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Rock N’ Roll Racing – SNES

Rock N’ Roll Racing – SNES

RNR SNESPlatform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System             

Developer: Silicon and Synapse

Publisher: Interplay

Release Date (NA): June 1993

Genre: Racing

Nerd Rating: 7.25 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Customizable battle cars that fire missiles on a variety of futuristic planets with rockin’ tunes? Um, yes please. That’s the premise behind Rock n’ Roll Racing. Crap, I gave it all away too soon. This could possibly be the shortest review I’ve ever written! Go buy this game!

–          Reviewed by Nerdberry!

No, just kidding. But seriously, Rock N’ Roll Racing is one of those rare gems out there that seems to have developed a bit of a cult status with fans praising the game for how damn fun and unique it is! Rock N’ Roll Racing saw a very limited release, only available for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and the Game Boy Advance (as a port in 2003). The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis versions are near identical, if not actually identical, while the GBA version is obviously vastly inferior due to limited hardware. But don’t let that fool you. Even as technology has gotten to a point where the PS Vita literally takes shits on Game Boy Advance’s old body, there are still a ton of great and timeless Game Boy games out there from 1989 to the early 2000s. This review is intended for the Super Nintendo version of Rock N’ Roll Racing, so you may need to discover the GBA one for yourself!

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Rock N’ Roll Racing was developed by the now-defunct Silicon & Synapse, who would later change their name to Blizzard and go on to do bigger things in life, such as the Warcraft series, StarCraft series, and Diablo series, all of which are major players in the PC market. Their exceptional gaming as Blizzard started with exceptional gaming as Silicon & Synapse, bringing us gems such as RPM Racing (short for Radical Psycho Machine Racing) in 1991, The Lost Vikings in 1992, and then the aforementioned Rock N’ Roll Racing in 1993. From a technical standpoint, Rock N’ Roll Racing was originally supposed to be RPM Racing 2, but due to a lukewarm reception of the first one, the publishers added licensed music, changed the game in a number of areas, and ultimately gave it a new title. The end result was a much more heralded racing experience!

Rock N’ Roll Racing is a battle-racing game in which 4 racers must battle their way through a variety of courses on a number of planets, duking it out for first place. Viewed from a top-down isometric perspective, the game is broken up into PLANETS, with a number of races per planet (division). Placing in the top 3 will award the player points, which are necessary for advancement to the next planet. In addition to conquering races for points, players also win money, which is used for vehicle upgrades. Players can upgrade their engine, shocks, tires, attacking capabilities, and more. This ability to upgrade your vehicle adds a different level of depth to the game, which in turn keeps the game pretty fun throughout.

Battle

Rock N’ Roll Racing features some intense racing battles with a high emphasis on destroying every vehicle you come across. Each vehicle can only stand a couple of hits, including running into too many walls, opponents, or being shot too many times. If your vehicle starts smoking, you’re toast. 1 more hit and you’re going down. But fortunately, you will respawn where you blew up in a matter of seconds, which helps keep you from falling too far behind in the race. Depending on your vehicle, you may have front and rear firing missiles in your arsenal. To start the game, you will only have one missile, which replenishes each lap. But you can use your hard-earned cash to upgrade your missiles, increasing the capacity up to 7 shots. And again, the missiles will replenish when you make a full lap, giving you a full 7 missiles again.

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Tracks and Planets

Racers will need a certain amount of points to advance to the next planet. Each successive planet features a more challenging track, set of obstacles, and generally more advanced A.I. in the opponents. Through these different worlds, the opportunity for getting destroyed by your opponents or accidentally destroying yourself by falling off of the tracks or hitting too many obstacles increases substantially.

Controls

The controls in Rock N’ Roll Racing seriously take some getting used to. One of the benefits of the SNES version over the Genesis version is the L and R shoulder buttons. Each button adds a little precision to your turning capabilities, which is much needed in these mean interplanetary streets. Regardless of which version you are playing, the isometric perspective makes it a little difficult to really decipher which directional button to press, though after a few races it really becomes second nature. Eventually, you will be weaving in and out, cutting the corners with precision and ease.

