Random Game Wednesdays: R.C. Pro-Am (Rare Replay)

Despite being a huge fan of Rare and the NES, R.C. Pro-Am is kind of a blind spot for me. It’s a game I had certainly heard about a lot, and it’s possible that I may have played it at one point in time, but I have no real memory of it. Well, today that changed. I used the random number generator that I always use for these posts and it gave me Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll, but since I had already covered that one, I tried a second time and it gave me R.C. Pro-Am.As the name implies, R.C. Pro-Am is a game where you race remote controlled vehicles. Honestly, it’s kind of a weird premise. In a video game, you could be controlling anything. Why not race real trucks? Instead, it’s a game about racing toys. But I’m not holding that against it. It just seems like an odd choice to me.

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The game is played from an isometric point of view, similar to other Rare NES games Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll and Cobra Triangle. The controls are also very similar to those games. You hit left to turn left and right to turn right, but it’s always from the perspective of the truck. So, if the truck is facing down, hitting right will turn the truck towards the left of the screen. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to expect that from those other games, but I found it very easy to get used to this time around.

The actual game is fairly simple. Every race is between four trucks. In order to advance to the next race, you’ll need to finish in at least third place. To make things a little more interesting, there are plenty of power-ups to find along the track. Some of them give you weapons, like missiles that will temporarily take out one of your opponents. Others give permanent stat boosts, like increasing your top speed. It’s pretty cool, because you don’t see that kind of persistence in games of this age very often.

Although the early courses are pretty easy, the difficulty quickly ramps up. As you advance through the game, you’ll find more and more hazards on the road. These can include oil spills that slip you up or storm clouds that slow you down. From what I could tell, the computer players were much more skilled at avoiding these traps than I was. It often didn’t feel fair, but that’s not too uncommon for games on the NES.

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The graphics won’t blow you away, but they are very pleasant looking. The grass is a nice shade of green and the road is what you’d expect. There’s some nice little details, like trees along the course. That’s actually kind of weird though, since we’re using remote controlled trucks. Are the trees tiny or the trucks gigantic? Maybe they’re fake trees? Or I’m just thinking about it too much. Either way, it’s a nice looking game.

I didn’t go into R.C. Pro-Am with any real expectations, but left it feeling pretty satisfied. It’s hardly amazing, but it is a great pick up and play sort of game that you can have a lot of fun with in short bursts. There’s several games on Rare Replay that I think make the collection worth it on their own, and R.C. Pro-Am isn’t one of those. But, if you decide to buy it for Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, or any of those games, you won’t be mad that this was included too.

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