Road Rash spiritual sequel Road Redemption leaves early access, still as gloriously stupid as it needs to be


HIT HIM WITH THE CHAIN. Nothing else mattered. HAHA I HIT HIM WITH THE CHAIN. No-one cared about winning the race. THE CHAIN THE CHAIN HIT EACH OTHER WITH THE CHAIN ALL THE TIME THE CHAIN. This was the experience of trekking to the local games shop every school lunchtime, and paying the very obviously child-hating storekeeper 25p for a ten minute go on a Sega Mega Drive running Road Rash. It’s a motorbike racing game, but really it’s about hitting people in the face with chains. Road Redemption [official site], a spiritual sequel Kickstarted back in 2013, has spent the past 18 months promising it’s about to leave Steam Early access, and now, finally, it has. The chain is mine once again.

Actually, I think I prefer the spade now.

I took Road Redemption for a test drive three years ago, and as if the increasingly rapid passage of time wasn’t already bewildering enough, I’m fairly surprised to find how fundamentally similar the game is in 2017. Which is to say, at heart Road Redemption is incredibly stupid, because Road Rash was incredibly stupid and to do anything else would be sick and twisted villainy.

You drive fast along a desert road filled with cars and other motorcyclists. These motorcyclists will beat you with iron bars and stab you with knives and batter you with spades and rend you with chains if you get too close, which means that you must attempt to murder them at 120MPH before they can do these things. Sometimes it is a race, in which opponents can be eliminated with a swift spade to the face (although numbers are replenished from the infinite ranks of other motorists), and sometimes you are outright told to murder anyone else.

It’s more advanced than Road Rash in that there are modes, and more weapons, and all manner of vaguely nauseating murder- and crash-physics, but really it’s the game but faster and with far more regular bar/knife/spade/chain > face action.

One other big difference, though. Though it had AI opponents, Road Rash was a game that was really only fit for paying 25p so you could smack your mates in the face with a 16-bit chain. Road Redemption, by contrast, has a campaign, and it’s a little roguelitey.

Lest you fear this sounds complicated from a game that has always been the exact opposite of complicated, let me put it like this: you can upgrade weapons and replenish health between missions, and missions are basically only A RACE or MURDER EVERYONE. If you die, you lose your upgrades, but you get to spend experience on a different set of upgrades that provide minor boosts to e.g. health and damage forever. That’s it! It’s Road Rash but with unlocks, and some Australian fella occasionally shouting things at you in the background.

That’s my take after ooh, 45 minutes with it. Would I play more? Sure, why not? It’s a bit barebones, it looks rather more 2013 than 2017 and it’s about as deep as a week-old pancake, so I wouldn’t say it lives up to the whole four years of anticipation thing, but: bikes and weapons and SPEED and DEATH. That’ll do. It’s out now via Steam for £13.49/€17.99/$17.99 and has online, local and splitscreen multiplayer, the latter of course being what it’s really about. Get yourself a long HDMI cable, three friends and sit ’em in front of your telly. THE CHAINS.


  1. bob27 says:

    Wait did they finally add chains? They were still struggling with it for some reason last time I played.

    It’ll do, it’s not ‘bad’, but it’s clear that the devs were maybe biting off more than they could chew; which wasn’t actually all that much really.

    It really does look and feel like something released 10 years ago… But not in a retro way.

    • dontnormally says:

      what i want to know is: who thought guns would be a good idea?

  2. Jim Reaper says:

    I purchased this and GRIP a few months ago. I was really looking forward to trying this out, as I used to play it on the megadrive and had a real laugh with the 3DO version. It turned out to be disappointing tbh, and I haven’t touched it since, whereas I had a lot more fun with GRIP and still play it often.
    Tl;dr: just buy GRIP instead.

    • bob27 says:

      Grip is indeed awesome, but unless you only have the budget for one indie game this year it’s not really an either/or situation as they don’t really have anything in common :)

      But yea def buy Grip!

      • Jim Reaper says:

        True enough. I guess it’s because I bought them at the same time and the fact that they are both inspired by old games I used to enjoy that I lumped them together.

  3. AutonomyLost says:

    Fux yes, I will be checking this out. I spent so many hours accosting my buddies in this game when I was young, makes me smile!

  4. Maxheadroom says:

    “This was the experience of trekking to the local games shop every school lunchtime, and paying the very obviously child-hating storekeeper 25p for a ten minute go on a Sega Mega Drive running Road Rash”

    That’s giving me a weird sense of Deja vu. Was I that storekeeper? I would also games of street fighter 2 on the SNES. if they won they got game time, if I won they had to go to the newsagents next door and buy me sweets

    Would probably be considered grooming nowadays

  5. davebo says:

    This is one of those early access games I was happy to support, but then made the mistake of playing it a ton in its various stages of development, so now that it’s out of beta I’m kind of burnt out on it. It’s a really fun game but it’s not like some MMO you’ll sink hundreds of hours into.

  6. Neurotic says:

    I’ve got 20 hours on it so far, since… long ago. Early on in its EA career. I love it and highly recommend it, although (caveat) I am a huge old-skool Road Rash fan.

  7. Skabooga says:

    My brothers and I were fascinated by the demo to the original Road Rash for something like 3 months. After completing the single race on offer a hundred different ways, we staged competitions over who could fling their biker the furthest in a crash. We even looked at the file structure of the demo, realized each sound in the game was represented by an individual sound file, and recorded our own custom sounds for use in the game.

    We eventually bought the game a couple years later when we had saved up enough money. It could never live up to the experience of the demo, but one of the pre-race FMV video clips did have a guy who enthusiastically shouted, “Go! Go! Go! Go, baby go!” We still quote him to this day.

  8. lepercake says:

    Bet I wouldn’t have been as into motörhead if it wasn’t for Road Rash.. 6 year old me was convinced the “you fell off your bike” videos were snuff, and he loved it..

    I have no idea why this doesn’t look more like a “Motocross Madness 2: Guns and Shit Edition”. I’m sure Trackmania is Stunts meets F-Zero, and that went well, so why not? Doesn’t seem to have much replay value to me.

  9. AyeBraine says:

    First thing that was striking to me in Road Rash on Sega Mega Drive was the beating of other racers, of course, but the thing I remember most vividly, and weirdly was most impressed with, was that you could fall off the bike spectacularly, flailing in the air for hundreds of meters, then slide, then get up and jog back to the bike.

    This and the horrible caricatures in menus, and words MANO A MANO (I didn’t know English then, or its Spanish loanwords).

  10. Chillicothe says:

    Rob Hubbard soundtrack or GO HOME.

  11. haradaya says:

    There’s something so off about how this game looks and sounds. Yet, it’s more fun than it has any right to be.
    I always appreciate when a game goes for a simple story, that still manages to explain the gameplay. Sorta like Brigador.
    Catch up to the assassin and claim his huge bounty, beat everyone else to it.

  12. Estranged says:

    Ahhhhhhhh, Nicky Hayden