This does not give you the permission to call me old (because I’m not) but I remember this was one of, if not ultimately, the first racing game I ever got to play on a PC.
Of course, someone is wondering what the hell we’re talking about as they have just been used to the high-end graphics with the likes of Forza and even when it comes to smartphones you’ve got the Asphalt series.
But for now, we’re talking about the classic game that gave us the true thrill of road rage on a racing bike at neck breaking speeds.
Back then, you never even cared about how old the game was or even what system it ran on but that’s exactly why we are here. Road Rash was first created in 1991 by Electronic Arts (EA) with an image of the player participating in violent illegal street races. So the idea of games that we are getting now was conceived earlier than you thought.
So what’s this game like? The very first version is one that I may call an ambitious move considering the great limits back then in terms of resources and technology. But they did it anyway.
The parent version of the game was set in semi-abandoned roads with low-quality graphics of course (however cool they might have seemed back then) with options of sceneries that one could choose from including grassy plains, forests, beach and mountainous scenes.
However little that might have seemed, the speed at which you were racing, as well as the sceneries, gave you a sense of what race riding is like in the real world. But all this kept being upgraded to a point where it significantly changed in 1995 with graphics, more scenes and the general gameplay.
The back story might have been a factor considered by developers but never seemed to be a huge attention seeker to the gamers. One thing that it all seemed to insist on, however, was the rogue feel and the violent aspect strengthened even more by the images. This made one have a sense of purpose even while trying to get to the finish line (which is basically knocking people down).
The ’95 version even gave us the choice of battering your opponents down with a bat in the multiplayer mode in an effort to have a headstart against them. Getting beat down by a competitor was, however, not such a sweet affair since you would be forced to get up and run back to your bike by which time your opponent was already gone beyond the horizon.
Other than that, the game levels kept proceeding depending on how you would fair in every race. One pro with the level progression is that each level featured five of the seven total locations like the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy and oh yes, Kenya was on the list (but let’s be honest none of us noticed it).
The better you got on your racing position, the more chances you had of upgrading your bike out of about 19 choices, different from the 15 variants that were in the previous version. Traffic from other vehicles was also added as a feature with this game and although it was in an effort to make the experience more realistic, it got to my nerves sometimes (kind of like what GTA does these days).
The violence, the maiming, the police chase is what players of this game lived to feel and exert that same pressure on every obstacle.
Graphics and Music
One of the main messages brought out by developers of this game was the levels of growth they had over the years since the series’ first instalment as Road Rash 3 came with the most significant changes being in terms of the general appearance.
As aforementioned, the menu interface was one of the most colourful aspects with this game trying to kind of warn you of the level of violent environment you were getting yourself into. You could never unsee the rockstar stationary animated characters that would immediately smile at you with their piercings and leather jackets as soon as you clicked into the game.
Without comparing them to what we have now, the graphics were honestly really nice.
Finally, the backgrounds and horizons looked better and items that you would normally find on the sides of a street were included. The buildings, trees, snow skiers, bins along the side of the line that you would happen to pass by were impressively detailed.
The attires that you and other bikers were dressed in are textured and wrinkled in a realistic fashion. One thing I had hoped would be better, however, was the police that you would happen to have a task of evading. They looked different from the bikers yes, but should have been more detailed like the racers.
The game offered an option turning the music on or off before starting the race which might beg the question of why not during the competition but almost no one felt the need of turning it off. The music was a huge factor in the experience while racing and EA made sure to make it even better and funky ensuing from a bunch of diverse instruments.
Unlike Road Rash and Road Rash 2, the music in Road Rush 3 came with the sound of the bike’s engine and turning off the music meant you could totally hear the roar of the bike engines increasing the thrill and excitement of rogue racing. Music balancing was however not EA’s forte back then.
The general controls and sound effects are good enough since you can actually hear it when a car or opponent hits you or when you go sprawling on the tarmac, with the addition of new weapons (especially the bat) and features being a huge determinant to the improved play mechanics.
Road rash 3 may have been among, if not the best, segment of the whole series by EA with the makers clearly being wise with the franchise’s formula and trying their best not to mess it up.
The experience was fun, dare I say mind blowing but players of its two predecessors may have felt it to have similar play mechanics, which may or may not be disappointing.
With all that said, would you play it again at such an era when everything about racing games is painstakingly advanced? Yes, many would definitely go back down memory lane and have a touch of the game one more time. This is a good thing and goes a long way to show that the Road Rash series meant a lot at that time.