''Road Rash'' was a series of Motorcycle racing games from Creator/ElectronicArts, starting life on the SegaGenesis in 1991, but appearing on several other systems over the next 10 years. In-universe, the races were illegal, forcing you to contend with police... as well as other riders, who usually had no problem attacking you with clubs, pipes, chains or cattle prods. Each game had several track locations, which became expanded and harder for each "level" you achieved. You leveled up by getting at least 3rd or 4th place in each location. The goal was to amass money to buy better bikes and also be able to pay off hospital fees, repair bills and Police fines. If you ever ran out of money, it was game over.
The game was notable for bringing the Z-axis and rudimentary physics to bear to both challenge and amuse the player, at a time when most other racing games barely bothered with such things. Going up hills slowed you down, while going down would cause you to accelerate... or, if you had enough speed, you'd soar through the air. In addition to the competitors and police, the player also had to watch out for oncoming traffic, animals crossing the road, and other realistic hazards. It was one of the earlier second-generation games to reward the player for doing something illegal.
While there was no plot to speak of, the game did have characters. Many of the AI were given profiles and would often give you advice or trash-talk you before or after a race.
!!This game contains examples of...
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: So you've been speeding, running people over, hitting cars and assaulting police officers. You get busted for... failing to signal.
* AssumedWin: The AI will sometimes start doing their victory pose before they cross the finish line... making it all the more sweeter if you pass them at the last second and take first place away from them....
* BikerBabe: Natasha most notably.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: In the Genesis titles. Everyone else is dressed in the same color... except you. The color of everyone else also tells you what level you're on.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: The other racers are capable of taking very difficult turns at full speed, and the cops would only ever come after ''you'', regardless of if other racers are easier to catch.
** Just how does Lucky Luc stay ''just ahead of you'' no matter how fast you're going, anyway?
* EnemyChatter: A few of your rival racers (and even cops) would start a race by giving you some pointers or just talking smack. Natasha, in particular, would either be friendly or antagonistic depending on if you attacked her previously.
* EndlessGame: When you beat Level 5 on the original ''Road Rash'' game on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, you get to play Level 5 again! And again... and again... forever. The same goes for ''Road Rash III: Tour de Force''. ''Road Rash II'' actually has an ending after level 5, which is [[spoiler: a race against some cops... and then the game crashes]].
* FacePlant: Happens to you if you fall off your bike when going just the right speed
* HammerSpace: A cutscene in one of the later games has a cop searching you, finding iron knuckles... a chain... a club... and a SHOTGUN which would have been impossible for you to carry. This is of course down to RuleOfFunny.
* HardModeFiller: Completing an initial circuit of races pushes you up to the next competition level, using the same locations but driving further down the course.
* HelloInsertNameHere: With "Player A/B" as the default.
* InvincibleMinorMinion: Cops have health gauges, but no amount of attacking will hurt them or knock them off of their rides.
** Averted in ''Road Rash II'', but played straight in ''3''.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: The game has cutscenes not just for completing the race, but for wrecking your bike or getting busted. Some classics include paramedics retrieving your bike while leaving you injured on the side of the road, getting chased down by police dogs, stumbling onto the road in the path of a semi, and getting tossed in the trunk of a police cruiser.
* NintendoHard: ''Road Rash 1'' had very curvy tracks; lots of traffic (though only two cars are allowed on-screen every five seconds, but this was utilized to full effect); and cops who would ram into you very hard, almost guaranteeing you being knocked off your bike and getting arrested if they connect. Additionally, nitrous boost hadn't been introduced yet, and the lead bikers, especially Helldog, were [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard exceptionally skilled]]. Aiming for first place in Level 5? Good luck.
* NitroBoost: Introduced in ''Road Rash 2'' and ''3'' for the more expensive bikes.
* PasswordSave: In the first three games, provided at the end of each race. The password saved your race placements and your cash.
** ''Road Rash 1'''s passwords were 20 characters long and included alphanumeric characters and symbols. This password was also given immediately after the race, but before being promoted to the next level - if you use that password, you have to redo any of the races before advancing, but you can still use that to get extra money.
** ''Road Rash 2'' and ''3'''s passwords were eight characters long and reduced to only alphanumeric characters (numbers and letters). The promotion to the next level was done immediately after winning the race in a qualifying position, indicated by the post-race cutscene. Passwords were given on the Options screen of the main menu.
** Even though ''Road Rash 3'' introduced the ability to save weapons between races and even accumulate them, the password did not account for this. One using a password to resume was reduced to his/her fists upon starting.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers: Averted, since you only need to place 4th or better on each track.
** In ''Road Rash 2'' and ''3'', you needed to place at least third place to advance.
* ThemeNaming: The cops in ''1'' have names which start with "O'" -- O'Leary, O'Rourke, O'Shea, and O'Connor. And then there's [[OddNameOut Flynn]].
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Some characters can be your friend and give you advice if you wouldn't try to beat them during the races. Most notably, this would be Natasha.