"Donít do anything Rash."
This latest installment of EAís Road Rash isnít quite the milestone I thought it would be. Well, actually I didnít think it would be a milestone, I just thought it would be considerably improved over previous versions of this tired game. The use of word 3D is somewhat misleading, because you arenít exactly free to drive anywhere you want. Road Rash 3D is kind of like the Crash Bandicoot games being called 3D. You play in an environment that has depth, but you arenít given free reign to go everywhere.
Iím sure most of you are familiar with this motorcycle driving racing/beat-em-up. There has been a version of this game on most systems going as far back as the Genesis. With that said, youíd think EA would have attempted to give us something more than a snappy new title...
Graphically this game failed to impress me. The PlayStationís library of stock textures rears itís ugly head and gives us flat cut out buildings and what looks like quilts all over the ground. This is what games looked like in 1996, so what gives? NFSIII didnít look like this, so there is no excuse for it. The stilted animation of the bikers as they fight are not only horrible but useless. You canít fight like this. By the time your character does the wind up punch move, you are a 1/2 a mile ahead of your opponent.
Which brings me to this games biggest flaw: the fighting. If you are going to make a racing game whoís main attraction is fighting, then spend some time on the fighting! Give us some really great moves, some special moves... In this day and age, when you mention fighting, youíve got Tekken 3 as a watermark. I know RR3D isnít true fighting game, but we do expect a lot more than a couple of poorly animated kicks and punches. RR3D has itís share of weapons like the baseball bat, chain, stungun, cattle prod and crowbar to name a few, but I didnít find they worked any better at knocking down opponents. Itís just too damn hard to line yourself up!
As for the racing, when youíve got a fork in the road, wouldnít a great 3D concept be to let you choose your route? Not in this game. Ignore the arrows that appear at every fork in the road and youíll be constantly reminded that you are "going the wrong way." Well, donít tease me with the option then, bastards!
Musically this game is spot on, as it uses real music and vocals which goes along way with me. I thought it was some great alternative stuff. It did suit the implied mood of the game quite well.
This is one game genre that has never worked or improved for that matter. It is way too difficult to fight while trying to win a race. Do you race or fight? Iíd rather do neither. Kids might think this game is cool if seeing it for the first time and have some fun with it, but the rest of us know better. Itís not a keeper, itís not a renter. Itís serves only as a reminder that some games are created out of greed and laziness. Next!