Rating: Crappy After all these years of one great Road Rash game after another, Electronic Arts just had to release a stinker. And what a stinker Road Rash 3D is. The "3D" in the title is only reflected in the game by the graphics, which are now polygonal. Whoop-de-freakin-do! Other than much less draw-in taking place in the background, the graphics in Road Rash 3D are not noticeably better than the first Road Rash on the PlayStation. In addition, the game's music is the same basic style as Gran Turismo's music (alternative), but there's one big difference: Gran Turismo's music rocks, Road Rash 3D's music is annoying. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't care for Road Rash 3D's music one bit. This, coupled with the annoying squealing of the bikes' engines, was more than enough to convince me to turn off the sound. Still, I could have lived with the same old graphics and the horrible sound turned off, but unfortunately EA managed to screw up the gameplay, too. The gimmick this time around is that depending on what bike you buy, you automatically become a member of one of four different rival gangs. Sure, it's baffling logic, but it could have lead to some interesting Artificial Intelligence with rival gang members ganging up on you. However, all of this promise is meangingless once you get into the game because the combat is almost non- existent. You whiz past other bikes so fast (or vice-versa) that you rarely have a chance to engage in some combat, and even when you do it is only in brief spurts. This prevents the game from feeling like Road Rash, and thus the game is not worthy of carrying the Road Rash name. The control has also taken a major turn for the worse. The d-pad control in this game is very loose to say the least, and using the dual analog controller doesn't help much since you have to use one joystick to control speed and the other to control movement (which is much less comfortable than it sounds). The slightest movement out of the path of a straight line can easily send you skidding all over the track, at which point you usually go flying off your bike. Which brings me to the crashes. EA has also managed to ruin the crashes. First of all, it takes too little for a crash to take place in this game, which leads to some very unbalanced gameplay. Sometimes just slightly nudging a car in front of you will send you flying across the level as if you had just been shot out of a cannon. And the crashing animations themselves are now in slow-motion for some reason, which dramatically lessens their impact. Also, regardless of where you and your bike land, they both teleport back onto the road instead of making you walk to your bike as in past games (which is a bad thing since it prevents you from exploring the level at will like you could in previous Road Rash games). Even the usual quality presentation from EA is missing, with long load times and some truly pathetic Full Motion Video sequences. If you want a good Road Rash experience, check out the first Road Rash on the PlayStation and stay far, far away from Road Rash 3D.
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