Originally released for the 3DO and ported over to PC, Road Rash was a continuation of Electronic Arts popular Road Rash series, which began its life on the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive back in 1991.
So what is Road Rash, and what warranted six games in the series between 1991 and 1999? Read on, as the answers lie below!
The Road Rash series focuses on the player engaging in illegal motorcycle street-races, somewhat like the critically-renowned Fast and the Furious spin off, Torque. Taking place from a third person perspective, ala Hang On, the game focuses on racing through the illegal street-racing ranks, as you vie to be the best.
As the player, you progress through each level by ranking first through third in various races you participate in. You are also rewarded money depending on your rank, an amount that scales in relation to placement in a race. This allows you to buy new motorcycles from the shop, which you need to compete, as your opponents progressively get better as you proceed through the levels.
So far, Road Rash essentially sounds like your average racing game. However, what separates the title from other games of the time, is that it allows you to attack your opponents as you ride along beside them. You can punch, kick, and ram your opponents off their bikes in an attempt to slow them down. A series of weapons, including crowbars, nunchucks and chains, allows you to do your best Ghost Rider impression, as you race madly down the highway trying to crush all in your wake.
The game also features police officers, who serve a role as third-party antagonists. While picking a fight with a fellow racer may result in you falling off your bike, your back in the race soon after, as you simply climb back onto your motorcycle. Fighting a police officer however runs the risk of arrest, which ejects you from the race, causing you to lose by default.
While the 3D0 release, and subsequent PC port, didn’t strive too far from the recipe that made the Road Rash series successful, it did introduce Full Motion Video sequences to advance the plot as you progressed through the game. While the game was a somewhat simplistic arcade racer, the ability to fight your opponents, and the varied levels within the game, led to a product that was a blast to play. The game especially shined in split-screen multiplayer, as you and a friend could face off in a battle for the road.
Since the last release in the series, a 2003 port for the Gameboy Advance, the series has essentially been killed by Electronic Arts. While there have been rumblings in recent years, including a leaked pre-vis of an HD remake, there has been little news on the continuation of the series. The most serious news regarding the series was last heard in 2011, where EA Games president Frank Gibeau stated that they’ve toyed with the idea on how to bring it back. Otherwise, it looks like the series is dead for the time being.
All in all, Road Rash is a fantastically fun game that I urge you to pick up. Racing through the single player campaign, and especially against friends, is an experience you shouldn’t miss.