(Super Nintendo)

Rock & Roll Racing (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Rock & Roll Racing Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Are you ready to rock?

While Rock & Roll Racing began life as a direct sequel to their original RPM Racing release on the Super Nintendo console, the guys at Silicon & Synapse decided to amp things up a bit for their new racing title. They added in a classic hard rock soundtrack, some unique race announcing from Larry "Supermouth" Huffman, and a much more responsive and playable gameplay system to form a game that is considered to be one of the better racing titles available for the console. So how exactly does this game hold up 15 years later and is it still as much fun to play now as it was back in the day?

There are basically two modes of play to choose from when you start the game. You can choose to play the standard game that allows you to take on three other racers in an 8 racetrack free-for-all, or the VS Mode that allows you to go head-to-head with another racer. While the game can be played as a single-player experience, it's even more fun if you can round up another player to compete against.

You basically control your race car using the D-pad or the shoulder buttons on the Super Nintendo controller. Both work equally well, and once you get a feel for the unique RC-style of play control, you'll be blazing your way around the many tracks in the game with ease. Your goal is to finish each race in first place in order to earn the big bucks. While fancy driving plays a key role in accomplishing this objective, you'll also need to make use of your weapons in order to take out and slow down the opposing racers.

As you win races, you'll earn money that you can use to purchase better cars, car parts, and weaponry. You'll find this necessary in order to be competitive in many of the advanced racing classes. There are a wealth of different cars and parts to choose from, so there's always plenty of incentive to keep going back and winning races in order to buy better equipment.

The play control scheme itself might take a little getting used to, but it becomes very intuitive once you get a handle on it. The control in the game is very responsive and allows you to spend more time concentrating on the race itself and less time trying to fiddle with the controls. There are a large number of different tracks to take on, so there's never a lack of variety when it comes to the various races on the different planets. It's nice to see that the developers tightened up the sluggish play control of RPM Racing when they put this sequel together and it makes for a much more enjoyable racing experience this time around.

Visually Rock & Roll Racing is a fairly big step up from RPM Racing. There's a lot more detail in the various tracks, not to mention the cars and racers themselves. It's also nice to see that each planet also has its own unique backdrop and race track style. You'll almost never see the same race track theme repeated throughout the game which adds a nice layer of variety to the game's graphical presentation.

When it comes to hard rocking soundtracks, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than Rock & Roll Racing. Not only are the classic hard rock songs extremely well done in the game, but they're also some of the biggest hard rock hits ever crafted. You'll hear everything from Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" to "Born to Be Wild" from Steppenwolf. There's not a bad track in the entire game and when you toss in some absolutely amazing racing commentary from Larry "Supermouth" Huffman, what you have is one of the best audio productions ever heard in a 16-bit racing title.

Conclusion

It goes without saying that if you're a fan of the NES classic RC Pro Am, you're going to absolutely love the racing action in Rock & Roll Racing. Not only is the core gameplay idea still intact, but the unique hard rock soundtrack and impressive race announcing breathe new life into the game and make it truly stand out from the other racing titles available for the Super Nintendo system. If you're a fan of the isometric racing genre, you owe it to yourself to see why so many racing game fans hold this game in such high regard. It's not only one of the more enjoyable racing titles to come out of the 16-bit era, it's also one of the more unique as well.

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User Comments (39)

JamieOStaff

#2

JamieO said:

Excellent, I am a fan of isometric racing games and I completely love Rock & Roll Racing. Nice one, Corbie. :)

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#3

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Yes this game kicks so much ass! Thank you for reviewing this and this is a surprise. I would give it a 9 personally but you guys still gave this game justice. A true classic and we may never see it on VC because of some of the music tracks, but this is an awesome game

TheLonelyGamer

#7

TheLonelyGamer said:

This game is so awesome, one of my favorite racing games for SNES! :)
You gotta love the announcer (Larry) too! "LET THE CARNAGE BEGIN"!!! :D
Oh, and here is a little secret character in the game, there is a hidden character named Olaf (from The Lost Vikings), to play as him, on the character select screen, press and hold L and R and Select and go through the characters until you see Olaf, but the problem is that he is quite the cheapshot (hard to explain why).

JamieOStaff

#8

JamieO said:

It is 1.40am here in the UK and Corbie has inspired me to boot up Rock & Roll Racing, I just hope that I don't wake my girlfriend up with that funky Blues Brothers bass line. I've picked Ivanzypher because he looks like Chewbacca. No need for bed, I can hear Larry calling... "Let the carnage begin!" :)
*** Doh, I didn't mean to rip off TheLonelyGamer's use of a quote, I was typing it before I had read his post. I best get back to it, "Ivan is about to blow!" ***

deejrandom

#9

deejrandom said:

Rock and Roll racing is one of my favorite SNES games: It ranks up there with Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Chrono Trigger. I haven't played a battle racing game I've liked as much... Sure I've had fun with the newer ones, but this game is one that I just loved. When my friends would play me, they would battle for second cause they knew they couldn't get first :) Little did I Know that the company behind this game (and the Lost Vikings) would become Blizzard.

