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|First release||Road Rash
Road Rash is the name of a motorcycle-racing video game series by Electronic Arts, in which the player participates in violent illegal street races. The game was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, but was ported to several other systems. Six different games were released from 1991 to 1999, and a 2003 licensed port for the Game Boy Advance was released. Road Rash and two of its sequels later appeared on the EA Replay collection for the PSP.
The game's title is based on the slang term for the severe friction burns that can occur in a motorcycling fall where skin comes into contact with the ground at high speed.
Presented in a third-person view similar to Hang-On, the player competes in illegal road races and must finish in the three or four places (depending on the specific game) in every race in order to proceed to the next level. As levels progress, the opponents ride faster, fight harder and the tracks are longer and more dangerous. Placing in each race gives a certain amount of money which increases considerably as levels progress. This money allows the player to buy faster bikes which are needed to stay competitive, and to pay for repairs when their motorcycle is wrecked, or fines when they are arrested by the police. The game is over if the player is unable to pay for repairs or fines.
Road Rash has a smoothly rendered vertical element. In most earlier racing games, the player's vehicle remains on the same horizontal plane, negotiating turns essentially by going right or left. In Road Rash, players have to contend with grade changes, and the physics reflect the act of going up or down a hill, as well as turning while climbing. This results in the ability to launch one's motorcycle great distances, resulting in crash animations. Road Rash also has an interactive race environment, with street signs, trees, poles, and livestock, which can interact with the player's vehicle. This was also one of the earlier games to feature active traffic, such as slow moving station wagons and the like while racing against other bikers.
The player can fight other bikers with a variety of hand weapons or kick away other racers. The player initially starts off with just hands and feet, but can grab a weapon from another rider by timing a punch correctly. The weapons include clubs, crowbars, nunchaku, and cattle prods. The loser of a fight sustains bike damage in addition to losing time.
The motorcycle police officers fight the player as another opponent, and serve as game play enforcers by culling players who fall too far behind or choose to explore the world rather than race in it. Losing a fight with an officer or being caught by an officer while off one's motorcycle causes the player to be "Busted", ending the race.
In the earlier games, each race locale consisted of a single road, and as the player progressed through the levels the finish line would be placed farther down the road.
Road Rash 
North American Genesis cover art
|Designer(s)||Randy Breen, Dan Geisler|
|Programmer(s)||Dan Geisler, Walter Stein, Carl Mey|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Two Player Multiplayer|
|Media/distribution||Cartridge, Optical CD|
Road Rash debuted on the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1991. All races take place in locales in the U.S. state of California on progressively longer two-lane roads. While the game has a two-player mode, it is a take-turns system that only allows one person to play at a time. There are 14 computer drivers and a human driver. The game was eventually ported onto the Game Gear, Sega Master System, Nintendo Game Boy and Commodore Amiga, making the debut title the only Road Rash game of the Genesis series to have been distributed onto other consoles and computers.
The tracks depict California State Routes on highway shields as the player travels through the level. The levels are, from start and pressing right on the selection screen:
- Sierra Nevada (CA 89)
- Pacific Coast (CA 1)
- Redwood Forest (no highway shields)
- Palm Desert (CA 74)
- Grass Valley (CA 49)
There are 8 bikes to choose from, and one weapon: the club. Races are won by placing first, second, third, or fourth in each of the five tracks. After all five tracks are won, the player advances to the next level, where the tracks are longer, the opponents faster, and much more money is at stake for a victory or a loss.
|Famitsu||27 / 40 (3DO)|
MegaTech magazine said "Lots of races, lots of bikes, and plenty of thrills 'n' spills make this the best racer on the Megadrive!" Mega placed the game at #8 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.
Road Rash II 
Road Rash II, the sequel to the first game, was released the next year in 1992, also on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Road Rash II was heavily based on the same engine and sprites as the first Road Rash game. Races are won by finishing in first, second, or third place. A new weapon, the chain, supplements the club from the first game. The races take place in the U.S. states of Alaska, Hawaii, Tennessee, Arizona, and Vermont.
Road Rash II made navigation of the menu screens considerably easier, and uses passwords less than half the size of the first game's passwords. Also, several game modes were introduced; alongside the two modes from the first Road Rash are a simultaneous two-player game called "Split Screen" where the 14th and 15th players are replaced by human players, and a duel mode called "Mano a Mano" where the two human players can select any bike, weapon, and length of track they wish before racing each other.
Road Rash 3: Tour de Force 
The final installment of Road Rash on the Sega Mega Drive, Road Rash 3: Tour de Force was released in 1995. All the races take place in 5 of 7 countries, with the track selection varying per level: Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Australia, and Japan.
Fifteen bikes are available in different classes, and four upgrades are available for each. Eight weapons are available, and the game allows the player to hold on to the weapons between races as long as the game is not reset.
This game uses digitized sprites as opposed to the "cartoony" sprites of the first two installments.
