Road Rash 64
System: Nintendo 64
Devloper: Pacific Coast Power and Light
Capabilities: Controller Pak Compatible, Rumble Pak Compatible, Expansion Pak enhanced graphics, 1-4 players
If you dont know by now, the Road Rash series, are the most popular motorcycle racing games out there. You are rebel motorcycle riders, winning races for cash, and avoiding the cops at all costs. Electronic Arts has the license for the Road Rash games, but they gave THQ the rights to release an N64 version. Will this be better than the PSX version of Road Rash? Lets get onto the review and find out.
This game has some of the best visuals ever on the N64. I dont know where to start. But you probably wanna get the expansion pak to get the high res mode, because it makes the game look a hell of a lot better. The motorcyclists look awesome, and theres a nice wide variety of cycles, and cyclists that are all easy to tell apart, and look great. Theres men and women cyclists all dressed up in punk clothes, then you got cyclists with some dumb preppy uniforms, but they all look great. Theres even a variation of the cop motorcycles.
Everything looks great in multi player modes. I was amazed they can fit 4 blocks of action on one screen with barely any to little at all slowdown. But they do have to cut down on all the info boxes on the screen like you life and cycle damage meter, and which damage meters you have, it only displays what place youre in and the speed youre going. But in 1 player mode theres all that stuff displayed, plus which cycle is the closest to you. And it also pops up if you nail hit some body or if some one nails you with a weapon.
I just love the animations in this game! The accidents look superb. You get to see your cycle fly off down a hill, sparks and debris of earth flying with it, makes it look even better, and you also get to see your cyclist all crunched up making sure nobody hurts him. All the weapons look great too. You can easily tell if youre rival riders are trying to beat the crap out of you with a bat, club, tazer stick, or mase can. Plus the flashing construction arrows are great and give you a slight early warning of tight turns.
The only part I really hate about the visuals is the environment. I mean, the roads, asphalt, and grass and all look good, but all the building look bland, and barely detailed. Like I see a lot of building that are only pink with just blue squares, indicating windows, and that is just horrible. I think the cars on the highway are pretty good, for a Playstation game, not an N64 game, I think the cars couldve used just a tad more detail to make them more realistic, even in high res mode, they look kind of dull. Plus there tends to be a lot of fog in the game, not a whole lot though, and it barely tends to get distracting.
This game has one of the best soundtracks ever for the N64. Some of the bands that do some of these kicking tunes are Sugar Ray and The Mermen. And these heavy metal songs fit the punk-bad-boy style motorcycling game perfectly, plus the songs play during game play too, but theyre faded out just right so they dont distract from the game play.
The sound effects are great for this game. Just about every weapon has its own sound effect, like the mase can sounding like somebody whispering, and the clubs and bats sounding like whacks and all. Plus the sirens always let you know when the police are on your tail, and you really know when theyre on your tail when theyre shouting Drop your Weapon and Pull over, buddy! The cycle sound effects are well done, from revving up your engine, to the big thump noises when your cycle crashes. The greatest sound is the squish when a car or cycle runs over your body after you already wiped out.
I really wished that the gang members couldve talked to you when they invited you to join your group instead of just having text on the screen, plus just about all the other racing games have an announcer do the countdown to the start of the race, but instead you only see 3, 2, 1, Go! appear on the screen. But these are the only really minor bad points about the sound, and hey it doesnt need to be perfect.
Like I said you go motorcycling in a wide variety of modes to play trying to knock off as many other riders as you can, the controls respond well to the control, and you can even power slide into a turn, which makes it a lot easier to avoid a wipe out. Those pesky cops are back, and when they take away a lot of health when they hit you with a club, but you only get busted if a cop knocks you off your cycle, unlike in the old Genesis versions where if you crashed by a cop youre busted too.