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With the B-button functioning as the accelerator, you might wonder what purpose the other buttons serve. The Y-button is used to fire your weapons forward and the A-button lays down a good oil spill to attack the guys behind you. If you hit too many of these oil spills your car will start to swerve uncontrollably. Then there’s the X-button, which makes your vehicle literally jump in the air. I think the concept is pretty cool and could really save you if you see yourself coming towards a large pool of oil and know you can’t get around it. In that case, simply leap over the spill. One issue to note is that the button placement is difficult. You don’t want to let off the gas for even one second as your car comes to a complete stop very fast, dropping you back.

Graphics

The graphics in Rock N’ Roll Racing are pretty damn phenomenal. They’re obviously not the best anyone has ever seen, but they are about as good as it gets on the Super Nintendo. The track designs are marvelous and the textured pattern they put on them really helped for 3D realization. There is a good amount of detail in each planet’s tracks, which really adds to the feel of this science fiction intergalactic tough-guy racing tournament. Nasty brown water, spikes protruding from the sides of the tracks, giant broken-down machines, and more. The colors are decent, but they do not fully utilize the Super Nintendo’s color palette, which is a shame.

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Music

The music in Rock N’ Roll Racing is what takes this racing game and makes it a unique 16-bit experience. Featuring licensed rock songs including Highway Star (Deep Purple), Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf), Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood), Paranoid (Black Sabbath), and one other I can’t quite place my finger on, you will instantly recognize most of these songs and will be able to hum along to them from planet to planet. The tunes will be stuck in your head all day.

Now, don’t get too excited as these songs are merely MIDI chiptune versions of the real ones, but the composers did such a phenomenal job that you’ll know exactly what it is based solely on their instrumental representations. It really adds a great amount to the overall feel of the game.

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Conclusion

The overall consensus amongst Rock N’ Roll Racing fans is that, well, this game rocks. They wouldn’t really be fans if they felt otherwise, now would they? Either way, there’s a lot of people who still remember this game fondly and for good reason. Rock N’ Roll Racing is a fairly deep racing game with a great feel to it. It’s an easy game to get sucked into, and Silicon & Synapse really did a fantastic job giving off this feel of actually racing in these otherworldly life-or-death tournaments. The emphasis on battling is a very welcome and enjoyable gaming element, very different from other racing games that focus solely on getting from start to finish. You will feel really satisfied when you time a missile perfectly and blow the daylights out of Viper Mackay’s stupid face!

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One very unique feature of Rock N’ Roll Racing is the in-game commentary updating current happenings. The ability to know exactly what’s happening to which racer with the right names and events is pretty amazing for a 1993 game. In addition, there is a password system that gives you the opportunity to put the game down and come back to it some other time. Rock N’ Roll Racing can be a very long game, considering racers have to gather enough points to advance to the next planet.

Rock N’ Roll Racing is not a perfect game, however. There are major respawning issues that can really set you back. For example, I was in 2nd place once and I blew up the guy in front of me. He respawned sort of in front/on top of my car, which stopped me dead in my tracks. Then the 3rd and 4th place racers passed both of us and won. Another example is when I accidentally fell off the track, I respawned on the upward slope of one of the little hills on the track. My car didn’t have enough power to really get over the hill, so it took nearly 5 seconds to slowly trudge upward. Another imperfection is the tediousness of having to race the same tracks over and over just to get enough points or money to beat the game.

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Overall, Rock N’ Roll Racing is a very fun, one-of-a-kind racing experience. It takes a traditional genre and makes it into its own, unique game, featuring a 3D perspective, intense battles, a vehicle upgrade system, and an intergalactic sci-fi tone. Despite the few flaws, there is not too much in the way of negatives for Rock N’ Roll Racing. The versus mode is fun, but the story mode is where it’s at.

Bring some fresh underwear, because you’re going to a new planet and you might crap yourself when you see these awesome racetracks.

Nerd Rating: 7.25 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.

 
 

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