R.C. Pro Am


Title screen.

Read the full review here.

“Here is the highlight of Pro Am: It looks great.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.

Feel free to agree, disagree, comment here, e-mail me, hit me up on Facebook about this, or whatever, but: This is a game that a lot of people seem to have liked, and still like, but I do not like. Yes, it had upgradeable cars; yes, it was one of the first racing-genre video games to feature vehicle weapons; and yes, that isometric view looked great and was innovative at the time; but, boy, I have never liked it.

This may be, for me personally, the ultimate example of a “taste game”; that is, a game that defines my taste, because it defies description otherwise. Of all the games I dislike, R.C. Pro Am is among the toughest to explain why, without sounding like a vague cop-out in using phrases like “it just always rubbed me the wrong way.”

It cannot even be a subconscious associative reason, because when I think of R.C. Pro Am I think of an old friend who had it, and who introduced me to hidden gems such as Rescue: The Embassy Mission.

Honestly? Maybe it is just because I always sucked at it.

But that cannot be the sole reason, as there are other NES titles I genuinely suck at but definitely acknowledge in their greatness, such as Tetris.

Is it the constant squealing of the tires? Is it how the upgrade system does not seem to make as much of an in-game difference as that of, say, Super Sprint? Is it the isometric viewpoint, which is fantastic for some genres but may not necessarily be ideal for a racer, especially when zoomed in a little too close? Is it the utter monotony involved with the go-go race-again-race pacing of the game yet lacking variety in the appearance of the tracks beyond the addition of curves? Is it the lack of multiplayer, or the thought that Rare could have done much better, or the fact that there is only a single mode of play, or that there is no save or password feature, or that the mechanics do not feel fully tightened up? Could it be those factors?

I think it ultimately, simply comes down to the core of what I believe reviewing should be all about, for better or for worse: My personal enjoyment of the game. I do not find R.C. Pro Am to be very fun, and thus will not give it a high score. Even in winning a couple races, the experience just seems haphazard and devoid of tension, tactics, or outright adrenaline. That may sound outrageous and absurd and like it flies in the face of reason, especially considering my love of Super Mario Kart and Galaxy 5000, but there my opinion stands nonetheless, within the weirdly wordless subtleties of Pro Am I find myself consistently disliking over the years.


Taking a brake.

Maybe it’s just that dirty cheating gray car.

One Response to “ R.C. Pro Am ”

  1. Interesting perspective that I hadn’t considered. For all its flaws, though, R.C. Pro-Am is a classic that remains well loved because of the simplicity of its formula, so in many ways it remains a double-edged sword. You fault the game for this, as you should, but it’s also one of the many reasons it has so many fans. It’s a great “pick up and play” game that fills that racing void easily and offers some level of depth without getting bogged down in over-complicating the experience. It’s a nice middle ground between the simplicity of Rad Racer and the deeper racing experience of “Al Unser Jr.” or later games like Ridge Racer or other titles with highly customizable cars. You have simple, yet effective upgrades to your vehicle, and the difference is immediately apparent after upgrading, which is something that gives the player the kind of instant feedback they need to know that they’ve made a good choice with their upgrade. I’ll agree that it’s flawed, and that as a “racing” game it probably fails due to the implausibility of it all, but that’s half the fun. Keep in mind these are RC cars shooting missiles at one another – some “suspension of disbelief” goes a long way toward enjoying this game for what it is.

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