I was 11 when I got my NES for christmas (which I loved). Within the next year my older brother got the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis). It was a great console whose graphics were much more advanced than the ageing Nintendo.
My bother mostly had sport games for the system. It came bundled with Altered Beast, which was fun for a short whilst but was suited more for the arcade and didn’t have any longevity. However, he purchased the ground breaking Sonic the Hedgehog and imported some great 2 player sports games from the USA like Lakers vs Celtics, EA Hockey and John Madden 92; all of which happened to be developed by gaming giants Electronic Arts.
Another Electronic Arts game he purchased was Road Rash, an iconic motor bike game in which you could run your opponents off the road or beat them up with clubs and crowbars.
The original Road Rash was released on several platforms including the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis), Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, 3DO, Sega Master System and Sega CD. It was even released on the Game Boy and Sega Game Gear.
The game also spawned many sequels including Road Rash II, Road Rash III, Road Rash 3D, Road Rash 64 and Road Rash Jail Break. I’ve played Road Rash II on the Mega Drive and Road Rash 64 on the Nintendo 64. I’m not sure what people consider to be the best game in the series but my fondest memories are playing the original on the Mega Drive.
The original game was only a 1 player yet we used to play it in the living room. It was fun watching others play it as well and we would sometimes race a level each. There was nothing more satisfying than watching someone else get whipped off their bike with a metal chain!
In many respects the game was similar to other motor bike games that had been around before like Hang On. However Road Rash was a lot more fun. You could ram your bike into opponents and force them into incoming traffic or even obstacles like cows. You could also punch your opponents. Rivals had weapons but if you timed it right you could snatch the weapon off them and then use it against them.
It wasn’t just other racers you had to worry about. You also had to worry about the Police. The police would try and ram you off the road as well and if you got knocked off your bike and didn’t get back on quick enough you stood a chance of getting busted which means all the money you earned would be lost.
To earn money you had to finish in a race. This could be used in between levels to upgrade your bike in for one which was faster and had better handling.
You started off with the Shuriken 400, which had 60 HP and weighed 400lbs. Other bikes included the Banzai 750 for $6,500 (100HP and 465 lbs), Ferrari 850 for $11,000 (110HP and 470 lbs) and the famous Diablo 1000 for $25,000 (150HP and 450 lbs).
The game had 5 courses, all of which were set in the USA. The tracks included Sierra Nevada, Pacific Coast, Redwood Forest, Palm Desert and Grass Valley.
Road Rash was by no means perfect but it was an enoyable arcade style racing game which is rightly remembered as one of the best games on Segas best selling console.
What are your memories of Road Rash?