Road Rash 64
WARNING: Please understand that I am an avid fan of the Road Rash series. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because you can rest assured that I played the hell out of the game. It is bad because I have a soft spot in my heart for these games so I tend to be more forgiving than others may be. With that in mind, think of Road Rash 64 as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It may be ugly and homely but once you get past that fact, the tree is still a pretty good tree that just needed a little love.
This is the first incarnation of the series on the N64 and instead of the original creators of the series, Electronic Arts decided to license out the name and idea to THQ. Both companies actually worked together on the project in an attempt to keep the games roots to heart. The gang concept was carried over from the PSX version of Road Rash 3D, only scaled back. You will battle your way across 200 miles of tracks to determine if you are the ultimate Rasher out there.
Here is the quick two minute tour of what Road Rash is all about. It is a motorcycle racing game unlike any other racing game out there. This racer is full contact. When I say full contact, I don't mean that you can ram into the other racers either. I mean that you have tons of weapons that you can use if a racer gets too close. A quick smack to the head with a spiked club usually gets them off your back. And oh, yeah, since it is a race, the object is to make it to the finish line in one piece. If you make it one piece, finishing in the top three positions qualifies you on that track and allows you to move on and adds some cash to your bank account, used to buy new bikes. That pretty much sums it up. And, in my opinion, this one of the best series of games ever made.
So what makes Road Rash 64 different from any of the other Rash titles in the past? That is an easy question. The answer is that combat is now the main focal point with the racing almost as a side note. In games past, you would not get in many combat situations and you would normally be the instigator. If a computer-controlled opponent attacked you, it was rare that they would stay and beat on you. He would usually take a shot at you on his way by and head off. Not any more. Now the computer opponents hunt you down and pound you until you fall off your bike. They are just downright vicious. There were times that I just wanted to make it to the finish line so I did everything in my power to avoid fights but they were relentless and just would not leave me alone. It was aggravating during the race but looking back at it, it was also pretty cool.
Another difference in this game is that you are never too far ahead nor are you too far behind. They basically forced all of the riders together in a large group, which is why there was so much combat. I actually thought this was a bit lame because the game is still a racing game but they took out all of the consequences for crashing early on. I knew that if I crashed, it would be a very short time before I was back in the middle of the pack. This was the same with first place as well. I was never far enough in the lead that if I were to crash, I would hold my lead. Crashing was an instant trip to the back of the pack but since it was so easy to catch up, the racing aspect of the game almost got lost.
One thing that did carry over from the last PSX game was the concept of gangs. The PSX version had four different gangs, which were determined by the type of bike you were riding. The theory was that other members in that gang would protect you or at least not beat up on you as much. It was a great theory but I never really noticed a difference in treatment between the other riders. Well, this issue has been addressed in the N64 version. First off, there are two gangs or you can choose to be independent. You have to pay dues to belong to a gang but it is money well spent. I started out playing the first three levels as an independent and then joined a gang and it was amazing how much less I got attacked. See, your gang members really did leave you alone and protect you. It was cool to see this actually working as advertised.
Another neat thing that was added for this game is that after every race, you will see stats for different actions that were performed during the race. For example, it counts up the number of accidents you caused, officers you assaulted, etc. The more mayhem you cause, the better your bonus you will receive. I thought this was really cool. My only complaint with it was that it did not count up points for running over pedestrians. Come on, if you are going to put them out there as targets, let me earn cash for running them down. Also, I thought that the bonuses were a little small (averaged less than $50). If I could have earned more money, I would have been more inclined to start more fights.
One last thing worth mentioning is that while the controls were tight when it came to standard maneuvers, there were times that they just did not feel right. On sharp corners, I was constantly spinning the back end of my bike around. It is really hard to explain the feeling that I got but it is just not right. On gradual corners everything works great.
This game also offers some serious multiplayer action for those who enjoy that type of gaming. The multiplayer modes include Thrash, which is a race against human opponents with up to four players; Laps which allow you to play in special multiplayer arenas for a specified number of laps; Deathmatch, which awards points to players for completing laps and takes away points for crashing a player; Tag, which gives points for crashing the person that is "it"; and my favorite, Ped hunt, which gives players points for running over pedestrians. You gotta like that.
Remember at the top of this review, I said to think of this game as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree? For those of you that have never seen the Charlie Brown Christmas special (is there anyone in the world who has not seen it at least 40 times?), Charlie Brown is in charge of picking out a tree and he picks out the ugliest, most homely tree. Everyone gets mad at old Chuck and says that it is the worst tree ever. After a while, people start to appreciate the tree for what it has to offer, not so much what it looked like. So what am I getting at with that? This game will never win any awards for graphics. It has terrible fog problems, draw in problems, and it is very plain looking. But like the tree, if you look past these physical shortcomings and accept it for what it is (a game focused on fun gameplay), you will be better off. The game does use the RAM pak, but you would never know it.
