Hey, I remember this! Road Rash was the second game I eer played after buying a Megadr - oops, nearly dropped myself in it there. Ahem, well anyway, it was - and jolly good fun it was too - whizzing around various fictional parts of America on a fast bike, avoiding the police and knocking off anyone who got in my way. Top entertainment. At the time.
And now here we are in Amiga
Road Rash on the Megadrive was accompanied by a stirring tale of competition and confrontation between two mean riders over a girl - they ended up facing each other on a treacherous highway for a ho hold barred race without rules. The girl swooned over the winner, the race was brilliant etc etc, and it was decided that it should be held every year to find the best 'rasher', or some such gubbins. Well, we've all grown up a bit since then, and EA suffice with telling Amiga owners that 'nice guys come last', and leave it at that.
As with any racing game, the aim is obviously to win races, and since we've just been informed that mild-mannered citizens such as ourselves generally come a good way down the field, it's necessary to enter into a little roughness.
We have two basic moves with which to temporarily immobilise our leather-
Depending on which joystick control method is chosen - there are two - either a dab on the Fire button or a qucik push upwards on the stick will see your rider punch anyone within arm's reach.
Similarly, by pushing down on the stick you are able to kick anyone who rides too close for comfort. A particularly well placed punch or kick can see an adversary knocked off his or her bike, but that doesn't mean that they're out of the race - you'll notice them in your rear view mirrors as they scurry back towards their bikes and remount.
Bikes are the ultimate status symbol for types like yourself - you begin the whole shenanigans on a Shuriken 400, the motor
You will therefore be wanting to win some money in order to invest in a better bike, and the only way to do it is by winning races. There are five tracks in all, and despite boasting such varied names as Grass Valley and Palm Desert, they are disappointingly alike in terms of layout.
Beginning always as last in the line of 15 competitors, you must fight your way through to at least fourth place on each circuit before qualifying for the second stage.
Each time you take a fall or if, say, you're careless enough to let another rider knock you off, the energy bar on your handlebars reduces accordingly. Your trusty cycle also has its own bar - if this reaches the bottom you'll find yourself out of the race and likely as not in the knocking shop for some costly repairs.
Everything I remember playing on the Megadrive version is here - the tunes have been watered down a bit, but the colourful and fast-
What about bike speed then? We-ell... there's really no skirting around the fact that it's not very fast at all - this is quite a major problem and detracts form the game in a big way. You see, it's great fun riding around the five tracks punching and kicking as many people as you can, and it's nice to choose a new bike when you've won enough money.
The policemen and women who constantly patrol are a nice addition, and the occasional cow on the road adds a touch of humour. But what we really need from a racing game is speed - if there's no speed it just doesn't feel like a race. And frankly Road Rash doesn't.
I'm still a fan of the game, but I'm not blind to its faults. Couple all the polished elements with the lack of speed and the fact that the later stages are nothing but more laps around the same track, and what you have is an original and fun game that offers not much real challenge and soon becomes boring when played for any length of time.