Over 13 years ago, the greatest game to ever grace the Sega Genesis (well, in my opinion anyway) came out. I’m talking, of course, about Road Rash II. Sure, it’s not any sort of anniversary for the game, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to heap praise on it. Along with being a legendary Genesis game, it also very well may be one of the best racing games of all time.
Most racing games are content to give you one thing: racing. This is not the case with Road Rash II. While at first glance it seems like nothing else but a racing game with motorcycles, a single race will show you the deep combat and intrigue present in this masterpiece of a game.
Sure, you can speed your way to the front of the pack pretty quickly in your first race, but it won’t be long before you’re acquainted with the likes of Kakana, Viper and P.E. No. 1. These aren’t just AI obstacles on your way to first place, but living, breathing personas who are hell-bent on making you miserable. Whether this means kicking you right into a car or chain-whipping you right off your bike, you’ll soon realize the malice present in your digital rivals. This of course only makes it that much sweeter when you do ultimately take them down.
As you win races, you’ll start qualifying for harder ones, and so will the best of your rivals. If you make sure to upgrade your bike accordingly, it won’t be long before you’re blowing by your old rivals on the way to challenging new ones. This progression makes it so that you’re constantly invested in beating the competition, even when you’re just playing against the computer.
Lots To Look Out For
The other racers aren’t the only problems you’ll face though: you also have to worry about the police and your bike’s health. If your bike takes too much damage, you’ll be disqualified from the race and an ambulance will have to pick you up (which of course comes with a bill). If you fall without destroying your bike, you’ll have to run all the way back to it. On the other hand, if you fall off your bike anywhere near a police offer, you’ll be disqualified, arrested and forced to pay a hefty bail.
Although there are a lot of obstacles to deal with, the game gives you enough control to defend yourself by allowing you to steal other bikers’ weapons and using them against your competition, or even against the police. This means that you can either play it smart in a race or go full-on aggressive, beating your competition down until you’re the only one left riding. Hundreds or even thousands of racing games have been made since January 1993, most of them looking much better than Road Rash II, but none have captured my heart half as much.
If you want to start your journey as a biker warlord, go play Road Rash II right now. You can emulate it using the Gens Sega Genesis emulator, and you should have no problem finding a rom of Road Rash II online. Though, of course, that would be illegal.