Overall Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
For the Nintendo Entertainment System, there was no shortage of auto-racing games. From the crude top-down racers such as Super Sprint or the sequel-spawning classics like Rad Racer, this was a genre that enjoyed solid success on the NES. One of the more distinctive titles was a racing adventure called R.C. Pro Am.
This race featured remote-controlled cars, with a one-player option to traverse the circuit through two dozen different tracks, utilizing temporary pick-up weapons in attempts to gain trophies and simply continued as long as the player avoided finishing in last.
But the important question is: Was it a good game?
Here is the highlight of Pro Am: It looks great. The animation is smooth and handles the high-speed sprites well, the entire experience is vividly colored, and the tracks occasionally take advantage of the small, remote-controlled theme. Overall, the game does a decent job of cramming an arcade-style environment onto a Nintendo cartridge.
The soundtrack is unimpressive, with effects that range from standard to straight-up annoying, and limited selections of background music that do little to enhance the trackside atmosphere.
Although much of the game is fairly typical racing fare, one true bastion of creativity it can boast is its use of race-course weaponry. This is among the first games, especially for the NES, to provide attack items in a racing title. Otherwise, though, it is very similar to racers such as Micro Machines releases or others.
There are two reasons for such a low rating, and they are both fundamental development flaws: Firstly, the key to enjoyment for all racing games (or arguably party games, fighting games, etc.) is to emphasize the competitive spirit and get the player’s adrenaline going. However, with the stunning lack of multiplayer, all a player can do is mindlessly race against the same A.I. opponents over and over again, without ever making it personal or gaining the human edge in an opposing racer.
Secondly, this is one of the NES games that failed to move past the arcade formula of simply playing to a high score. In R.C. Pro Am, there are 24 tracks, but they repeat, endlessly, until the player loses a race. With each track the computer gets slightly faster, until they inevitably reach speeds that the player cannot match. This provides an extraordinarily stale, repetitive, unfulfilling gameplay experience. This was a game that was never worth owning, was questionable even to rent, and only worth a quick look at your friend’s house to see the snazzy lookin’ RC vehicles zip around the track once or twice. It firmly deserves a low one and a half stars out of five.
To receive fair warning of other poor NES games, review NintendoLegend.com.