Road Rash (3DO) 
Road Rash, often called Road Rash 3DO to distinguish it from the Mega Drive/Genesis original of the same name, was originally released on the 3DO in 1994, and later for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC in 1996. A version for the Super Nintendo was planned for release, but was eventually canceled. The game featured full motion video sequences to advance the plot.
There are five levels altogether, and five courses, all California locales: The City, The Peninsula, Pacific Coast Highway, Sierra Nevada, and Napa Valley. The roads themselves are multi-lane with brief divided road sections.
The object of the game is the same as in previous installments in the series: When all courses are completed without getting "Game Over" or "Busted", in 1st, 2nd or 3rd out of 14th place, the level will increase. Differences affected on tracks are the length and the amount of traffic on the road, with the additions of heavier fines from the police if the player is caught, and a larger reward for completing the track.
The player can choose a character to play as, each of whom has a specific starting cash amount and a personal motorcycle. Some of these characters' names come from combatants from the original Genesis releases, such as "Axle" and "Rhonda". The character also has status among his or her fellow bikers, which is accessible after the race. Depending on what the NPC preferred (some liked being hit, some didn't), the other racers dynamically react to the player depending on they are treated during the races.
When Road Rash debuted on the 32-bit home game consoles, they were initially ported from the 3DO version of the game. All of these games were called "Road Rash", despite being 4th in the series. Derivative works were re-engineered up for Microsoft Windows and Nintendo 64 platforms or reengineered down to Sega Mega-CD and the handheld consoles. The game was also called "Road Rash 32-Bit" at one point according to the copyright screen.
Players could choose between three categories of motorcycles. Rat Bikes were the cheapest and slowest bikes available, and are competitive in the early parts of the game. Sport Bikes had more power and handled better, but were more expensive; too slow still to be used all the way to the end, they were useful in the middle parts of the game. Super Bikes, while prohibitively expensive early on, were the fastest bikes in the game. All but one of these motorcycles contained N2O boosts; the player started each race with ten uses, depleting by one whenever the button was pressed.
The 3DO game's soundtrack contained 14 music tracks from A&M Records artists Soundgarden, Paw, Hammerbox, Therapy?, Monster Magnet, and Swervedriver. Months before Road Rash was even released for the 3DO it received 3DO's 1994 "Soundtrack of the Year" award. The last version featured garage and unsigned bands who got a chance to be in the game by sending in their tapes.
Road Rash received a very favourable review in Mean Machines magazine. It received a final score of 91% and was praised for its music, graphics and gameplay. The Commodore Amiga release of Road Rash received moderately high ratings, including 84% from Amiga Format and 81% from CU Amiga. The release received worse reviews from Amiga Power, who rated the game 70%. It won several awards from Electronic Gaming Monthly in their 1994 video game awards, including Best Driving Game, Best Music in a CD-Based Game, and Best 3DO Game of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Road Rash 3D 
Road Rash 3D was released in 1998 for the PlayStation.
Road Rash 64 
Road Rash 64 for the Nintendo 64 was released in 1999. It is noteworthy because Electronic Arts did not design or publish it. Instead, the intellectual property rights were licensed to THQ, which in turn had its own studio, Pacific Coast Power & Light (founded by former EA employee Don Traeger), develop the game.
Road Rash: Jail Break 
Road Rash: Jail Break was released 1999 in EU (2000 U.S.) for the PlayStation, and eventually adapted for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. Its main gameplay elements incorporated an interconnected road system and 2 player cooperative play with a sidecar.
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.
- Road Rash Sega Game Gear Manual. U.S. Gold. 1991. p. 12.
- 3DO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ロードラッシュ. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.330. Pg.77. 14 April 1995.
- MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, May 1992
- Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
- Brown, Matt. "Road Rash: Review by Matt Brown". ibiblio. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- "Electronic Arts and Atlantic Records Sign Licensing Agreement for Road Rash 3D". Business Wire. 1998-03-10. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Electronic Arts and BAM Magazine Announce the Road Rash Music Search". Business Wire. 1999-05-28. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Rignall, Julian (September 1991), "Road Rash Review from Mean Machines", Mean Machines (EMAP)
- "Road Rash Review from Amiga Format author=Jackson, Neil", Amiga Format (Future Publishing), December 1992
- "Road Rash Review from CU Amiga", CU Amiga (EMAP), November 1992
- Campbell, Stuart (July 1992), "Road Rash review from Amiga Power", Amiga Power
- Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995.
- "Road Rash: Jailbreak". GameFAQs: PlayStation. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Road Rash: Jailbreak (Game Boy Advance)". GameFAQs: Game Boy Advance. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Road Rash: Jailbreak (Game Boy Advance)". IGN: Gameboy. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Road Rash Jailbreak Review". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Road Rash Technical Details". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Main programmer and co-designer of Road Rash want to reborn this game (no fake)(English)
- Official twitter page of Dan Geisler where you can find info about New Road Rash(English)
- Road Rash series at MobyGames