The Ideal MMO – Road Rash Online

With my previous Ideal MMO articles I avoided being too specific, deciding to stick with genres over that of certain games; however this time I thought I’d approach it a little differently. So for this episode of Ideal MMO I’m going to take a trip down a nostalgia filled memory lane and revive a franchise I held so dearly as a younger gamer; Road Rash.

If you’re not familiar with the game it was originally released on the Sega Mega Drive way back in 1991. It was primarily an arcade style motorbike racing game, but with a fun twist; you could beat the living crap out of your opponents. Baseball bats, chains and cattle prods are just some of the devastating weaponry available as you hurtle down the freeway at 100mph.

The franchise spawned quite a few titles before eventually reaching its demise in the form of the EA Replay bundle that launched in 2007. Although the original games would be mocked to high hell today, they still hold a certain element of unique quality that we rarely see in today’s industry. Sure, the road wasn’t actually moving and the bike animations sucked, but Road Rash was basically the Need for Speed of its day. Not only did you face the adrenaline fueled challenge of avoiding cars and livestock, but the police and opponent racers were just as much of a threat.

Then one day while browsing through my local game store I stumbled upon Road Rash 3D. Like a fat German child in Willy Wonka’s factory I was ecstatic, I snapped it up immediately and wasted the next several weeks of my life playing it. Although it didn’t have the same amount of focus on combat as the original did, it was still a great game and the ability to smash up other racers in an online 3D game was still mindless fun. 

It was soon after that I craved the same experience but alongside other players, dozens of them. Each with their own selection of devastating weaponry, pimped out motorbikes and custom designed leathers but alas, it wasn’t to be. Maybe it was something to do with the lack of imagination from the developers; but it was more likely due to the fact that dial-up internet wasn’t even considered the norm back then.

Racing MMO games don’t really occupy a large area of the MMO genre but there has been quite a few over the years. Titles such as Upshift Striker Racer enjoyed a brief time in the limelight but there hasn’t really been a racing MMO that has captured the hearts of hardcore racing fans; at least not one as unique as Road Rash.

So what do you think? Would you enjoy smashing your friend across the face with a metal chain while traveling down a highway dodging traffic and police vehicles?

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