Today is turn for Insert-Controller’s first ever retro review and it’s not going to be the usual retro games like Super Mario Bros. Or Legend of Zelda, more like the isometric racer, RC Pro AM.
RC Pro AM is a competitive combat racer developed by Rare Ltd in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Family Computer (Famicom), the game was published by Nintendo and was ported to Gameboy in 1991 called Super RC Pro AM, shortly after came a sequel in 1992 for the Sega Megadrive which was basically an enhanced version of RC Pro AM.
Unlike most racing games of the eighties RC Pro AM did not conform to the standard first-person racer and moved to an isometric point of view, it was very much like Atari’s Super Sprint. The game is only a single player game, in my opinion this was it’s only down side. The tracks are full of bends and turns and require allot of control with the D-Pad, what makes these twists and turns easier is the games engine which is designed around the ability to drift your vehicle to around the corners which is sometimes the best way to get ahead of the AI drivers.
While racing around you will collect upgrades for your RC which improve your speed, acceleration and handling, there is usually one upgrade for each part on every track and there is four upgrades per part. You can also collect a collection of weapons and defences to you against the other AI racers which is a perfect way to get in front of the competition and on a higher note the AI do not use weapons on you. You should always be careful while driving, and by that I mean luck out for pop up walls and oil slicks, pop-up walls blow your car up and oil slicks make you spin out for a second which if you hit a wall while spinning you will explode, the only other to watch for is puddles of water which can slow your car down significantly. You should watch out for the AI when they are passing you because they can shunt you into the edge of track causing you to explode. Yes this game is full of explosions, though they’re not explosions really, more like an invisible wrecking ball has landed on your car. The AI starts off dumb as a sack of potatoes and the first few stages are incredibly easy, as you advance they start to get harder and give more competition to the game. Once you have reached level 10 you will receive a bonus which is added to your score and you will also get a new RC for the stage 2 of tracks 1-10 which get much harder.
Winning the level is the same as most racing games, first, second and third place, if you don’t manage to get any of these places an “out” message will appear above your car until the player in first place touches the finish line, this stops the race and whatever place you are when the game stops will be used as your reward, this can be quite annoying if you are about to get in front of an AI when the game stops.
And now for a little of the bad stuff.
All games have their down sides, and so does this one.
When playing RC Pro AM you will notice that when you respawn after crashing, you will respawn facing the wrong way or against the track edge causing the AI to easily pass you by while you get your act together, this can also happen if you crash into a pop-up wall, you often spawn facing it causing you to either not be able to move until it goes down or crash into it again.
Sometimes you can shunt the AI and they will spin off into the edge and not explode, but if they shunt you into the edge you always explode.
Like I mentioned earlier, you can be milliseconds away from getting up to a better position but the AI in first crosses the finish line you won’t make the cut and if you are in last place you will not be able to use those extra seconds to get ahead and make the cut.
RC Pro AM is an awesome game and I totally recommend it to the retro heads out there. It’s a competitive racing game with the fun of blowing up your opposition, it reminds me of an early Road Rash but with RC cars not motor bikes and isometric not third person. It’s a ton of fun but don’t take my word for it give it a try at this link: