R.C. Pro-Am

aka: Championship Pro-Am, R.C. Pro-AM: 32 pistas de pura emoção!
Arcade Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/25 1:57 PM )

Description official description

Guide your radio controlled car to victory in this racing game. You have to beat your 3 opponents on 32 tracks while avoiding obstacles like water and oil puddles and collecting bonus items like better engines and tires. You can also collect a variety of weapons to blast your opponents out of the way.

The Genesis version is basically the same game as the NES version with a few minor changes such as having 5 opponents instead of 3, spelling out CHAMPION instead of NINTENDO, and having enhanced graphics.

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Average score: 73% (based on 21 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 48 ratings with 4 reviews)

The Best NES racer and a Masterpiece

The Good
R.C. Pro-Am is an Isometric Racing game developed by British studio Rare and published in 1988 by Nintendo on the NES. The game also saw a remake on Sega's Megadrive under the name Championship Pro-Am (published by Tradewest in 1992) ; it also had a go in the Arcades under Nintendo's Play-Choice 10 stand up machine, where every quarter bought you a few minutes of play time (which speaks volumes about the quality of this 8 bit game, being able to compete for your money against the powerful Arcade Machines)

The premise is simple, you race against three other RC cars; the objective is not coming in last in order to play the next race. If you end up 4th you lose and then you have to re-do the current course (you get 3 tries). You can shoot the other cars and the combat - where you get to slow down your opponents - is really what sets the tone for the game: this is not a realistic simulation of Remote Control cars. The game was influenced by the arcade game Super Sprint (1986, Atari), but while in that game there were only a few items, here there's a whole set of upgrades (turbo, hotter engine, sticky tires) and weapons (missiles, bombs, ammo, roll cage). There are also some Track hazards to avoid (rain squalls, oil slicks, puddles, pop-up barriers, and skulls) and finally you can get letters to form the N-I-N-T-E-N-D-O word and thus upgrading the vehicle for an entire new - faster model.
The isometric view that seems suitable for this genre comes from the Commodore 64 game Racing Destruction Set (1985). Super Sprint had a top down view mode, but more important it was a single screen game (one screen per course); instead here the camera scrolls freely following the different directions your car goes; and this smooth multi-directional scrolling is an impressive technical achievement for what still is the early NES era.
R.C. Pro-Am would actually be the first huge commercial success in Rare/Nintendo short but fruitful relationship (selling 2.3 million copies) and helped establish Rare as the greatest western 2nd party developer. The legendary Stamper brothers were behind the concept of the game and the whole project really (as with most of these early Rare pieces); As always Tim Stamper designed the beautiful graphics and his older brother Chris did the main programming (with the help of Mark Betteridge and others)

The Bad
Rare's in-house musician the amazing David Wise made the few tunes we have: Opening, Race Start, and Game Over; which are really good but still the game needs more music, and the grating sound is kind of annoying.
Now, not everything is positive within the game. The difficulty is very high. The rivals feel faster than you, and the AI seems too good: they never miss a Zipper or fall for any traps. Also there's a very cheap glitch were one of the cars picks up speed and becomes unreachable. Collecting the Nintendo letters upgrade your car but also your rivals (making them faster and harder to beat).

In essence, it was a brutal game. One of the hardest but fair NES games to beat for sure. This makes me recommend the Megadrive remake Championship Pro-Am as the one to get, it controls even better and many small changes make the difficulty more balanced; (plus has an option to play with a friend).

The Bottom Line
R.C. Pro-Am is an NES masterpiece and certainly a classic. Beautiful graphics, perfect controls, tons of things to get and do, a lot of replayability and incredibly fun. Created an entire genre and was highly influential in many future games like Micro Machines (1991, Codemasters), Rock & Roll Racing (1993, Blizzard), Death Rally (1996, Remedy), and even the Mario Kart series owes a lot to it.

NES · by pelida77 (36) · 2023

the $#^$% yellow-car cheats!

The Good
it's challenging, well-made, and there's no nintendo-lag(where too many things on-screen at once slows everything down). if you've never played it before, this is waht the game is like: you race as the red car against blue, green, and yellow. the race is over when someone completes the necessary number of laps, it varies from 2-9, and you only lose a life if you are in last place when that happens. this is no problem if you're in the lead, but if someone is way out ahead of you and they pass, you don't get a chance to catch up. when you pass you are rewarded with a trophy to put in your trophy room. before each track you're informed of the number of laps and the track condition which can be anything from poor, very wet, fair, good, very good, fast, very fast, slippery, or raining. this should give you a general idea of what the track will have in it: puddles that slow you down, clouds making moving puddles, oil slicks that make you spin out and crash if you hit a wall, arrows that give you bursts of speed, or maybe walls that pop up in the middle of the track that you have to avoid. the track shape is displayed in a small map at the bottom of the screen along with each car's location.

the main power-ups are 'Super Sticky Tires' to give you a tighter turning radius, and also 'Turbo Acceleration' and 'Higher Top Speed' which are self-explanatory. you can upgrade each of these 4 times by collecting them while racing. each track also has one letter on it that you can collect to spell out 'NINTENDO' and get a new car to drive. I would recommend NOT collecting them, since the AI is programmed to play much harder every time you get a new car. there are even power-ups that let you shoot bullets ahead of you or else drop bombs behind you and there's plenty of ammo to pick up too. the most powerful item is the roll-cage which makes you unable to crash and allows you to cause other cars to spin out by running into them.

The Bad
sometimes the yellow car gets mad, makes a funny noise, and then speeds up to several times the maximum possible speed. the only way to stop him is to shoot him right away before he starts to lap everyone. it also would have been nice if you could get extra lives, since to this day I've never beaten it.

The Bottom Line
a fun racing game that has more replay value than off-road.

NES · by Jeff Koerner (27) · 2003

My personal favourite NES game!

The Good
The arcade style makes this game very enjoyable. It has a good sense of speed, loose yet like-able physics so its easy to pick up and play, and since its from Rare, it has a charm that isn't matched. The game has good graphics for 1988, and due to the menus and environments, its the best way to describe a "keep it simple" game.

The Bad
There isn't any save function so you had to restart from the beginning each time. There isn't a multiplayer option either. But my biggest gripe is the same as everybody else's. In the game, you drive a red car. Your opponents drive light green, baby blue and orange/peach cars. The green and blue cars aren't the problem; now, I don't know if this is a glitch or it was coded this way, but the orange car just randomly boosts up to the alleged speed of 127 MPH, when even with all the upgrades, the fastest car goes 108 MPH. It is impossible to win.

The Bottom Line
A very fun classic game that you'll go back to, with a charm that doesn't last in today's racing games. Shame it won't be on Virtual Console. Still, it's pretty cheap to buy, even boxed.

NES · by Luke Eeles (2) · 2009

[ View all 4 player reviews ]



  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #52 (Best 100 Games of All Time) (NES version)
  • Game Informer Magazine
    • August 2001 (Issue 100) - voted #84 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

Arcade added by Michael Cassidy. Genesis added by zerothis.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, chirinea, Alaka, GenesisBR.

Game added October 16th, 2002. Last modified September 2nd, 2023.