Presented by Dsheinem
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For this month’s Together Retro, we’ll be playing 1991’s premiere motorcycle combat game: EA’s Road Rash.
The basic gameplay of Road Rash involves winning races over long stretches of highway while doing bike-to-bike combat with other riders in the race along the way. Players have access to clubs and (in later entries in the series) other types of melee instruments that can be used to unseat their opponents. At the same time, they must be careful not to get hit themselves and to learn when it makes sense to stay and fight and when it makes sense to try and pull ahead. There’s also passing cars to dodge, some tight turns to navigate, police bikers to contend with, and other dangers along the way. As races are won, players earn money that they can spend on various upgrades, bikes, and other enhancements to help them in subsequent races.
Some ports of the game also feature a two player (turn-taking) mode.
Road Rash was created for the Sega Genesis and later ported to the Amiga, the Atari ST, the Game Boy, the Game Gear, the Game Boy Color, and the Sega Master System. The game also appears, along with its first two sequels, on the PSP compilation “EA Replay”. The ports often offer interesting variations of the Genesis original, though the basic gameplay of each is the same.
It should be noted that there can be some title confusion with the Road Rash series, as the 1994 game of the same name which first appeared on the 3DO and was later ported to the PS1, Saturn, and (sort of) Sega CD is actually a completely different game and not a remake or a re-release.
Road Rash was wildly successful and spawned an entire franchise. Road Rash II and Road Rash III (both Genesis exclusives) built on and largely refined the experience of the first game and added new weapons, tracks, and other gameplay tweaks. The series saw a “reboot” of sorts with the launch of 32-bit consoles and, like the 1991 original, 1994’s “Road Rash” (also known as “Road Rash 3DO”) saw multiple ports to other consoles and to PC. There were also subsequent Road Rash games released for the PS1 and N64, and the series saw diminishing returns in both critical and popular success as the 21st Century began.
Earlier this year, Dan Geisler – one of the lead designers on the Road Rash series – indicated that he is working on a new game that is related to Road Rash
If you’re participating in this months stroll (and punch fest) down memory lane, the Racketboy community wants to hear about it. Join us on the Together Retro forums to let us know if this game has aged well for you or if it only serves as a reminder of how far the genre has come.