Super R.C. Pro-Am
Once the following fact was known, there was no way for me to start this review other than to state that Super R.C. Pro-Am, the direct sequel to the NES game R.C. Pro-Am, received a score from Ace Magazine of 887/1000. So the question remains, where did Rare go so wrong, and how could those missing [gets calculator] 113 points be lost?
They were certainly not taken off for looks. The vehicles no longer appear as a strange amalgamation of 1930's livery trucks and a Toyota Hilux circa 1988. Although the cars now appear as slick remote controlled vehicles, they control as if you are driving through an oil slick. Gone as the responsive controls, as they are now replaced with a syrupy backswing while taking every corner. This leads the game to be less twitch reliant and more deliberative, which is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly given the much smaller, and more difficult to see screen of the original Game Boy.
As with the original, this is a top-down racer in isometric view where there is only one speed, which you control by depressing the B button. Steering control is on an as-needed basis, where a single tap of the directional pad is enough to guide your vehicle around various hazards and towards vehicle upgrades that are scattered around the course. If you place, you move onto the next track, with a vehicle upgrade screen appearing based on what you obtained on your last race. Adding to this sequence, as a nod to the Game Boy, this version of the game includes a dot matrix printer that prints out the result to the prior race.
The opponents in Super R.C. Pro-Am, are more sedate in this entry, but this is offset by the ability to play against human opponents using the Game Link Cable (which came in the box with every Game Boy). This brings the game's enjoyment into an entirely higher level, particularly the combat element, much as was later replicated in games like NAMCO's Battle Cars and Nintendo's Mario Kart.
For the benefit of the reader, I played Super R.C. Pro-Am on an original Game Boy, a Game Boy Color, and a Retron 5. Like a starkly lit bedroom, the Retron 5 revealed a little too much, and robbed the romance from what the Game Boy presented in a blur of spinach green sprites. The Game Boy Color actually approved upon the sharpness of the sprites, and presented the player vehicle in blue, pleasantly differentiating it. Since this game in not included in the marvelous Rare Replay for the Xbox One, finding a cartridge of the game and playing it on the Game Boy Colour remains the best way to enjoy it.
Given the accessibility of portable game, deeper vehicle/ weapon upgrade options and the multiplayer potential, Super R.C. Pro-Am improves on the original, but sadly not to the extent where I can award 887 points.
- Phil Fogg