RC Pro Am
Box Shot
RC Pro Am
Platform: NES
Publisher: Nintendo
Designer: RARE
Genre: Racing
Players: 1
Published Date 1987
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

Instead of most racing games, which have a behind-the-car view, R. C. Pro Am breaks that mold by changing the view to an overhead view at a slight angle. Instead of racing real cars, they're radio controlled ones, the object simply being to get into first place. Three other cars will race you for that title.

There are a total of 32 tracks in R. C. Pro Am. There is a pre-determined number of laps to be passed in a given course. If you place last (or "out", as the game calls it) then you lose the game and must continue (you only get a few of those!) Win the race, and you go on. Of course, the tracks aren't just roads to travel on. You'll deal with oil slicks (spin out of control), rain puddles (slow you down) and walls that appear in the middle of the road. Also watch for little turbo boosts to zip you ahead. Additionally, little letters can be found littering the track. Pick up enough of them, and you get a new car!

You also have to be on the lookout for power-ups. There are acceleration boosts, better tires and faster high speed upgrades lying out on the track to make your car operate better. Other power-ups will make you temporarily invincible, so you can't crash or so you can knock other cars out of the way. If that wasn't enough, one of the coolest additions is the ability to use weapons. Ammunition can be found around the track for two different weapons: a missile launcher (use for enemies in front of you) and dynamite (for enemies behind you.) This is a rather cool addition, as it allows you to steal (or keep) the lead.

The B button accelerates while the A button will shoot whatever weapon you have. Pressing right or left on the controller will make your car turn in that direction (as you'd expect.) It takes a little while to get used to how everything controls, as the cars turn rather fast even without upgraded tires. Even with some practice, you'll find yourself bumping int the edge of the track quite often. This does nothing other than slowing you down a bit, so it's nothing big.

Still, there are some quarrels I have with the gameplay. Although the enemy cars aren't perfect (they will run through puddles, crash, etc.) they always seem to know where the acceleration arrows are, plus they seem to get bursts of speed out of nowhere. Occasionally, an opponent can actually go so extremely fast, that they'll lap you without any trouble. This is just wrong. Also, whenever a car passes over the finish line, the race automatically ends. In other words, if you're in last place, and someone crosses the finish line, you have no chance to try and catch up with the rest of the cars. You just lose. This can also work to your advantage though, if you don't want other vehicles to catch up.

The visuals, on a whole, really aren't that impressive. The graphics are crisp, and the cars are nicely animated, but otherwise it's pretty bland on a whole. The rack is grey, the grass in green and the cars are relatively undetailed. There's very little in the way of music, and the sound effects are mostly little power-up ditties and engine revving noises. Not the most pleasant things to listen to, actually.

R. C. Pro Am is one of those games that can sit down, play for about twenty minutes, put on the shelf and then play again in a few days. Although this isn't the game you can play for a long amount of time at once, it has lasting power and still is rather fun. A password feature to skip tracks or some sort of level select would've been welcomed to reduce the repetetiveness, but it'll keep you coming back for more.