Road Rash

Sega CD

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

Over on the ill-fated 3DO, "Road Rash" is a classic, one of those games that not only played great upon release, but also is still a blast to put in today. Of course, the series started on the Genesis and here it's made its way to the Sega CD. Though it borrows the aesthetics of the 32-bit version, the gameplay is just like it was on the cart.

The game delivers a wide array of selectable characters, each one with various attributes and starting cash. You can race in either the "Thrash" mode or "Big Game." The latter is the heart of "Road Rash," the closest thing this series will likely ever get to some sort of career. You can purchase new bikes as you progress through five levels (always the same courses) while creating both new alliances and enemies. Sadly, 2-players must alternate. The split-screen action on the Genesis has been removed.

Unlike the first polygonal edition of this series, this game has not aged well at all. The scaling effect is archaic and there has been no attempt to take advantage of the additional hardware power provided by the Sega CD and the only major change is the soundtrack. Even the sound effects have been lifted from the cart.

It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't affect the gameplay so much. Choppy scaling causes cars to just pop-up right in front of a rider and the loose controls (also the fault of the graphics engine) only make it harder to dodge. On the horizon, it's impossible to tell an opponent from another vehicle. Even if you take the time to memorize the courses curves, you'll still find yourself behind the pack through no fault of your own.

Though the courses have the same names, they look nothing like those on the 3DO. An attempt hasn't even been made. The city is nothing more than a building every 60 feet. Since there's nothing to run into on the sides, it makes it much easier to dodge by providing a new escape route. Colors are bland and it's almost impossible to tell one course from the next. The only positives are the menus which are pretty much made the translation intact and video clips which actually look decent thanks to the limited color scheme.

This is one of the first games to really use licensed music and it fits perfectly. It even plays during the races, replacing the gaudy tracks used on the 3DO. As mentioned above, the sound effects have almost entirely been lifted from the cart (especially the pitiful police siren), but they do serve the game well for the most part. As a bonus, two music videos are available and are exclusive to this version.

Of course EA wasn't the only one to just upgrade their old games on the new format, but this one had potential. It's not so much an average game as it is a disappointment. So many companies (especially Core) took it upon themselves to push the hardware, there is absolutely no reason why EA could not. You can see a great game hidden here is only the scaling effect was smoother. This is the perfect example of a missed opportunity.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 09:14 AM