Review by Psycho Penguin

"Wroom.. Wroom... Wroom!"

I have always been a pretty big fan of NES racing games in general. While I have not enjoyed some of the ones I have played (Monster Truck Rally comes to mind), I have usually been able to find myself entertained by the average NES racing game. So, I expected to enjoy the racing game called RC Pro AM I picked up about five years ago. It did not have incredible graphics or anything, but it is a NES game, so I was not expecting to see too much incredible graphics or anything. But the game itself is very fun, maybe even more fun than Excitebike in certain ways.

I definitely was impressed with how fun the game was. It may not have been as fun as Excitebike, with the ramps and create a track mode that Excitebike provided. Yeah, the only thing that separates Excitebike and RC Pro AM, in my opinion, is the fact that Excitebike features one of those nifty ''create your own track'' features. I spent many hours with that featured and would have loved to see it implemented into RC Pro AM. It probably would have increased the replay value of the game for me.

Regardless, this game is not about what it does not feature. It is all about what it does feature. And what it happens to feature is one of the most fun game play elements I have ever played in my entire gaming life. Besides featuring all the fun elements that every racing game features, it also features new stuff that makes the game such a blast to play. For instance, the game features some tracks that are revolutionary and very fun to play. I will talk about them more when I get to the game play section.

The graphics in the game are actually pretty good, despite what I might have said earlier. The cars are not that large, but they are easily visible, because the tracks backgrounds are not that distracting, at all. That is the one thing I could really appreciate about the graphics in this game. They are not perfect, but everything is easily distingushed from everything else. The tracks themselves are not revolutionary but are solid enough, there is grass around the track and the track is gray, the tracks have different items which have different colors, etc. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the quality of graphics in the game.

The music and sound effects in the game are also pretty solid, but not revolutionary. I liked the sound effects in the game, despite the fact that most of them were your basic ''racing game sounds''. There were some other sounds, however. Like the sound of the weapons shooting into the cars, or the sounds of the cars crashing after they run into a water puddle or something. There is not much music in this game, but what is featured is good enough for me. I especially like the music that played after you won a race, it sounded pretty neat, to say the least.

I liked the controls in this game a lot, although they did have some basic problems. You will end up using the B button and B button a lot more than you might use in other games. In this game, you use the B button to accelerate your car, and you use the A button to shoot weapons at your opponents. It may seem simple enough to do, and for the most part it is. However, after a while it may get a little annoying to have to accelerate your car and shoot weapons at the same time. And I wish there would have been a ''nitro'' feature, but I guess the speed arrows replace it. Overall, I was impressed with the controls, despite their flaws.

RC Pro AM may feature more game play variety than any other racing game on the NES. There are 32 tracks to choose from, and each track is designed differently, and each track has a different number of laps they make you drive through in order to complete the stage. You need to finish in the top three in order to move on, which is pretty simple considering there are only four places you can possibly be in. I am pretty sure you need a higher race ranking to move on in the later races, but I sadly forget it at the moment.

There are also other elements to watch out for during the races. You can collect letters during the races, which spell out NINTENDO. If you collect eight of them (in eight different tracks), you can power up your car to the next model. There are three models: the regular car, the thing that looks like a SUV, and the sports car. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. You can also power up your car during the tracks by collecting stuff like tires. Finally, you can gain weapons, which you can use to stiffle your opponent(s) in it(s) tracks. You can get a missile or a bomb, the missiles shoot forwards, the bombs tend to stay behind you.

There are hazards to watch out for, however. Besides opponents weapons, you need to watch out for stuff like water puddles and oil slicks, as well as speed traps. Speed traps can be used to your advantage, as they make your car go faster, but sometimes they will move your car right into a oil slick, causing it to crash. Other hazards to avoid: water puddles (slow your car down), thunderstorms (moving rain puddles), and oil slicks (these suckers will litereally throw you off the road, and can be the difference between winning and losing a race.)

The game is not the most fun ever, and it certainly is not the most addictive ever, but it does feature solid replay value. The only thing that makes this game as fun to replay as it is, is because of the fact the game is so much fun! I literally can spend hours on end playing this game, and I used to a while back when all I had was my NES to play. But nowadays I do not find myself playing this game as much as I used to. I think it is because I have completed the game about ten times now, so I kind of got bored by it after a while. It still was extremely addictive to play through, at first, however. As I mentioned in my introduction, I felt the game could have benefitted from the usage of a create a track mode. It would have been a lot of fun, and would have added an added degree of fun to the replay value department.

This game may seem easy to play through, through the first few stages, but after that it gets tough. It took me a year to complete this game when I first got it. It is 32 tracks long (as the cover clearly and nicely points out), so of course the game is quite long. The later tracks get extremely hard, as some of the traps they throw out there are quite annoying, and the amount of weapons you get definitely decreased as you neared the end of the game. Regardless, this is not the most challenging game ever. It definitely was a nice challenge, however. I think experts of racing games will have little trouble completing it, but boy, five years ago beating this game was like enjoying a Playboy with Chyna in it.

Overall, I was really impressed with this game. It definitely had its fair share of problems, as the graphics and music were not that great, but at heart the game was simply addictive and very fun to play. I may not play this game as much as I used to, but what do you expect? I only have about 1000 more games available to play now then I did then! Regardless, I would still enjoy playing this game if I chose to play it nowadays, even after all these years. If that is not the sign of a good game, then I do not know what is.

Good Points
-The game is addicting and very fun to play.
-Collecting all the letters to make the word NINTENDO adds a degree of fun to the game.
-The sound effects are pretty good.
-The game may have more game play variety than any other NES racing game.
-I really liked the control in this game.

Not So Good Points
-The graphics could have been better.
-The music could have been better.
-The game was pretty challenging back in the days..
-A create a track mode would have been cool.

I Run Down the Ratings.. DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line - Not Available
Graphics - 7.1/10
Music - 6.2/10
Sound Effects - 7.7/10
Control - 9.1/10
Game Play - 9.2/10
Replay Value - Above Average (Mike Sanders)
Challenge - Above Average (Mike Sanders)
Is this game worth a purchase? - Definitely.
Overall - 9.3/10

The Last Line
I was really impressed by the quality of this game. It may not be perfect, but no game is. A create a track mode would have been nice, and some technical aspects of the game could have been improved, but none of that means anything to me. I enjoyed playing the game, and had a lot of fun. The two player mode in the game, despite the fact I did not even mention it, was one of my favorite parts of the game, and that too was a lot of fun. Overall I was really impressed by the quality of the game. It is a shame the sequel turned out a lot worse.

And that is a Ladies Man guarantee!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/06/01, Updated 07/16/01


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