R.C. Pro-Am

R.C. Pro-Am
Game title:
R.C. Pro-Am
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Rare, Ltd.
David Wise
Game manual:
50,451 times
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R.C. Pro-Am is a racing video game developed by UK-based company Rare. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) by Nintendo at North America in February 1988, and then in Europe on April 15 of the same year. Presented in an overhead isometric perspective, a single player races a radio-controlled car around a series of tracks. The objective of each track is to qualify for the next race by placing in the top three racers. Players collect items to improve performance, and they must avoid a variety of hazards such as rain puddles and oil slicks. It is an example of a racing game which features vehicular combat, in which racers can use missiles and bombs to temporarily disable opposing vehicles. Originally titled Pro Am Racing, R.C. Pro-Am was also ported to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1992 as Championship Pro-Am, an enhanced remake with enhanced graphics and additional features.

Listed by video game reviewers as one of Rare's first successful NES titles, R.C. Pro-Am was well-received for its visuals, sound, gameplay, and enjoyability. The game distanced itself from earlier racing titles by using an overhead, instead of a first-person, perspective. Reviews have cited it as inspiration for future games such as Super Off Road, Rock n' Roll Racing, and the Mario Kart series. It has appeared in many 'top games of all time' lists and is regarded as one of the best titles in the NES library.

R.C. Pro-Am is a racing video game in which a player controls a radio-controlled car against three opponents around a track from an overhead isometric perspective. Players use the horizontal buttons on the control pad to steer their car left or right, and they use the other buttons to accelerate, fire weapons, and pause the game. Consisting of 24 tracks total, the goal for each racer is to qualify for the next race by finishing in the top three in the four-car field. The game ends if players finish in fourth; however, they have two continues in which they can restart the previous race, but they will lose all points accumulated up to that point. For each successful completion of a race, the player receives a trophy; larger 'High Score Trophies', leading up to the 'Super Trophy', can also be obtained for achieving high scores. After the game ends, players can record their scores on 'Top Pro-Am Drivers' list, but the scores are erased when the console power is powered off.

Throughout the courses, there are items on the track that players can collect by driving over them. 'Tune-up items' help increase the car's performance, such as turbo acceleration, 'hotter engines' for higher top speed, and 'super sticky tires' for increased traction and cornering; these additional abilities are displayed on the 'track conditions' screen between races. Players can also collect weapons that can temporarily disable other vehicles: missiles take out the opposing vehicles from the front, while bombs take them out from the rear. The number of missiles and bombs carry over to the next race, and players can collect extra ammunition, represented by stars, on the track. Roll cages, which opponents can also collect, help protect cars from crash damage, stationary 'zippers' give cars an extra speed boost, and 'bonus letters' give players large point bonuses and the ability to drive an upgraded car if they can spell 'NINTENDO' with them. Players can upgrade from a standard truck to a faster 4-Wheeler and then to the fastest Off Roader. There are also various hazards which must be avoided: oil slicks which cause cars to spin out of control, water puddles and 'rain squalls' which slow them down, pop-up barriers which crash cars, and skulls which decrease ammunition. Excessive use of projectile weaponry on opponents will result in the yellow car accelerating to 127 mph, which cannot be matched by the player.

The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis port, Championship Pro-Am, features some gameplay differences from the NES version of the game. In this port, players race against five other vehicles instead of three, but players must still place in the top three to move to the next track. Another feature is that race records are recorded; players are prompted to enter their name before the game start to track high scores and race records. Finally, players try to successfully spell 'CHAMPION' in order to upgrade to a new car.

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