Here’s a golden oldie from the Game Gear we used to play back in the early 1990s. EA’s cult romp was all about violent and illegal street racing. Huzzah!
A Brief History of Road Rash
When we were at primary school, our best mate was this guy called Phil. As you did back in the day, you’d have sleepovers and whatnot.
And we’d stay up until 1, 2, or 3am digging on video games and chatting.
Road Rash on the Game Gear became one of the titles of choice, where we’d take it in stages to race it up and pimp up our motorcycle. It was radical, man.
After the video game market crash in 1983-1985 (caused by market saturation), EA had largely focused on outsourcing titles for the PC.
But by 1990 it had creative intent. The video game market recovered largely due to Nintendo’s mightily popular NES.
With EA wanting to create its own games, it hired the likes of Carl Mey as technical director (he’d just been made redundant from the bankrupt Epyx) and they came up with the Road Rash idea as a strategic approach to a successful sports title.
The game was initially intended for the NES, but due to the console’s technical limitations the team shifted it over to Sega’s more powerful console.
And this game was a big hit back on its launch in 1991. It was one of EA’s first games and launched on the Mega Drive (Sega Genesis in North America).
As you can see, the idea of the game is to go about winning illegal street races in California. You have to finish fourth or higher in every race.
During the races, you can gain an advantage by attacking your rivals. As in, you can hurl a punch at them as you pass. Or whack them with a club. That sort of stuff.
You begin the title with $1,000 and the better you do, the more cash you get. So you can splash out on souping up your bike.
It’s simplistic stuff by modern standards, but back in 1991 it was a critical and commercial darling.
And it was a lot of fun. We have fond memories of ramping up our bike at 2am in the morning circa 1993, battling back sleepiness and gripping the Game Gear in intensity.
Whilst all was silent and spooky outside, everyone else asleep in sleepy old Chorley. Doing our best not to wake up Phil’s parents with moronic comments. All to keep on racing and just enjoy being so bloody young.
Of course, these days we’re much more grown up and mature. Proper adults. Which is why we spend a lot of time on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe instead. *ahem*
Road Rash Then and Now
As gamers know with EA, when the developer hits a cash cow boy does it like to take that as far as possible.
Two sequels followed on the Mega Drive with Road Rash II and Road Rash 3. More spinoffs followed on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64.
Below you can see the latter’s effort, which launched in August 1999 (see the trailer above).
However, the last official title from the series launched in 2000 as Road Rash: Jailbreak.
But since then, EQ-Games picked up the concept to create a spiritual successor called Road Redemption. That launched in late 2017 on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Critically it was pretty well received! So, it looks like the originally series may well be gone, but you can still punch people on bikes if the need takes you.
Violence in video games, eh? Because they’re really just isn’t enough of that.