the Andrew Bailey

Road Rash

In continuing my Twentieth Century escapades, I have bought an old game that I remember playing all the time at my uncle's in the 90s. Have I mentioned that Ebay is great for old stuff like this? I picked this up for about ten bucks.

Road Rash screenshot, with some cars and other bikers

Road Rash is a motorcycle street racing game. The gameplay is pretty straightforward. You start every game in last place in a race of 14 other cyclists, and you race on streets. You need to watch for cars, pedestrians, junk, cops, and even other cyclists in the road. You can crash, and rather spectacularly; most times, you just walk back to your bike and keep going, but sometimes, they game just says it's over.

There is an element of combat in the game. You can kick, slap, and swing a chain at the other competitors. When you do it right, they go flying off to the side of the road (or in front of an oncoming car), where they hopefully crash. Unlike Death Rally, there are no guns. Every so often, there will be a cop. If one happens to drive by while you are not on your bike and moving, you get busted. They will try to make you crash, but likewise, you can make them crash. They don't get back up.

Game progression entails winning all five races in a level. Winning means ranking first, second, or third. You go back to the same five, but the finish line is pushed a few miles down the road. I've noticed that for every level the competition gets better, forcing you to get a new ride. You get money by finishing a race. Full disclosure: I have not finished the game. The city level is really hard. It would be great if all the cars just went away.

The menus are full weirdness. The background music is grunge or punk or some other music genre that I don't care for. The art is definitely full of cartoonish exaggerations. There's the bike shop, and the bar (where most of the action happens). The load/save/option area is called the bathroom.

Because this is from the 90s, Road Rash is loaded with FMV. There's different ones for when you win, loose, crash, get busted, and advance a level. The win ones are somewhat confusing as to what's going on. In all, there aren't that many of them, and they get old fast.

Another interesting thing about this, is that it's made by a little known company called Electronic Arts. It is unfortunate that the EA of today would probably not make such a risque, attitude-showing game like this. But that's OK, because in continuing tradition of late to resurrect old genres and ideas, this, too, has been resurrected. Road Redemption, a spiritual successor of sorts, was successfully Kickstarted some months ago. I contributed. It should be coming out around August. They only hit one stretch goal, so they shouldn't be delayed that much, if any. I'll be playing that for sure when it releases.

Posted under Gaming.

You can't complain about this anymore. It's perfect!