Theres plenty of weapons in the game and you get new ones accessible as you progress through the Big Game mode. Heres a quick list of all the weapons in the game: Mace Can, Spiked Club, Cattle Prod, Tire Iron, Banana, Pool Cue, Taser, Baseball Bat, Chain, Sledge hammer, Knunchucks, and a Monkey Wrench. Plus there are also power ups that appear as holograms on the tracks that double or quadruple your weapon damage and fix up your cycles damage. Like in the old versions of the game, you can steal weapons, and you can hold multiple weapons and change between them by pressing Top C. Theres also a new attack in the game called The Deadly Spoke Jam which is basically where you stick your weapon in your opponents spokes, and they instantly lose control of their bikes.
The game has a nice variety of modes, the main single player mode is the Big Game mode where you race in 5 levels, where each level consists of 5-8 tracks. You must finish within the top 3 in order to proceed onto the next race. You save your progress on the controller pak. You earn money for your placing, plus bonuses for nailing pedestrians, nailing cops, crashing other motorcycles, resisting arrest, and so on. Once you get to the next level, new cycles will be available at the bike shop for you to buy, if you buy one of these bikes, most likely a gang will invite you to join its group. It looks good on your cycle record if you join these gangs, rather than riding solo. The other one player mode is Thrash, where you just race any track from the first level, or from any of the others you unlocked in exhibition against the comp.
Then theres multi player mode, which is really a blast! You can do Thrash mode with 2-4 players, but if you do it with 2 players, you race against 4 other computer cyclists, but if you do it with 3 players, you only go against 1 other computer cyclist, and you go against none of the computer when its 4 players. Then theres the 1, 3, and 7 laps modes where you race on 1 of 5 different stunt courses and whoever completes the given amount of laps first wins. Then theres death match mode where which cyclist gets 7 points first wins! You get a point for completing a lap, and a point for crashing the other players, but the bad part about this is you race on the stunt courses, and I find it really hard to nail the other cyclists while making all the tight turns. Then theres a tag mode, where you crash a cyclist thats It and you become it, get a point for crashing It and whoever gets 3 points first wins. And finally theres Ped Hunt, which can only be played by up to 2 players. This is kind of unique, because all you do is race against the comp and who ever knocks down the most pedestrians by the end of the race wins, it gets kind of hard to do it while racing with the comp, and I find this option useless.
Theres only one complaint I have about the game engine. Remember in the old Genesis Road Rash games, where you had to run back to your cycle after you crashed it? Well I guess it was reasonable taking that option out here, because your cycle would be hard to find in 3-D because I have seen my cycle fall miles down endless canyons and all, but instead you get to see about 5 to 10 seconds of your crash then you appear back in the race. Thats cool and all, but the bad part about it is, you jump another extra mile or so back into the race from where you crashed, so youre barely behind the computer. This really sucks because when you go against the computer, theyre usually always packed together throughout the entire race, but after a while you get by this flaw, and even though its a big flaw in the game. You will get over it.
So far, Ive clocked in about 10 hours in this game, after having it for just 2 days. Half of those hours come from the Big Game mode and the other half in multi player. The Big Game races are so challenging as they progress, and I always want to race over, and over if I dont finish in the Top 3. Its just so fun avoiding all those cops, and crashing all the time. And youll be playing for hours on end in multi player. Theres just such a wide variety of modes to choose from youll be racing against your friends for hours on end!
+: Kick-Ass soundtrack, Up to 4 people can play, expansion pak enhanced graphics!
-: Easy to get back into a race after you crash, The Stunt courses will drive you mad!
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.5
Replay Value: 9.2
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
If youve been a fan of the Road Rash series, then get this game, it will not disappoint you, its one of the best motorcycle games on the N64. Plus the multi player mode will keep you playing with your friends for hours galore. Even if youre not a fan of the series, this game is really great, especially for multi player fans! Even the noticeable flaws this game has doesnt take away how great the game is. So if youre one of the few people who still play their N64, then pick up this game!