To be honest guys this is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to write. So i’ll pull the Band-Aid off quickly…
Road Rash II isn’t that good.
Road Rash II follows Road Rash in that it is a racing game with a twist. 5 tracks to race on, 5 levels, no checkpoints (unusual for a Genesis era game), and, AND, you whomp people in the face. Punch, kick, club or chains are all acceptable weapons and your aim when not trying to whomp opponents, is attempt to beat them fair and square in a standard racing game. If you finish in the Top 3 of a race you qualify, and if you qualify in all 5 races you move onto the next level where you repeat the same 5 levels just slightly longer.
This is however where the game starts to drag. The starter bike is wank, it really is, I guess people who have a perfect racing line will be able to win with it, but I suck balls. I basically need to grind out the early levels until I get enough cash to start placing higher up in the rankings. The problem is, come 3rd you qualify, but the money is pretty poor for 3rd, you need to come 1st in a race to make it worth your while. This leads to inevitable grind where you repeat the same level over and over aiming to come higher each time, until you 1st place. Then you repeat this on the next track. It is of course, boring doing this. Again, some kind of Melvin that has been playing Road Rash II for 25 years will be able to piss through it, but the rest of us Road Rash II will descend into a tedious grind.
Other than that, you best get good at avoiding obstacles as Road Rash II really ramps up with shite in the road. Even on early levels you can expect blind hills with cars in both lanes. Cows will chill in the road, elks (or deers?) road signs all litter the road meaning I spent the first few hours blowing my bike up.
What is new?
Disappointingly there doesn’t seem to be anything new, with only a chain and a tweak to how combat works which changes how the amount of damage hits will deal. Other than that there is a Nitrous Oxide speed-boost that I actually didn’t notice when playing if you buy a Nitrous bike,
Other than that the changes make the game a little bit worse. For starters, the Police Men seem to have been stripped of personality. What happened to Officer O’Leary? That was a cool rivalry in my head, there were specific cops I would actively slow down for and whomp them off their bikes. In Road Rash II I don’t care about the Officers as to me giving them an arbitrary number makes them crappy automatons that lack character. They do get names in cutscenes, but this is too late, and you will only see the name of an Officer if you’re busted.
Our lord and saviour RNGesus is in full effect in Road Rash II and while it will keep each playthrough different enough it is fucking infuriating when the game conspires to butt fuck you. Imagine this, Level 5, last race, your 17th attempt, you’re in first place with 0.1 mile to go. The finish line is on a crossroad. There are cars in both lanes, and one cutting across the crossroad. You crash, you come 4th. Expletives were more than uttered…
I am slightly disappointed in Road Rash II, it was one of my favourite games growing up and I was playing it all night with a mate the night Princess Diana died. I have the fondest of memories but playing it through now without the nostalgia glasses I am left disspointed. The racing is a little one dimensional, and I actually muted music from the game and put up with the mosquito buzz-like sound effects that drove me mad in Road Rash.
However, Road Rash II t is marginally better than the first!
Pros: Still fun in small doses, decent enough racing
Cons: Way more grind heavy than I remember, Police lack personality by in game naming
Back in the Day:
Scoring 9s out of 10s across the board, Road Rash II will frequently feature in Megadrive to 20s.