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We all had that favorite video game growing up. To be fair, we all had more than one, usually segmented off into the varying genres old consoles and computers offered us gamers. (It's bemusing but I've become so hoary that I didn't initially realize there are plenty of adults who can't relate to what I am saying, game era wise.) For example, in my youth, Shadow Warrior was my favorite FPS (until Quake 2 came out), and Earthbound was my favorite JRPG, while Fallout 1 & 2 were my favorite WRPGs. On my Nintendo, I was addicted to shooting baddies as The Punisher and spent many an hour grinding away at the very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, which was brilliantly difficult, set in a (fairly) open world, and (sadly) unlike every other Turtles game to come after.
While racing games have come a long way in terms of realism, graphics, and physics, my favorite racing game of my childhood kept its title of world champion of racing games until incredibly recently; Road Rash. I play video games to do things real life doesn't actually offer, such as fighting aliens, being a Ninja Turtle, and participating in ultraviolent no rules motorcycle street races. Road Rash allowed me to realize that last dream over multiple systems, with various minor changes to the gameplay, keeping the core concept of street racing on your motorcycle while avoiding commuters and bashing other racers/motorcycle cops in the head with a variety of objects such as chains and metal bars. I really don't know if I have a favorite, or a least favorite, in the series; give me Road Rash in any form and I'm happy.
For those unaware of the Road Rash's grand history, allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane. The first Road Rash, which took place in Northern California, came out on the Sega Genesis in 1991. Downscaled versions were made for the Master System, Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Game Boy, while upgraded CD versions were released for PlayStation, 3DO, Sega CD and Sega Saturn, as well as a computer port to Microsoft Windows. The second game, Road Rash 2, reused many of the sprites from the first game, added more locations, more bikes, and two local multiplayer options in a split screen mode and a one-on-one race for no debates on who is the better racer. Obviously, the addition to local multiplayer in a world without internet as we know it today was welcomed with open arms and roaring cheers. This game was also originally released on the Sega Genesis, but didn't receive the multiple ports its predecessor did. Road Rash 3 was the first game to bring racers to stretches of road outside of The United States, and gave the game an almost RPG lite feel to it by allowing the player to hold onto multiple weapons between races. Road Rash 3D and Road Rash Jailbreak, both for the Sony PlayStation, deemphasized combat for a focus on racing, but not to a degree where the games didn't feel like Road Rash. Despite being made by an entirely different team, the Nintendo 64's Road Rash 64 had a more classic Road Rash feel to it. Why EA hasn't brought the franchise back after all these years has often been complained about by my nerdy friends and I, and not surprisingly, even cohorts who didn't generally play video games growing up often remember the high octane thrills of Road Rash fondly. At least where I grew up, it was one of those games that everyone always had, and everyone was always down to play, both split-screen and just passing the controller back and forth between races/lives.
Thankfully, EA didn't get off their asses; they'd undoubtedly do something to ruin it, unless D.I.C.E. was instructed to build the thing, which I don't see happening. Ian Fisch, along with the teams at PixelDash Studios and EQ Games, created a spiritual successor to the beloved motorcycle combat racing series, Road Redemption, and while I won't say it is as good as Road Rash because a lawyer from EA has a gun to my head, *preforms kung-fu*, it is as good as Road Rash. While there are a few bugs and glitches being ironed out by the small yet competent development team, online multiplayer far makes up for the rare occurring technical issues. Road Redemption offers its few little variations on the formula, which I'm not going to spoil because if you're reading this article and haven't played the game, I know there is a high chance you will go and check the game out and I'm incredibly anti spoiler.
I'll never get on a motorcycle; I've had too many buddies far less clumsy than myself wreck badly. Road rash, not the game but the actual thing that happens to human skin when crashing on a motorcycle at high speed, is something my pretty ass wants to avoid like a dark ages villager avoids rats plague ridden folks. This game allows me to not only feel the thrill of the wind in my face as I ride a steel stallion, but to feel the rush of adrenaline of unloading my shotgun into a crowd of bikers, then speeding off to decapitate cops with a sword to gain nitro so I can beat up some other racers with a baseball bat rife with spikes and nails. Road Redemption allows me to fulfil my fantasies of rooftop motorcycle races, shooting grenade launchers at ninety miles per hour, and having a swordfight while barrelling down the freeway, avoiding commuters and bullets all the while. Road Redemption, for lack of a better word, is fun. And who doesn't like fun?
Oh, and Shovel Knight is in the game too.
Holla at me @bongstudly on social media, on livestudly.com or studlyblog.com, and challenge me to vehicular combat.