For this weeks #ThrowbackThursday I’m going to re-visit one of the most notorious games of my childhood and that my friends, is Road Rash.
This game was the first game that introduced me to purposeful violence and by that I mean, one of the main objectives of the game was to cause harm to another racer. I’d experienced Mario bopping mushrooms on the head, and even purposely knocked bikers off in Excite Bike but in both of those games that type of ‘violence’ is absolutely voluntary. And that’s why this game in particular became quite notorious in my house due to its violent nature.
Road Rash almost seems like any other super bike game from it’s box art, but you’ll soon notice that the guy in black isn’t actually trying to save his buddy in red from falling down, he’s actually doing the opposite – he’s pushing him down. Road Rash is a super bike racing game but the races aren’t at a race track, they’re illegal street races, and you must win by any means possible and as soon as you start the game you’ll soon realise what that means.
The games simplicity is what appealed to me, you had to press A to brake, B to accelerate and boost, and then C was used to punch, kick, and grab weapons from the opposing players – yes, there’s weapons involved. It’s not like modern day super bike games where you have to actually consider how you control your vehicle. The aim of the game was fairly simple too, try to get in the top 3rd or 4th position without wrecking your bike, or getting busted by the cops. At the end of each race, if you managed to make it that far you earned cash which in turn gave you the ability to repair your bike, buy weapons, buy better and faster bikes, or pay off the cops when you get caught.
The main appeal of this game for me as a 10/12 year old was the combat element, as I mentioned before, for me this was one of the first games that had a main objective to harm other players to essentially win the game and I thought it was brilliant (much to my Mums distaste). The sound track was also a selling point for me too, it’s always stuck around in my head, in fact the title music is in my head right now.. According to Wikipedia – “The original Mega Drive/Genesis games featured a Rob Hubbard soundtrack. Later Road Rash games were among the first video games to include licensed music tracks from major recording artists in gameplay.”
Throughout the 90’s seven different games were released, Road Rash, Road Rash II, Road Rash 3: Tour de Force, Road Rash (by 3DO), Road Rash 3D, Road Rash 64, and Road Rash: Jail Break each of which were almost on completely different platforms, the two I remember are the first two, and both of those were on the Megadrive.
Since then,three of the Road Rash games have been released on the EA Replay collection for the PSP.