The_Fox

#11

The_Fox said:

I remember having a good time with this one. The controls are a bit tough at first if I recall.

@ryanknight
I doubt this one will hit the VC. At the very least the music would have to be removed/altered.

JamieOStaff

#12

JamieO said:

Like The Fox says, anyone who has played this knows that all of the atmosphere would be lost if they had to remove the soundtrack.
Just like Corbie said, I guess that because this viewpoint for racing games is completely old school, some people may find that they need to adjust to the controls, but I found it as smooth as silk for gamers who have played lots of other isometric racers.
Anyways I bought my Air Blade, raced to victory and I scored many a first place knockout.
Now I need to head to bed, after all... "Jamie is in another time zone". ;)

Ren

#14

Ren said:

I loved this game, wow does it take me back. Such a treat to have these random old games reviewed here. What was that other strange racer by Rare for the nes with spaceships that was a little like this one too? Can't remember what that one was. Then theres the oft overlooked Cobra Triangle, one of my all time faves another lost Rare title that played a little like an early version of this. Love the music in this one.

WanderFan91

#15

WanderFan91 said:

Few things I'd like to say:

First of all, great review, Corbie. :)
Secondly, I loved playing R.C. Pro-Am for the NES and Mickey's Speedway USA for the Game Boy Color (both isometric racers from Rare) years ago, and this game sounds like a winner (I haven't heard of it as a kid). Perhaps I shall track down a copy someday (something tells me this game is awfully rare).
Finally, "Are you ready to rock?" is the best introductory sentence I've witnessed in a while. :3 :)

EDIT: OMG, I've landed on comment 15 on the Earthworm Jim 2 review as well. What are the odds? :O

TheLonelyGamer

#16

TheLonelyGamer said:

@StarBoy91: Well, you are correct, Rock and Roll Racing is a very rare game, it is a tad expensive, but I found a copy at a used game store for only 10 bucks, and it was worth the 10 bucks I spent! :)

DarkEdi

#18

DarkEdi said:

i played it because it was borrowed and i get fascinated by this game, i wanted to find the gba version but never seen it, now i want it for the vc.

North99

#19

North99 said:

"Ivan takes a FIRST PLACE KNOCKOUT!!!!!!!!!"

One of my favourite games ever.

MayhemStaff

#20

Mayhem said:

"Shred... is in another timezone!!!"

Loved this game to death back in the day, especially split screen two player with my brother. I think we just about rinsed it as far as we could...

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#21

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

i remember someone would be clear on the other side of the track and i always made a point to shoot off all my missles before crossing the finish line and it was always great when one of my shots actually killed somebody. lol

edhe

#22

edhe said:

@14
You don't mean Galaxy 5000 (by Activision) do you? The only racing games Rare made that I can think of are RC Pro AM and Cobra Triangle (where you piloted speedboats.)

Galaxy 5000 on the other hand saw you travel across the galaxy racing on tracks on each planet. You were able to shoot your enemies and destroy them, although this became easier when you upgraded your machine.

Zammy

#23

Zammy said:

I think I remember playing this on the Megadrive... I can't remember =P

JimLad

#24

JimLad said:

"Snake is dominating the race!"
What a cool game, Paranoid, Highway Star, Bad to the Bone, and that Blues Brothers song.
I would like to see this get updated as a WiiWare title maybe.

odd69

#25

odd69 said:

I look forward to retro reviews , thanks corb and well written review might i add!!

Ren

#26

Ren said:

@edhe
ah ha! Galaxy 5000, thats what it was. thought it was rare, guess not. Just a knock off of those other isometric racers, but a pretty good one. Those were all my favorite kind of racers in general. It'd be great if someone made something new that was comparable in some way.

Betagam7

#27

Betagam7 said:

Darkedi, forget about seeing this game on VC. The licensed music will see to that.

Travenous

#30

Travenous said:

Yesss!! This game was epic!! Racing to a midi version of Paranoid blowing up opponents with rockets... gotta love it!

KrazyKain

#31

KrazyKain said:

beleive it or not theres a still a following for this game today, some fan forum where alot of people challenge eachother for online matches using emulatiors net play. Theres some incredible matches on youtube (just look for Rock and roll racing online)

JaredJ

#32

JaredJ said:

I believe this game was released on the gba so I would say its possible for a VC release.

CorbsAdmin

#33

Corbs said:

Great to see that gamers are still playing this little gem. And JJ, that was my thinking. I'd say it's at least possible that we'll see the game on the VC service at some point. It would be nice to see. :)

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