Archived Pages from 20th Century!!

GDR Masthead

Road Rash

Electronic Arts

Reviewed by: Chris McMullen
Author: Papyrus Price: Retail:$44.99 US
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.
ComputerMemoryHD spaceCD speed
Reviewed onP13316M10Mx4


Roadkill at 3 o'clock..

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.


I fart in your general direction, officer of the law.

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?

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.


Pick a bike. Any bike.

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.

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.


He's behind you!

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 going to feel that one in the morning..

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 stuff.

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.

  • Damn playable,
  • Violent + fun.
  • Some great music tracks.
  • You get a real feeling of speed.
  • Needs a fast PC..

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.

Copyright © Chris McMullen for the Games Domain Review, 1996. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission.

[Navigation Bar]