View Single Post
Old 12-12-2008, 03:32 PM   #1484
Joe Redifer
Joe Redifer's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Road Rash

3DO games always had horrible boxes that resembled the
old way music CDs used to be sold. Although this version
has a warning about mature themes on the box, the Sega CD,
Playstation and Saturn versions are rated K-A, age 6+. A
game like this would get at least a TEEN rating these days.

Road Rash started on the mighty and powerful Sega Genesis and spawned two sequels. Then the 3DO system was released for $699 US dollars (which is well over $1,020 in todays dollars) and EA was preparing the franchise with a complete reboot ala Batman Begins, but redressed in 3DO graphics and sound. Most the old characters are here and the courses as well. I remember the day I picked up Road Rash for the 3DO very well. Fellow forum member Vic Viper called me up excited as could be, informing me that Walden Software had just gotten their shipment in. Since I had off that day, he told me to pick up his copy for him as well. I drove way up to the store in my mighty brown 1984 Ford Tempo and got the games. When I got home I played for a bit and was then called by United Artists Greenwood Plaza about a projectionist job I had applied for. I went down and was interviewed and hired on the spot. This job would end up changing my life both professionally and personally forever. I drove from this job to my old job and put in my two weeks notice. After that I drove home and ate. I think I then drove up to fellow forum member Vic Viper's house with his copy or maybe he drove down to my place. Whatev. I can't believe my brown 1984 Ford Tempo survived all of the driving that awesome day.

Typical screen in Road Rash. Why does one way only
get one lane, and the other way gets three? WTF???

Story: 10/10
When you think "Road Rash", you automatically think "epic writing". This incarnation of the game is no different. The evil Road Rash Empire has an iron grip on the world. A rebel army, led by Teflon Mike, tries to organize a coup against the Road Rash Empire, but fails time and time again. Meanwhile Slim is brainwashed by Rhonda and takes on the persona of a Dark Knight. He is put in charge of the mission to build a giant Warship for the Road Rash Empire, which is based in the city of San Fransisco. Pearl now decides to send some random youths and Slash to San Fransisco to stop the building of the Warship. When they arrive they overhear rumors that the Dark Knight has been called back to the Road Rash Empire, and Bose Jefferson has taken his place as overseer of the Warship project. However, Bose is sloppier than the Dark Knight, and the youths manage to sneak in via the sewers. However, the Dark Knight is waiting for them and informs them that the Warship is already complete; he and Bose escape on it. They strafe several cities and kill many people. Before leaving San Fransisco, the three youths pick up a pass that the Dark Knight leaves behind. This pass grants entry into a motorcycle race in which the fate of the entire universe will be decided. Great stuff! This story is so hot that fans have drawn the characters in a manga/anime style and even own wall scrolls of them!

That is an innocent pedestrian that I am running over there.

Graphics: 7.5/10
The graphics are pretty good for the 3DO, and that was a system not really known for anything particularly outstanding. It featured tr00 scaling so obviously it was quite badass. The game ran around 20 frames per second or so, but in 1994 that was way s00per badass. The graphics got really blocky when things got close, but thanks to a certain popular system called the SNES, blocky graphics meant "awesome hi-tech". This game was like living in a lucid dream. There is plenty of draw-in in the distance, but it was never really distracting. The menus and characters were all drawn/painted/whatever with a warped, exaggerated style, a great sense of humor and in a very high resolution. All of the characters and objects during the actual gameplay are digitized Mortal Kombat-style from real photographs and whatnot and are all 2D sprites. This makes the graphics a bit worse as a result, but they are still better than Mortal Kombat simply because it's not Mortal Kombat. There isn't a lot of variety in the racing environments. You have a ciy with buildings of a few different colors and open spaces, all very California-esque. There is also an oceanside. That's about it, really. You have many different tracks to choose from, but they all share textures for their environments. The environmental textures are not digitized like the 2D sprites are.

Road Rash rubbers. Under "All new" it says: "Stop the rash.
Wear the rubber". Remember, this game is rated 6 years +.

Sound 8/10
To me, the soundtrack of this game just screams "the 90's". That might be because it was made in the 90's. Many 90's grunge/rock bands from the fantastic music label A&M Records have their music represented here. No other labels were permitted to participate because they just couldn't measure up to the level of absolute perfection that the 3DO multimedia entertainment system demanded. Anyway, most of the music is actually quite listenable and even starts to grow on you. I really think this music adds to the game. The licensed music only plays during the menus and FMV portions of the game. Strange MIDI-esque type music generated by the system plays during the actual races. That music is OK... it isn't offensive or anything. The main complaint that most people have is that the licensed music doesn't play during the races. To me, it works just fine this way. If licensed music played while you race you'd quickly get bored with it and I don't think it would be as fitting. The sound quality of the songs is a tad muffled since it is streamed with limited bandwidth off of the disc, but still somehow manages to be in stereo. The game purports to be in Dolby Surround, and the whine of the engines and the police sirens actually do come out of the surround speakers when appropriate. This game has many hilarious sound effects like hitting other riders with a club. Every scream and grunt is limited to about a half-second (at most).

Getting hit by a blocky car sucks since it can completely
end the race in an instant.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
The gameplay is almost exactly the same as the Genesis versions. You race, you fight, you buy new bikes, the tracks get longer with each new level, etc... In the "Schmooze" section that you can enjoy between races, other characters will either berate you or give you some good advice. However if you fight these characters during the races, they will no longer give you advice and will instead fight you and try to defeat you just like the Playstation defeated the N64... embarrassingly. The one new thing added to this game is the branching paths that show up occasionally. These don't really add much to the game except a little variety. There really isn't much to the game play here. But it is quite fun to play if only for the cheesiness factor and the over-the-top corny violence. The loading can be slow and each time you move the cursor on a menu screen it has to load. This can be aggrivating but this is really as bad as the game ever gets. It's just so fun to run over the pedestrians who wander the city streets for no reason whatsoever (including grannys with walkers). They even fight back... or try to. I do like how this game does not take itself very seriously and that helps me enjoy it even more. I have a hard time enjoying games that are really full of themselves (**cough** MetalGearSolid series **cough**). The newer, 3D versions of the game pretty much ruined the series (especially that gawdawful N64 incarnation) so we haven't seen Road Rash in a long time. Hopefully someone like Criterion will make a new Road Rash that is worth playing.

Here's some Road Rash clips I made for you. In stereo! Enjoy.

The intro, beginning a race, some race clips, and a few different FMVs.

Other versions:
This game was ported to the Playstation, Saturn and even the Sega CD. How do they stack up? Well the Playstation version is probably the most faithful to the original 3DO version. But the graphics are now in 240p (the 3DO was a 480i-only machine). The graphics during the game don't suffer as a result, but all of the menu screens seem much lower-res. The engine sounds are a bit louder and the loading times are a touch longer on the PS version as well. Let's not forget the eternity it takes the average PS game to save to a memory card. The Saturn version is also in 240p, has slightly worse-looking FMV clips than the PS and 3DO versions but the gameplay runs at faster, smoother frame rate. The in-game music has changed and is now more quiet and more bizarre. I don't like it. The Sega CD version looks like the Genesis cartridge versions but with the digitized sprites. It is also the only version to play the licensed music during the actual races, though they sound really muffled and in mono. The graphics bear absolutely no resemblance to the 3DO orignal except for the grainy low-res menus and the super grainy FMVs. But at least it saves and loads faster than the Playstation version.

This game hasn't aged particularly well (kind of like your mom), but still remains a pick-up and play classic to this day (also like your mom). Recommended (not like your mom).
Joe Redifer is offline   Reply With Quote