Rock N' Roll Racing is an isometric racing game which originally came out in the US in 1993 for the SNES and was developed by Silicon & Synapse (now known as Blizzard). It was ported to the Genesis the following year, with an additional track.
The game is based on Silicon & Synapse's earlier RPM Racing. Rock N' Roll Racing was meant to be a sequel to RPM Racing (its tentative title was "RPM II") until the decision to include licensed heavy metal and rock and roll music came about, at which point the name was changed to take advantage of this inclusion.
Blizzard later rereleased Rock N' Roll Racing on the GBA. A demo version of the game was uploaded onto their PC online service Battle.net, emulated through ZSNES. The game's lasting legacy means it continues to see imitators to this day.
The game puts four racers up against each other racing around tracks on various planets. Up to two players can play together while the rest is AI controlled. The game is viewed from an isometric view.
Although the title indicates that this is a racing game, there is a major emphasis on attacking competitors with many different weapons (rockets, mines, etc.) Although players respawn rather quickly, the cash bonus handed out for kills is always a good reason to fire that last rocket. Tracks are littered with various pickups such as oil slicks, mines, and health and money packs. Sometimes, depending on the planet the race is being hosted on, various obstacles like lava or snow, can appear.
Commentary is given by Loudmouth Larry (voiced by Larry "Supermouth" Huffman,) who chimes in throughout the race at key moments:
- The stage is set, the green flag drops!
- Let the carnage begin!
- Rip is about to blow!
- Hawk should avoid mines!
- Olaf lights him up!
- Holy Toledo!
- Olaf Unleashes Hot Fury!
Between the races, players can spend their hard earned money on outfitting their cars with more weapon charges, better parts (like improved bumpers or tires), or just buy a new car. The races always last for four laps and a nice cash and point reward is split between first, second, and third place. Players need to win a certain amount of points to be allowed to enter the next division on that planet, which features tougher opponents and a higher point requirement to advance. Completing the second division will allow players to proceed to a new planet.
Olaf the Stout from The Lost Vikings is a secret character with great stats and is accessible either through entering a secret code on the character select screen or through password manipulation. Another (possibly unfinished) secret character with high stats is also available through password manipulation, but there is no sound files or name attached to the character
There are five MIDI-orchestrated, instrumental covers of licensed songs in the game:
- "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath
- "The Peter Gunn Theme" by Henry Mancini
- "Highway Star" by Deep Purple
- "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
- "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers
A sixth track, "Radar Love" by Golden Earring, was added to the Genesis port and is exclusive to that version.
When the SNES version was released Electronic Gaming Monthly's Mike Weigand gave the review score of 8 out of ten writing, "...Music makes all the difference with this smash-and-destroy racing game. The two-player mode is a real blast to play! The several tracks and alien planets on which you can race add the variety the game needed to stand out".