As the sequel to the original R.C. Pro-Am title, also on the NES, this second entry doesn't function much differently from its predecessor on the most basic of levels. You still race your vehicles around small tracks and you still view things from a top-down perspective. The differences lie in the numerous additions.
In case you haven't played the original, I'm going to brush over everything in moderate detail. That way, you should have a good idea how this game works even if you're not fortunate enough to own the complete package deal (or in case you're emulating and had no chance in the first place of owning an instruction manual).
Control in this game is every bit as tight as you might expect. Though it can take some getting used to if you've not played a game of this type before, the controls are actually quite intuitive.
- Accelerate/bonus challenges (alternate with 'A')
- Nitro/bonus challenges (alternate with 'B')
- Steer left
- Steer right
- Garage menu selection
- Garage menu selection
- Pause game/exit garage
As you race along the various tracks in the game, you'll find that the raceways are littered with items that help improve your chances of victory. A quick examination of each of these seems warranted.
Pick these up for a boost to your overall wallet, which comes in handy between races when you need to upgrade your vehicle. You can also get them if you hit other racers with buckshot.
I forget what this does. Obviously it's important. There are two varieties. One is the multi-colored one that any racer (including your computer-controlled opponents) can grab. Others are painted the color of a certain car, and only that racer may pick up that particular one.
These white squares with black letters emblazoned on them are spaced throughout the track, and you must gather the appropriate letters to spell out 'Pro-Am II', at which point you'll receive an upgraded vehicle (such as a dune buggy).
This item can be used to speed past your opponents at important points, or to get more air time when passing over ramps, or to feel the pain less when you must race through the water that sometimes crosses over the track.
This important item grants you invulnerability for a time. Oil slicks will no longer make you crash if you hit a wall (though you'll still come to a dead halt). Also, enemy fire is no concern.
These give you boosts that allow you to cruise past any opponents unfortunate enough to miss them. It's important to memorize the location of these so you can get the jump on the competition.
These stupid things will set you spinning and crashing into walls. They're particularly lethal on some corners, and can make you go from first to last place, right before crossing a finish line. Know their location well.
You also can pick up ammunition for your chosen weapon on the track. This is slightly cheaper than buying it, and you can save yourself a lot of money for other important upgrades.
This is a free continue. You don't find many of them throughout the game, but when you do it makes sense to take advantage of it.
This pilot flies along the course and drops bombs, just after an exclamation mark appears in a box to warn you he's near. He seems to aim for you exclusively, and the only way to successfully avoid him is to move at a slightly diagonal angle that just barely allows you to steer clear of his bombs. He doesn't appear on the last lap of a given track until you reach the desert, where he also attacks with gunfire instead of bombs.
These are usually positioned on the sides of the track. If you know they're coming, you can pick a different lane. If not, you'll hit them and turn to scrap metal.
If you see this icon, you can pick up a special upgrade for your vehicle, though the game doesn't let you know what it is before-hand.
I have no idea what this does, but it's on the track around three or four times throughout the course of the game, so I mentioned it here just to be thorough. It seems to be good to pick this up. Must boost your engine.
Between races, you'll be able to use your prize money (and any cash you
picked up along the way) to upgrade your vehicle in several key areas.
There are several levels of upgrades in each category.
You start with the 'Standard' motor, and from there can upgrade to the red motor ($2000), the black motor ($4000), the silver motor ($8000), the gold motor ($16,000) and the hyper ($30,000) and mega ($50,000) motors. Each obviously makes your car go faster.
Tighter steering helps you squeeze out victory in difficult races. You begin with the 'Standard' tires and rather loose controls. From there, the upgrades are to the skinny tires ($2000), the nobblies ($7000), the dynafit ($10,000) and the scoopers ($15,000).
You can find various types of artillery that will increase your chances in a number of ways. You don't start with any real weapon at all, but you'll want to change that promptly so you have the edge against your opponents. There are several types:
- Buckshot ($2000) - Fire at your enemies from behind with this, and you'll cause them to drop money bags. This damages your opponents and, if you're in position, increases your earnings.
- Missiles ($10,000) - This all-purpose weapon fires directly forward and will temporarily turn the target it strikes into a pile of scrap metal. Good for you, as that racer won't be moving forward for a brief time. Useful on last laps when you're just shy of placing and there's another vehicle within range.
- Bombs ($12,000) - If someone is riding your tailgate and it's looking like they might pass you soon, a bomb can change that. It functions in much the same way as a missile, except of course it drops behind you.
- Lazer ($14,000) - Like a missile, but more powerful.
- Freeze ($15,000) - A favorite of mine because it will cause your opponents to freeze in place for a few seconds if it strikes. Very, very useful when you're nearing a finish line, or just trying to get the jump on a close competitor.
- Mega Pulse ($20,000) - This costly weapon doesn't seem to do much of anything useful that regular missiles don't, so I usually don't waste a lot of money or ammo on this upgrade.
Remember that each weapon must be upgraded with ammunition, and some burn through it very quickly. You should make careful use of your artillery, but keep in mind also that ammo doesn't quite grow on trees.
There are various other upgrades also worth a look. Not all of them seem
worthwhile at first, but you'll learn to use each of them.
- Ammo ($200) - Though you can pick up some of these shells on various tracks as you progress, it's also a good idea to buy extra shots if you know you'll need them.
- Shields ($50) - If you'd like to be impervious to enemy fire for awhile, it's a good idea to stock up on this cheap upgrade. You'll still receive damage in other ways, though.
- Slicks ($500) - A poor man's bombs, in a way. These slicks of oil will cause your opponents to spin all over the place, and may give you a good lead at critical moments.
- Nitro ($1000) - Like what you pick up on the tracks, only it costs a bunch of money. If you use the ones you find elsewhere with caution, you won't likely have to spend much money on these in the shop until everything else is purchased and you're just blowing money for the fun of it.
- Continue (varies) - Your first extra continue costs $5,000, and the cost increases by that increment with each additional one you purchase. If you find yourself buying a lot of these, you can't spend money on the other upgrades that might render this item unnecessary. In other words: get good enough that you don't need such extravagancies.
You need to use caution with each purchase you make. There's not one single category that should be boosted at the expense of others, though of course a solid motor is always a good investment. Remember the small things and you'll get far.
NEXT: Advanced Strategies