Being the long time Road Rash fan that I am, I walked away from this game satisfied. It is not the best ever version of the game but it offers up some new twists and still follows the old formula. Look, the graphics suck but don't let that discourage you. Actually, if the graphics bother you, call Nintendo and complain to them about their hardware because that is the problem. All in all, if you are a Rash fan, check it out. If not, give it a rental and see if it fits your gaming style.
Download Road Rash 64
Ordinarily not fans of persistently reoccurring rashes, we're willing to make an exception when the rash in question is Road Rash, one of gamedom's longest-running and consistently excellent racing/combat titles.
Having made the leap to fully three-dimensional polygonal graphics in Road Rash 3D for the PlayStation, the series boasts another first in Road Rash 64--four-player gaming. You and up to three friends can slug it out in a number of all-new race types, including Team Race, Gauntlet, Escape and Pursuit.
Perhaps even more impressive, the developers managed to squeeze Road Rash 3D's hard-drivin' alternative soundtrack--which featured the likes of Sugar Ray, Kid Rock and The Mermen--onto a cartridge! While we're not sure whether or not the entire soundtrack was retained, the fact that they could get even a few CD-quality songs on a cart is impressive and definitely adds to the game's outlaw atmosphere.
Continuing the gang theme established in the game's last incarnation, Road Rash 64 is said to have even more elaborate club interaction, with club invitations and rivalries based on notoriety and performance. As you play through the game's Big Game (Tournament) Mode, you also establish a running rap sheet which details your point total, notoriety and police standing. Kick a little bit too much ass, and you'll become a target of both the police and your fellow road rashers, so beware.
Players now have finer control over weapon attacks; in addition to being able to pummel a foe over the head with, say, a pool cue, you can also stick it in his front spokes for some real fun. Weapons include chains, nunchakus, tasers, lead pipes, tire irons, sledge hammers and mace, among others. Particularly damaging are the hammers, which can unseat an opponent with just two blows, while mace temporarily blinds opponents.
In addition to enhanced enemy Al and improved physics, Road Rash also has new bikes and selectable characters, including cops and biker chicks. The game's tracks have all been redesigned and cover nearly 186 square miles.
While you may have played previous installments of the series, Road Rash 64's new additions, particularly the multiplayer action, make it well worth a look.
- MANUFACTURER - Pacific Coast
- THEME - Racing/Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
On paper at least Road Rash 64 is a great idea. Combining high-speed racing - of the two wheeled variety - with plenty of brutal, arm- flailing combat was always going to sound appealing, and it had the potential to provide the kind of thrills that [Mario Kart 64] (/games/mario-kart-64/)'s disappointing Battle Mode should have offered.
And, for the most part, Road Rash is good fun. But - crucially - it never manages to be anything more than that. It's nippy; the handling of the bikes (from fast but heavy road hogs to lighter, more manoeuvrable sports bikes) is well-judged; and, as well as having ten bikes on-screen, there's a host of pedestrians, police and civilian traffic to deal with. Not bad at all.
And yet, it all seems a little lightweight and uninvolving. Sure, you can raise cash to upgrade your bike - and join gangs if you fancy some company - but the races are awfully short, the tracks aren't as varied as they could be, and everything is unremittingly drab to look at, complete with fog and awkward, primary-coloured riders. And combat is often reduced to nothing more than a relentless stabbing of the C-buttons as you try to knock your opponents to the ground. Although, neatly, you can jam a stick/crowbar/club into the wheels of an adjacent rider, sending them spectacularly flying over the handlebars but you end up losing your weapon in the process.
Sooo, ultimately Road Rash offers a reasonable dose of undemanding shortterm fun. But it's not something that begs you to come back and have just one more go. It's pleasant enough - it's certainly not terrible - it's just that, in trying to offer both racing and fighting, it doesn't really deliver enough of either. And with Excitebike 64, Top Gear Rally and Jeremy McGrath Supercross all on the horizon, it's probably best to save your money and wait.
The gaming classic is finally peeling out on the N64, and the best news for Road Rash fans will be the ramped-up multiplayer action, which will feature four-player split-screen mayhem. THQ's also striving to make the combat a bigger focus than it's been in the PlayStation games, packing more weapons into the fray.
