Road Rash II
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|Road Rash II|
3d6 Games (GBC)
|Platform(s)||Sega Genesis, Game Boy Color|
Game Boy Color
Road Rash II is a racing/vehicular combat video game developed and published by Electronic Arts for the Sega Genesis in 1992; a version for the Game Boy Color was developed by 3d6 Games and released in 2000. The game is based on a series of road races throughout the United States that the player must win to advance to higher-difficulty races, while using a combination of fisticuffs and blunt weaponry to hinder the other racers. It is the second installment in the Road Rash game series, and introduces a split-screen two-player mode for competing human players, as well as nitrous oxide charges on certain bikes. Road Rash II was released to critical acclaim and commercial success, with reviewers appreciating the addition of the multiplayer mode while pointing out the lack of innovation in the fundamental gameplay.
Road Rash II puts the player in control of a motorcycle racer who must finish in either third-place or higher in a series of five road races to advance throughout the game's five levels. The game's races take place in a number of locales across the United States, including Hawaii, Arizona, Tennessee, Alaska, and Vermont. During a race, the player can brake, accelerate and attack neighboring racers. The player character will punch at the nearest racer with a default input, while holding a directional button during the input will result in either a backhand or a kick. Some opponents wield weapons such as clubs and chains, which can be taken and used by the player if the enemy racer is attacked as they are holding the weapon out to strike. The player racer can be ejected from their bike if they crash into an obstacle (such as boulders, cars, deer and cows) or if they run out of stamina (shown in the bottom-left corner of the screen) due to fights with other racers. In this event, the racer will automatically run back toward their bike, though the player can alter their course and avoid incoming traffic with the directional buttons, or stand still by holding the brake input button. Opponents will likewise be ejected from their bike if their own stamina is depleted; the stamina of the nearest racer is visible within the bottom-right corner of the screen, and the color of both stamina meters change from green to red as they deplete.
The player character begins the game carrying $1,000 on hand. When the player wins a race, a cash prize is received and added to the player's balance. From the main menu, the player can access a bike shop to view bikes for sale and potentially purchase a new bike with the money they have accumulated. Certain bikes are equipped with a series of nitrous oxide charges, which can provide a burst of speed if the player quickly taps the acceleration input button twice. The player will receive a password at the end of a successful race, which can be entered at a password entry screen in a subsequent session to maintain the player's progress. When the player wins a race on all five of the game's tracks, they will advance to the next level. With each subsequent level, the cash prizes become higher, the courses become longer, and the opponent racers become more aggressive. When the player wins a race on each track in all five levels, the game is won.
The player's bike has its own "condition meter" between the player's and opponents' stamina meters, which decreases with every crash the player gets involved in. If the meter fully depletes, the bike will be wrecked, the player's participation in the current race will end, and a repair bill must be paid. Motorcycle cops also make sporadic appearances throughout the game's tracks. If the player crashes within the vicinity of a cop, the cop will end their participation in the current race by apprehending them and charging them with a fine. With each subsequent level, repair bills and fines become more expensive, and cops appear more frequently. If the player lacks the funds to cover either a repair bill or a fine, the game will end prematurely.
Road Rash II features a two-player mode that can either be played intermittently between players or simultaneously with the use of a split-screen display. Two players can either race against each other along with other computer-controlled racers or engage in the "Mano a Mano" mode, in which the two human players are the only competing racers on the track. In this mode, the players can select a weapon to wield prior to the start of the race, and no money is won or lost, though cops still appear as an obstacle and can end the race if they apprehend one of the players.
Development and release
The total development team of Road Rash II consisted of three programmers, five graphic artists, and four track builders. The expansion to an 8-megabit format from the original game's 5-megabit format allowed the team to implement a split-screen two-player mode that was unable to be incorporated into the preceding title. The artificial intelligence of the opponent racers was improved to be less predictable and more individualistic; certain racers would be more focused on the road than on the human racer, while others would be more aggressive. Some potential new features that were omitted due to hardware limitations include weather conditions and a Harley-Davidson-style bike. The game features music by composer Rob Hubbard. Don Veca also contributed to the soundtrack. Road Rash II was released in North America and Europe on December 1992.
Road Rash II was met with critical acclaim upon release. Skid and Brody of Diehard GameFan praised the general improvements to the gameplay, particularly the addition of the two-player mode. Richard Leadbetter and Radion Automatic of Mean Machines Sega, while commending the two-player mode and additional bikes, felt that the fundamental gameplay was barely changed from the previous title. Gideon of GamePro was grateful for the inclusion of the split-screen two-player mode, the lack of which he felt "kept the first Road Rash from achieving 'instant classic' status", and deemed the sequel to be "a noteworthy improvement on an already excellent game." The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly considered the gameplay to still be solid and fun, but saw little difference in that factor from its predecessor, and were disappointed in the lack of detail in the two-player mode's graphics compared to the single-player campaign.
In its debut month, Road Rash II was the sixth highest-selling Genesis title at Babbage's, and stayed within the top-ten chart for the next six months. Road Rash II first charted on Blockbuster Video's highest-renting Genesis titles at #7, and charted within the top ten on five subsequent months. Mega placed the game at #19 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 3
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, pp. 17–18
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, p. 2
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, pp. 10–14
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, pp. 4–9
- Road Rash II (Genesis) instruction manual, pp. 15–17
- "Behind the Screens: The Making of Road Rash 2" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. January 1993. pp. 126–127.
- "Road Rash Technical Details". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Viewpoint: Road Rash 2" (PDF). Diehard GameFan. December 1992. p. 9.
- Leadbetter, Richard; Automatic, Radion (November 1992). "MegaDrive Review: Road Rash 2". Mean Machines Sega. pp. 20–23.
- "Genesis Pro Review: Road Rash II" (PDF). GamePro. January 1993.
- "Review Crew: Road Rash 2" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. January 1993. p. 30.
- MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 22, page 99, October 1993
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. March 1993. p. 40.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. April 1993. p. 40.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. May 1993. p. 40.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. June 1993. p. 46.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. July 1993. p. 42.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. August 1993. p. 44.
- "EGM's Top Ten" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. September 1993. p. 44.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. March 1993. p. 195.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. April 1993. p. 177.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. May 1993. p. 142.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. August 1993. p. 145.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. September 1993. p. 136.
- "ProNews Report" (PDF). GamePro. October 1993. p. 169.
- Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994