It was Christmas nearly five years ago. I'd been eagerly awaiting my N64, feeling like the last person on Earth to get one. I'd already known about it for quite some time because I'd peeked in the closet in which my parents were hiding it. Oh, sorry little kiddies, Santa probably hid it there, not my parents. Regardless, when I official received my new system, I got two games: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Road Rash 64. Needless to say I went for Zelda first. But, when I finally got to this unknown little game called Road Rash 64 (at least I'd never heard of it), I popped it into my brand new system, and the rest is history…
Road Rash 64 puts you into the shoes (and bandanna) of a cycler of your choosing. As you progress through the different levels of the game, you will win money to upgrade your bike, and also recognition of different biker gangs. I'm not really an expert on the gang thing, as I usually chose to go solo. However, I believe joining a gang gives you such benefits as having some of the bikers refrain from chain-whipping you during your race through some already potentially dangerous terrain. That's not to say that you're safe from everyone, though.
For those of you who like a little violence in everything you do, Road Rash 64 is the game for you. It combines the pleasure of riding through the country on a chopper with the pleasure of smacking the guy next to you in the face with a baseball bat, only to go crashing into a motionless steel cow (the time when cows react to being crashed into by a motorcycler is the time when we've taken technology too far). The people you race with are not a bunch of retired working-class dads going through a mid-life crisis, these guys are the real deal. From the chicks in the bullet-bike suits to the old man with the hat, these racers are tough as nails, and will do anything to come out on top. This is why you need to go out of your way to beat the crap out of every one of them with the random weapons you find during your races. Whether you'd like to beat someone silly with a giant banana (or whatever the thing is), or shock someone with a taser, the result will be the same: an awesome and often hilarious motorcycle crash will occur. The more you make crash, the less you'll have to worry about crashing. However, when their horrible incident is over, they'll come back and eventually be right on your tail again, so don't get too confident. To add to the threats, there is randomized traffic, and many police officers prepared to kick your donkey and take you "downtown." This really adds to the depth of your races and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
As for the races in the game, they're all set on one giant island filled with country, towns, cities, ports, etc, that you're free to explore in some single-player game modes (you'll have to shy away from your current race, though). Whilst exploring this giant island, you can search out innocent pedestrians, scale giant mountains, look for more weapons to add to your inventory, or drown yourself in the ocean. If you happen to crash (or drown), you'll be forced to go back to the racing area, so if you're planning on going far, take special care in keeping control of your bike.
Now for the icing on the cake: the multiplayer. There are several modes to choose from, including thrasher (the standard racing mode), pedestrian hunt (the more peds you run over, the higher your score), and a couple other modes that have their own racetracks that can't be found on the main island. Now, and this is just my own preference, I find that cheats really add to the experience in the multiplayer. For one, if you haven't unlocked all the races, that can be taken care of, along with some special modes including the dreaded insanity mode where you go incredibly fast and your crashes are simply amazing (you kind of quit trying to race in this mode as it is nearly impossible to do). As fun as the mode is in single player, it's even more fun in multiplayer as you get to see yourself crash as well as your friends.
The sound in RR64 couldn't be better (unless more songs were added to its tracklist). The sound effects fit in perfectly and take you right into the game, while the soundtrack gets you into the Road Rash "mood," and may have a couple songs you'll get interested in (it got me into a band called "The Mermen"). Even so, you may get sick of the music after playing it for hours on end (which will happen if you take full advantage of the multiplayer). It's an easily fixable problem that's not really even worth mentioning, though.
With all this being said, I confidently declare that this is and always will be my favorite racer of all time. Out of the 5 years of having it, I've always gone back, and I've always enjoyed it. Some may be put off by its graphics, and to these people I say stop judging a game with your eyes and play it! We may have advanced in our technology, but the fun factor of a game doesn't change over time. So buy a classic, and if you don't own an N64, go buy one! It's money very well spent.
Fun Factor: A+