Who remembers the SEGA Mega Drive? The 16-bit games console was released in Japan and the US in 1988 and 1989, but only really came to South Africa in a big way in 1993 following the release of Mortal Kombat on the machine. You could get them here before that, I saw them, but only in specialist stores – and if you were prepared to pay through the nose.
Anyway, one of my favourite games on the machine was called Road Rash, which I used to borrow from a friend for extended periods. Odd that a motorcycle racing game should have been one of my favourites, seeing how I didn’t like racing games back then – but what set this one apart from others is that it included combat. Yes, in addition to racing, you could kick, punch and bludgeon other racers if you managed to steal a club from one of them. The game also featured some of the rocking-est chiptune music you’ve ever heard. There were two more Road Rash games on the Mega Drive, and a few more on other consoles, the most recent being on the PlayStation in 2000, which was a surprise to me, I didn’t even know – but since then, nothing.
Until now, that is. Road Redemption is one of those indie Kickstarter efforts that’s been floating around in early access for a few years. I don’t buy early access games, for obvious reasons, but I kept the game in my Steam wishlist to wait until it got an official release – which happened last week.
It’s meant to be a spiritual successor to Road Rash, and that’s exactly what it is. There are two main modes, starting with the single player campaign, which contains rogue-like elements. You attempt to race across the US, but in between each race, you can use money earned to restore your health or buy weapon upgrades. When you die, you lose it all and go back to the start – except for any permanent upgrades you bought with XP, or riders and bikes you’ve unlocked by reaching certain milestones.
There’s a very simple online mode too. Two teams, red and blue, compete in a best-three-of-five races grand prix. The winning side of each race is determined by adding each racer’s finishing position and kill points into the score pool. As you play the online mode, you’ll earn experience and rank up and be able to choose better bikes, stronger riders, and more damaging weapons.
And there’s not much else to say. It’s a fun little time-waster, and a bit of an oddity for the PC, considering is contains split-screen multiplayer also. Apparently console versions are in the works for 2018. If there’s any way they could put this on the Nintendo Switch, I’d be a happy guy.