Road Rash


Review by Matt Paprocki

Electronic Arts


Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

If you spend $700 on a game console, your probably hoping to have something to show for your cash. Enter EA. If you owned a 3DO, you loved EA. FIFA, Madden, Need For Speed, and of course Road Rash were must haves for the early 32-bitter. An update to their gamer-pleasing series on the Genesis, the fully polygonal environments slapped into an immersive eye-pleasing menu system add up to one of the consoles most endearing titles.

You'll have two methods of play once the disc has loaded up (after the necessary stylish FMV intro). The standard arcade mode and the big game mode are both available, which is more a "career" mode if you will. You'll earn money to buy bigger and faster bikes, lose money for repairs, and form slight rivalries with other riders. The menus are uncanny in their unique style, bursting with every color the 3DO can pump out. Licensed music blares throughout, all of it selectable via a jukebox feature.

Of course, a menu system isn't going to make a great game. The fully 3-D graphics engine used to power this one is of course archaic by today's standards, but for the 3DO, it's ranks right up there. The issue is with the frame rate, which is all over the map. This makes controlling your sprite-based rider a bit of a hassle sometimes and may cause a few unwarranted crashes.

This is about the only major knock against an otherwise classic game. 14 other riders will be challenging you for dominance across the games 5 stages. As you progress, each course gets extended by a few miles. Eventually, the courses become a test of stamina more so than simply a test of riding skill. Note that these aren't just closed courses. This is Road Rash. You'll encounter countless vehicles, the police, idiotic pedestrians just asking to be hit, and your "fellow" riders who will stop at nothing to make sure you finish last. Of course you can fight back knocking others into oncoming traffic or even buildings. The crashes are brutal to say the least and getting hit while trying to return to your bike is just the icing on the cake.

Videos accompany nearly everything you do and it must be noted that the design team has a very sick sense of humor. Wrecking your bike brings up a cinema in which you think a driver is coming over to give you hand up but instead moves you into the center of the road so he can keep going. Each of the videos uses an insane color scheme composed of entirely of fluorescent colors and grain is kept to a minimum. While actually racing, you'll be treated to some grating music and engine sounds (which can both be turned off) and it's a shame that more wasn't done here. Otherwise, the presentation is pretty much perfect.

While Need for Speed would completely demolish this games graphical engine, Road Rash has a better sense of style and wilder gameplay. Beating down other riders and crashing into oncoming traffic at 150mph is an experience you won't soon forget. The Saturn and Playstation ports of this game do sport a better frame rate, but it's only a mild increase at that. None of the games support 2-players. 3DO owners would rarely be happier than with a copy of Road Rash.


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Last updated: Sunday, January 30, 2005 05:47 PM