Road Rash is the name of a motorcycle-racing video game series by Electronic Arts, in which the player participates in violent illegal street races. The game was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, but was ported to several other systems. Six different games were released from 1991 to 1999, and a 2004 licensed port for the Game Boy Advance was released. Road Rash and two of its sequels later appeared on the EA Replay collection for the PSP.
The game's title is based on the slang term for the severe friction burns that can occur in a motorcycling fall where skin comes into contact with the ground at high speed.
Road Rash has a smoothly-rendered vertical element. In most traditional older racing games, the player's vehicle remained on the same horizontal plane, negotiating turns essentially by going right or left (see Pole Position (video game)). In Road Rash, players had to contend with grade changes, and the physics—though rudimentary compared to today's games—reflected the act of going up or down a hill, as well as turning while climbing, etc. This resulted in the ability to launch one's motorcycle great distances, resulting in crash animations. Road Rash also introduced an interactive race environment, with street signs, trees, poles, and livestock, which could interact with the player's vehicle.This was also one of the earlier games to feature active traffic, such as slow moving station wagons and the like while racing against other bikers. Part of what separated Road Rash from other racing games was its combat element. The player could fight other bikers with a variety of hand weapons or kick away other racers. The player would initially start off with just his or her hands and feet, but if the gamer timed a punch right, he or she could grab a weapon from another rider. The weapons themselves ranged from clubs, crowbars, nunchaku, and cattle prods. Fights between riders to knock each other off the bike would often go on at high speeds through traffic, pedestrians and roadside obstacles, with the victor gaining place and the loser sustaining bike damage and losing time.
The motorcycle police officers have dual antagonistic roles. They fight the player as another opponent, and they also serve as game play enforcers by policing the back of the pack and culling players who fall too far behind or choose to explore the world rather than race in it. The stakes are higher for losing a fight with a police officer than for losing to another player: Losing a fight with an officer or being caught by an officer while off one's motorcycle would cause the player to be "Busted" and the race would end.
In the earlier games, each race locale consisted of a single road, and as the player progressed through the levels. The finish line would be placed farther down the road.
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