R.C. Pro-Am

I mentioned before that I don’t really like the realistic racing games, and that’s still mostly true. But I also tend to gravitate toward games that are on the fringes of realism, so I can occasionally be found playing a realistic racing game, so long as it’s only on the fringe of realism.

Like R.C. Pro-Am. It’s a game about racing radio-controlled vehicles around a series of tracks for as long as you can. Sounds kind of lame and generic, I know, but there are several twists, each twistier than the last!

Like in real R.C. racing you see the action from the sidelines. But unlike real R.C. racing (or, more accurately, my interpretation of real R.C. racing) there’s crap all over the track that you have to pick up, each one somehow enhances your car on the spot and gives you a little speed boost. Better tires to help you turn, better engine parts to make you go faster, and other better engine parts to make you accelerate faster.

And then there’s the weapons.

Just because you’re racing little toy cars around tracks doesn’t mean that you have to race fairly. You get to pick up missiles and bombs to try and temporarily incapacitate the other schmucks on the track. You can’t actually take them out for good or anything, but you do slow them down a bit, and you need to slow them down a bit. The main reason is because one of the cars is a dirty cheater. Every once in a while you’ll hear this high-pitched noise and one of the cars will get some kind of super-speed and rocket ahead of the entire pack. In my experience, this happened when you were battling to stay in third place, then the last place car would get its super-boost and rocket into first place, leaving you in last, which means, unless you have some continues left, you’re staring at a big, fat, Game Over.


There’s all kinds of other stuff to pick up, roll cages to make you temporarily nigh-invulnerable, letters to the word ‘NINTENDO’ that, if you get them all will give you a better vehicle, and that kind of thing. And you also have to contend with track hazards like oil slicks, tiny rain squalls, and that kind of thing, you have a lot to think about in a sub-minute race.

But with all that crap to think about, it’s actually a whole lot of fun… until the computer cheats. I actually used to be reasonably good at this game, routinely making it through thirty or more tracks without too much trouble, but never quite seeing the end of the game. So I decided one day to use my Game Genie to make sure that I would come in first place every time (the other cars will just race around in circles). And then I raced and raced and raced for an entire afternoon. Although I don’t remember the precise number of tracks I went through, it was close to a hundred. It was about then that I decided that this game didn’t actually have an ending. It just ended when you either got tired of the game and turned it off or you just couldn’t keep up with it any more. And it’s pretty amazing how quickly the former will happen if you don’t have any competition.

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