While details are still scarce, Road Rash 64 will feature completely new tracks and environments, as well as a revised set-up for gangs where the player's performance and notoriety will draw invites into different cliques. New modes will expand upon Rash's standard battle-to-the-finish format with challenges like Team Race, Pursuit, Gauntlet, and Escape. Look for the Rash to rev its engines on the N64 later this fell.
Speeding back to the action roots of the original Road Rash for the Genesis, Road Rash 64 looks to be the wildest and most wicked racer/brawler to hit the streets in years.
Road Rash 64 smacks gamers with all the features that wannabe Hell's Angels were shouting for after they didn't show up in previous PlayStation versions of the game. RR64 sports fast-paced motorcycle races for one to four players (it may be the first multiplayer Road Rash that's actually fun!) along with Campaign, Thrasher, and Short Track modes with sub-games like Tag and Last Man Standing. RR64 also features 24 motorcycle models, 2 biker gangs, over 40 rider skins (including cops and meter maids), and up to II bikes on screen at a time.
Racing motorcycles through city streets and country roads is great, but its the bone-breaking crashes and weapons that'll keep riders on the alert. Road Rash 64 slaps fools silly with more than 12 devastating weapons, ranging from a wrench to a pool cue that you can stick in your opponents' front tires to send them flipping out of control, Mad-style.
Four-player racing and bike-busting action could make this the best game in the Road Rash series yet. If you're looking to get both your fists and adrenaline pumping this September, Road Rash 64 could be your ride of choice.
If you ever got bored of the racing half of Road Rashs classic combo of combat and motorcycle races, the series' first N64 version is going to make your day. Exploding at the seams with fights. Road Rash 64 is a frantic start-to-finish brawl that takes full advantage of the opportunity for multiplayer mayhem with two- or four-player split-screen action and new features such as a team race mode. Plenty of weapons, ranging from cattle prods to mace to monkey wrenches, keep things exciting, and the new "spoke jam" move is particularly cool--if you lean over with a dub-type weapon, you can jam it between the spokes of your opponents wheel and catapult them over the handlebars.
Of course, the cops enter the fray...but they can be clobbered just like all the other fools in the pack! Your performance and notoriety on the more than 180 square miles of tracks earn you invites into different biker gangs, and grudges between gangs keep things spicy on the roads. If the unfinished version we played had a flaw, it was the graphics, which had too much fog and a cartoony, youthful style that may turn off Road Rash pros. Still. Road Rash 64 has all the makings of a rowdy good time.
Like pretty much everyone I have fond memories of Road Rash. It's one of those franchises that's kind of lost its charm a bit over the years--but back in the day, on 3DO, it ruled. Oddly, it's taken a very long time for it to arrive on the N64, and it's interesting to see that the focus of the gameplay has shifted away from what we see on the PlayStation. While EA has gradually evolved it into more of a straight racing game, THQ has chosen to focus more on the combat and gang-warfare elements. The race itself seems almost superficial as you batter your opponents with a range of oversized weapons...and as a 'quick fix' game it's actually quite fun. Prolonged exposure to it though reveals that it just doesn't develop as quickly as you'd like. Sure, you earn money to buy better bikes, and you get the opportunity to join one of the gangs (so only half of the pack is trying to kick your ass) but it doesn't seem rewarding enough. The tracks are pretty dull too. There's hardly any attempt at providing alternate routes, and the whole thing almost feels 'on rails.' As a multiplayer game it suffers too. Many of the 'arenas' are far too limited, and if four of you play you can hardly see what's going on half of the time. It's just not fun. The music's pretty cool though...the first time you hear it, you'll double check it's a cart and not a CD.
This feels like Road Rash Lite to me, especially when compared to previous versions (3DO in particular). The sensation of speed is pretty low and the graphics are bland. On top of that the animation looks totally goofball. Multiplayer redeems the game somewhat--four-player road battles are good for a laugh. Unfortunately it's not entertaining enough to warrant a purchase. I can only recommend Road Rash 64 as a party night rental.
It's not terribly exciting, and it's very grainy and blurry. Nothing that Road Rash 64 possesses will excite you--not even the four-player mode can save this game's face. All of the multiplayer modes are boring, because you don't see (and therefore, don't fight) your human opponents that often...even on tracks designed for maximum confrontation). The plain, default race mode is the most fun, and even that isn't anything to write home about.
I don't really mind that Road Rash 64 looks so godawful. The sparse visuals allow more bikes on screen, and RR64 does a good job of sticking lots of bad guys on the road with you while maintaining a decent frame-rate. The one-player game delivers a few intense thrills, even if control seems a bit out-of-control at times (especially when you pop major air or have to make a sharp turn). None of the multiplayer modes held my interest, though.