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Championship Pro-Am (USA)

Genre

Race, Driving

Console

Sega Genesis

Ratings

Rated 0 out of 5

Views

106

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Sega Genesis

Championship Pro-Am (USA)

racing video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in North America in February 1988, and then in Europe on April 15. Presented in an overhead isometric perspective, a single player races a radio-controlled car around a series of tracks in vehicular combat. Each track qualifies its top three racers for the next track. Collectible power-up items improve performance, hazards include rain puddles and oil slicks, and missiles and bombs can temporarily disable opponents. Originally titled Pro Am Racing, it was ported to the Sega Genesis in 1992 as Championship Pro-Am, an enhanced remake with enhanced graphics and additional features. R.C. Pro-Am spawned two sequels: Super R.C. Pro-Am in 1991, and R.C. Pro-Am II in 1992.

As one of Rare’s first successful NES games, R.C. Pro-Am was well-received for its visuals, sound, gameplay, and enjoyability. Its overhead perspective distinguishes it from earlier first-person racing games. It inspired subsequent games such as Super Off RoadRock 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 of the NES library. It was re-released in Rare’s 2015 Rare Replay compilation for the Xbox One.

Reception and legacy

PublicationScore
AllGame[19]
Computer and Video Games90%[20]

Worldwide, 2.3 million copies of R.C. Pro-Am were sold. This unqualified success made Rare into a major developer for the Nintendo Entertainment System.[21]

Computer Gaming World called it “a compelling, innovating approach to car racing video games”. Bill Kunkel found that it was distinguished from earlier racing games such as Sega‘s Enduro RacerNintendo‘s Mach Rider, and Atari‘s Pole Position by going from a more standard “pseudo-first-person” view to an isometric perspective. He praised its simplicity and controls, comparing them to that of an actual radio-controlled car. He criticized its lack of a two-player feature and for the instruction booklet’s vagueness. He concluded by lauding its graphics and sound, saying that they “help make this the best game of its kind ever produced in any electronic game format”.[22] Bloomberg Businessweek listed R.C. Pro-Am, along with Cobra Triangle, as Rare’s most notable NES games.[23]

The game has continued to receive positive reviews. Allgame‘s Chris Couper stated that R.C. Pro-Am is among the best NES games, due to its realistic nature. He praised its challenge and sound.[19] Retro Gamer saw the game as a precursor to Micro Machines by Codemasters, and compared the action and variety of items to the later Mario Kart series. They hailed it as one of Rare’s best early products, stating: “Radio-controlled car racing in videogame form was pretty much perfected here”.[24] The 2009 book Vintage Games compared it to Spy Hunter, noting its emphasis on collecting power-ups and weapons and not just on racing, saying that the trend of combining racing with vehicular combat would reappear in future games such as Super Mario Kart and Rock n’ Roll Racing.[25] Later in 2010, as part of Rare’s 25th anniversary, the magazine said that it was Rare’s first successful NES game and one of the first games to combine racing and vehicular combat. Readers ranked it 22nd in a list of top 25 Rare games.[26] In 2016, VintageGamer.com praised it for still being enjoyable and challenging 28 years after its release.[27]

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