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Road Rash 3D Review


T Contains Realistic Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

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Mmmmm, punk rock. Gotta love that toe-tapping beat and intelligible lyrics. For fans of punk rock, Road Rash 3D is here to please. With "songs" from CIV, Full on the Mouth, Kid Rock, The Mermen, Sugar Ray, and The Tea Party, fans will have a lot to be happy about with the soundtrack. To a more refined music buff, however, the punk "music" just sounds like loud guitar riffs with someone yelling into a microphone. Unfortunately, that's the best part of the game, which means that there is no good reason to buy this game.

Road Rash 3 for the Genesis was one of my favorite games. I loved racing against my friends and smacking them upside the head with a baton. One of the few games where you could actually take out a policeman, Road Rash was popular for the sheer violence of it all. When Road Rash 3D entered the office, I had high expectations. Unfortunately, Road Rash 3D didn't meet a single one. For someone who has played every single Road Rash game, including the one on Sega CD, this game is one of the worst.

Someone decided that instead of spending money on the game itself, they would make a series of MTV-esque video clips starring four different biker gangs. The Asian bikers are into fast machines and the occasional Martial Art match. The S&M bikers just seem to be tied up all the time. The obviously German-stereotyped white supremacists are up to their wacky racist ways. Finally, the rejects from the Hell's Angels formed their own gang and are tearing up the street. As you can see, character design was not at the top of their list.

In making the graphics for Road Rash 3D, some designer apparently confused the motorcycle nickname "chopper" with how he was supposed to do the graphics. The framerate is way too low for this game. Cars just pop into existence. Bikes crash into each other in a bizarre orgy of polygon madness. If you hold down the punch button, the biker drives without his hands, even around hairpin turns. After seeing games like Colony Wars and Gran Turismo, choppy graphics on the Playstation just don't cut it anymore (if they ever did). If only the graphics were the only problem with the game . . .

Everyone who has played any of the Road Rash games knows that what sets it apart from all other motorcycle games is the ability to pull out a chain and wrap it around an opponents neck. Nothing like old-fashioned sportsmanship, is there? Unfortunately, Road Rash 3D seems to have forgotten to make the fighting important. There really is no need to hit your opponents when you can just drive right by them instead. No one ever matches speeds with you so you can hit them properly.

Speaking of hitting, the hit detection in this game is just plain bad. You never know if your crowbar will hit the opponent or just pass right through him. Also, the obstructions on the road (ie. signposts, trees, pedestrians, etc.) aren't well-defined. I successfully passed through a tree, only to get knocked over by a sign that I didn't even touch. I swear I didn't, officer.

Another problem with the game is that there is no multiplayer. Let me repeat that: There is NO multiplayer. Whose grand idea was that? One of the best parts of Road Rash 3 for the Genesis was the ability to challenge your friends with a split screen. Someone at EA must not have paid attention to the fact that multiplayer games are all the rage right now. Of course, he must have had his head down a hole in order not to notice this.

One good thing going for Road Rash 3D is the innovative way they made the tracks. All of the tracks are on one huge road map. At any time, you can leave the set racetrack, and proceed to drive along the road, out in the middle of nowhere. The only problem with this is that you can never leave the roadways. If you go offroad, you end up hitting an invisible wall that won't allow you more then ten feet off the track. Was it too difficult to make a real wall, or fence, or hedge, or . . .?

All in all, this is one of the worst motorcycle games I have ever played. The most disappointing aspect of the game is the fact that it doesn't come close to matching the great gameplay of its predecessors. I've prayed for Road Rash on the new consoles for years. Unfortunately, this game answered my prayers and I had to immediately switch religions. If you loved Road Rash on the Genesis, you should not buy this game.

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