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RetroRespect: Road Rash
Ahh, the early 90’s. A time where clothes came in either fluorescent green or fluorescent orange, games came on cartridges the size of a paperback novel and children somehow completed homework without the aid of Wikipedia. Many classic video games from this period are seeing a revival of late, with Streets of Rage and Sonic the Hedgehog finding their way onto your handheld iDevices. Sadly, the mac-daddy of the Sega Megadrive, Road Rash II, seems forgotten, lying face down on the dusty roadside.

The concept is simple. You race your bike, illegally, at top speed through the American countryside, trying to come at the front of the field of leather-clad psychopaths. Out to stop you were dim-witted car and truck drivers, the relentless killjoys of the police force and, at times, the road itself. Hurtling through the varying landscapes of the mountainous Alaska, the autumnal Vermont and the tropical Hawaii, you raced to acquire cash for the purchase of increasingly faster and more boner-inducing bikes.

But Road Rash II is so much more than just a racing game. Trying to overtake your opponents puts you at risk of taking a fist, club or chain to the face. If you managed to wrestle a weapon off another ‘rasher’ you could dish out some payback. Nothing is sweeter than kicking some poor chump off his bike to see him arrested by the pursuing fuzz.

If you find yourself punched off your bike, or flying through the air after colliding with a car/moose, you dust yourself off and began the painstakingly long run back to your bike, seeing rival after rival blur past you. Get caught on foot by the police and you’re ‘busted’, forced to pay a fine and suffer an infuriatingly gloating message from your arresting officer or the race’s victor.

This game has everything. High speed motorcycle racing, wanton violence, a thumping 16-bit soundtrack and an apparently indestructible protagonist. You can keep your Burnout and your Need for Speed. Give me a severe case of Road Rash any day.



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