Road Rash by EA, took the mechanics of motorcycle racing which had been laid down by such hit games as Super Hang-On and Pole Position and added a healthy dose of ultra violence to create a fun illegal cross country biking experience, which was 2 player – (taking seperate turns).
Road Rasher’s took turns competing in and attempting to finish in the top 3/4 places in every race to proceed to the next level up. As the game progressed, the opponents got quicker, fought harder and the tracks were longer and faster.
By finishing in the top three you were given a certain amount of dollars which increased considerably as the levels progressed. This money allowed the player to buy repair and buy faster bikes and pay police fines should the law catch up with you.
The game was split into racing stages on different American locations : Sierra Nevada, Pacific Coast, Redwood Forest, Palm Desert and Grass Valley.
What made Road Rash stand out from your average motorcycle simulation was that; aswell as straight racing, you could play dirty by knocking your opponents off of their motorcycles.
You did this with either your fists, or a stick, which you stole from another competitor or pickup off of the road – during the race. Of course, your opponents could also knock you off your bike aswell.
You had a health meter which went down as you either hit obstacles or got hit by other competitors. When your meter got to zero your bike was trashed and you were out of the race. Your opponents also had health meters which got larger as the courses got bigger. To knock an opponent from his bike, you had to reduce their health meter to zero. Either that, or they hit an obstacle such as a car and went flying.
The landscape featured parrallax scrolling, a basic form of gravity/dynamics and twisting, turning courses. These were full of hills, traffic, road signs, trees, houses and even livestock as obstacles.
Added to this was the local Sherrif Department who was out to stop the race and if he hits your bike you’ll end up “busted” with a hefty fine from your race earnings.
The most memorable thing about Road Rash had to be the music on the Amiga. A chunky guitar riffed driving track which played on the title screen – as the game loaded. Showing the Amiga still had it when it came to sampled music capability.
The gameplay was interspersed with loading screens which introduce you to some of the other Roadrasher’s including : Sergio, Sledge, Ikira, Viper, Shiva, the hot Natasha and your Arch Nemesis – the annoyingly perfect number 1 : Biff. All would impart wisdom, some giving you hints and tips for the coming race.
Also featured is – O’Rourke and Leary, the two troublesome police officers out to make a collar on you and the other Roadrasher’s, handing out some “stay on the right side of the law” advice.
Road Rash was a gem in the Amiga collection and was one of those games which you always went back to. As a motorcycle simulation, it wasn’t that realistic but all of the fun was had punching and whacking your opponents off of their bikes and laughing as they tumbled off down the road into the distance, in your wing mirrors.
The game was ported to a number of other formats including Mega Drive. Sequels folliwed, which were basically just souped up versions, featuring more race locations and different weapons but none really captured the fun of the Amiga version.
Vid courtesy of Cubix55