of Indycar and F1GP2, the sprite based graphics in
Road Rash look very good. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they
were better than those in many 'sims'. Why? Well, because in all the proper
racing sim games, the 'speed factor' has never been quite right. The speedometer
has told me I'm going at 150 MPH or a similar velocity, and yet the scenery and
track seem to amble along like I was driving a milkfloat.Road Rash
on the other hand manages to provide a real feeling of speed, as you
belt along the track; just try and avoid that car as it comes towards you. Now
try doing that while someone's trying to wrap a chain around your neck. Stunning
He's going to feel that one in the morning..
The SFX are no less impressive; there's a collection of outstanding music tracks that are played as you traverse the various game locations, though oddly during the actual race, you just get bog-standard non-rock music. Still, the tracks are well worth listening to. And to cap it all off, Road Rash comes complete with an excellent Windows 95 theme. Win 95 themes allow you to customize your desk with all sorts of sounds, backdrops, animated cursors, and screen savers, in one go, just by loading the theme module. Themes are in fact about the only good thing about Windows 95. Except that the themes program doesn't come on the Windows 95 CD. You have to get the Win 95 Plus pack separately, for an extra 34 quid. I mean, what could be more fun than bunging all the decent utilities that should have come with Win 95, and selling them separately? Marketing coup, or blatant customer-screwing rip-off? I favour the latter.
After that blatant bit of Microsoft bashing, I'd better finish off this review,
before I end up writing nasty mails to Bill Gates. Road Rash
is a corker of a game, and I really can't find anything at all wrong
with it. Road Rash
excels in every area, providing a real challenge to even the most
road-hardened racer; and for once, the other racers aren't complete infallible..
they'll make mistakes, crash into cars, and happily kick you when you're
down. If you have even a passing interest in racing, or if you're just looking
for another gaming fix, you really can't afford to ignore
Road Rash. Great stuff.
|Appeal:||This'll appeal to racing fans, arcade junkies, in fact most PC gamers.|
|Originality & Storyline:||It's pretty original as far as racing games go.. bikes and lots of luvverly violence..|
|Graphics & Video:||Great artwork, and in-game graphics..|
|Audio:||Excellent music tracks, but the actual race-music isn't as good.|
|Longevity:||A while.. there's loads of different tracks and bikes, and then there's multiplayer mode.|
|Presentation:||Great.. different game modes, save + load options, and buckets more. There's also a Win 95 theme included.|
|Packaging & Docs:||Covers all you'll need to know.|
|Bugs & Problems:||Drops out to Win 95 occasionally.|