22: R.C. Pro-Am

Genre: Racing

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1988

Basic Idea: Sneer at the pink car after you accidentally pick up the bombs instead of the missiles.

Review: Easily Rare’s best game (i.e. not frustrating as hell) on the NES, R.C. Pro-Am was probably the first racing game that had any lasting appeal and remains my favorite of the type on the NES.  Pitting your remote control car against three computer opponents, your goal is to finish third or better over the course of 32 tracks.  The tracks have frequent turns, even a few hairpins.  Oil slicks, water, and barriers get in your way, as well as bombs and missiles from your opponents.  Upgrades (like better tires) are also strewn throughout the tracks, as well as temporary turbo strips and roll cages.  Play control is perfect and the sounds are all appropriate.  It’s an easy game to pick and play with a steady learning curve.

My main issue with the game is that once you reach a certain level, the pink car goes into hyperdrive, preventing first place as an option unless you successfully gun it down with missiles several times.  The other opponents also implement catch-up logic and become very difficult to beat as well.  I don’t think I’ve ever won this game without cheating (and by winning I mean starting back over at the beginning with no ending).

I’ve played the sequel briefly; I wasn’t wowed, but it’s certainly fine and probably worth a look if you enjoy this one.  I hear the multiplayer mode in the second game is horrendous.

8 thoughts on “22: R.C. Pro-Am”

  1. I played the ever living fire out of this game. I don’t know that I ever actually beat it, though, largely because of the awful memories of cheating AI that you just brought back.

  2. This game was rad in a way that Rad Racer was not (though both were very popular…that fact had to drive developers nuts. Do we put a ton of effort into this, or not? The rubes will eat it up either way).

    I played a ton of this game, but I too dropped it because of the pink car and the stupid AI. It’s one of those games where you could say “This game cheats,” and not be kidding whatsoever.

    Some racing games still have that rubber-band AI, rendering your first two perfect laps no better than solid-but-unspectacular laps. It drives me crazy.

  3. Finally, another game I played. All I remember was being terrible at this. That applied to basically every game I played back then though.

      1. Closer to the PSX/N64 era. Would have been the perfect age for SNES, but didn’t even get an NES until ~1989-90 and money kept it that way until the PlayStation. We had six or seven games and I was too uncoordinated back then to be any good at any except… one? Thank goodness for the Game Genie.

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