A new year a new master system game club entry. Although a bit late. Road Rash is a childhood game for me and I even remember my mum buying this for me at a car boot. I was given the choice of having 1 game from this lot (I don’t remember the other games!) the cover looked so different to any other master system game I had ever seen. The blue version for those who are wondering. A long with 2 bikers fighting that sealed the deal that day.
The game itself has graphics really impressed my young eyes and still do today comparing to the mega drive version it’s not far apart! My mum used to own a florist back in the day and this game was one I used to play the most when ever I had to stay with her. The password save is essential. One of my favourite parts of the game was trying my hardest to knock other bikers in to passing cars or eventually knocking out officer o’leary. It gets pretty challenging when the bikes are upgraded. The music is 8 but glory at its finest.
I played RR through on emulator some years back (actually may have been over a decade ago...) and enjoyed it very much. I'm certain I've put it on a Top 20 - maybe even Top 10 - SMS games list.
I particularly liked how different the bikes feel, that they don't simply become faster or generally better as you update to more expensive, so sometimes you'd want to skip a bike because it didn't suit you.
Post by Transatlantic Foe on Jan 13, 2018 13:15:53 GMT
Amazing how close this looks to the Mega Drive version. Music lets it down a bit though - they're tried to replicate the Mega Drive's and it doesn't really work. A few later titles fall into the same trap and should've just composed different tracks better suited to the SMS. Been a while since I played either though, will get the emulator fired up at some point.
Also hills! I think pretty much all the driving games on the SMS are flat, apart from Outrun (weird given how early it was released).
This game is a technical marvel... dare I say masterpiece? Easy to pick up and play, with an inherently appealing concept - who among us doesn't crack a mischievous smile when invited to bash people with fists, clubs and chains while careening down undulating highways at over 100 mph? It's a mystery to me why EA doesn't revive this series. It emerged at a time when EA still had a playful aspect to their nature, even as they were evolving into a ruthless, spreadsheet-driven powerhouse of annualized licensed sports titles.
I first played Road Rash for the Genesis/Mega Drive circa 1998 via the emulator Gens. At that time, either the emulation wasn't yet accurate or I had a corrupted ROM, because the landscape tiles seemed to be glitchy and flickered constantly with bizarre colors. Still, the game was perfectly playable, and in my imagination I changed the title from "Road Rash" to "Hunter S. Thompson's Mescaline Road." I was hooked, and slightly disappointed when a newer version of Gens resolved the flickery imagery. Nowadays I have RR and RR II (my favorite in the series) in cartridge form for my beloved 16-bitter... who says emulation hurts sales?
Now, playing the Master System version for the first time, I'm in awe. I've mentioned before in another thread how much I admire the games by Probe that I've played, and this is another excellent one. Just generally speaking, it seems to me that European programmers mastered and advanced this technique of rendering roads in driving games for 8-bit and 16-bit systems. This road twists, turns, rises and falls in an utterly convincing illusion of depth and volume. And it does so with perfect fluidity. And if you look closely, everything in the landscape tracks perfectly in the simulated 3D space... the lines on the highway, the stripes on the landscape, the sprites that make up the scenery all move in perfect tandem, unlike some other games where the scenery and the road stripes move at different rates. You can even see the scenery is partially concealed behind the landscape when you're approaching the crest of a hill. It's amazing!
It's a satisfying racing experience, and it can also elicit surprised laughter. The AI opponents seem to be equally susceptible to misfortune, and I had a laugh when another rider and I slammed into a car going through an intersection and took flight together. The races seem fair and are forgiving enough that if you crash once, you still have a chance to win or at least place respectably.
I also like the imaginary culture of the Rashers as shown in the game... ruthlessly pounding each other in the race, but seen partying together after each race in various locations. Money is earned fairly slowly so it takes a while to earn enough to buy new bikes, but rather than being frustrating it kind of adds to the atmosphere of a scuzzy underground sport where the pay is low. What a great game!