Ducati World Racing Challenge
"Both Acclaim and ATD are in collaboration with Ducati to ensure that the game play and styling accurately projects the revolutionary and desirable Ducati feel," said Evan Stein, Brand Director at Acclaim Entertainment. "Designed with the gamer in mind, the sophisticated game physics allow the player to get a feel of the different handling of Ducati's bikes throughout the classic Italian Motorcycle Company's fifty-year-old history."
As an avid player of automotive racing games, I'm always apprehensive when someone asks me to try a motorcycle racing game. I've rarely been successful at playing them, nor have I've bothered to buy them. Ducati World Racing Challenge, however, provided a different experience for me. There has always been a place in my heart for the Ducati line of motorcycles and because of this I was excited to have an opportunity to try this game. The bottom line is this: Ducati World Racing Challenge is an absolute must-have for any Ducati enthusiast. To learn more about the history of the Ducati line of bikes start here:http://www.ducati.com/heritage/history.jhtml
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
I found this game easily playable, unlike some games where a frequent game player would need weeks to master it. The controls are defaulted to your standard arrow keypad and the rest -- shifting, breaking, and the like -- are among the numbered keypad. They do this to support the two-player mode on the keyboard, but if you play it often enough in single player mode, you can quickly customize them in the options menu. This game also supports joysticks and gamepads, but the true enthusiasts who want to get a thrill will want to head over to the Ducati Store to buy the Ducati Corse Controller, a handlebar controller designed to mimic the effect of Ducati motorcycle -- complete with force feedback and brake control.
Overall, the menus make it extremely easy to navigate because they are not as overwhelming as you might find on other racing simulators. Ducati World Racing Challenge has two modes of play: Quick Race and Ducati Life.
In Quick Race Mode, a single player can climb through a progression of tracks where an accomplished rider can achieve faster more desirable bikes. There are three difficulty levels and eight initial tracks on which to test your skills as a rider.
The Ducati Life Mode is more of a simulation type game play. One begins with a set amount of cash and after that, has to earn more cash to buy other bikes. A player starts by first passing the driver training and then winning races for more cash. Your winnings can also be used to purchase different riding apparel and upgrades for your bike. The upgrades include: Engine kits, Exhaust systems, brake kits, bodywork, wheel sets, flywheel, clutch, and tires. The game has all of the Ducatis a player could wish for, over 40 bikes in all. The Classic Showroom offers samples of Ducati bikes from the 1950's to today, the Ducati Showroom features all modern bikes, and the Used Showroom allows the player to purchase a less expensive, used bike.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics are not stunning, however, they are not disappointing either. In the first person view, as you lean from side to side, you can actually use the gauges as a guide. The numbers are not legible on some of the bikes, but you can guess as to what they should say. The audio, as well, is pleasing to the ears; sounds close to the real thing. What can you say about graphics and sound? They are either immaculate or terrible. This game, graphics-wise, beats about 70% of what's out there.
Pentium II 266 (or Equivalent), 32MB RAM, 16MD 3D AGP (Direct 3D compatible driver) Graphics Card, Sound Blaster 16 (Direct X7a compatible driver), 4x CD-ROM drive, and 50MB Hard Drive space.
With many games there are always areas that can be improved upon and with Ducati World Racing Challenge I found only a few in my several hours of game play. As in some other games, the crashes at low speed are less than desirable; the rider character sometimes drops off the bike and slides like you’ve just hit the wall at 150mph. Also because the game was tested for a PC platform, it played from the CD-ROM and I did, at a few points, experience pains of PC game lag. I'd be dragging my knee though a corner and have the game stop while the CD got back up to speed, an aggravating thing to have happen when you're battling off an opponent. This may not happen on all computers and, I'm sure, is not a problem with the console versions.
As I said before, this game is dead-on perfect for enthusiasts. It includes the entire Ducati heritage and is accurately designed with the details in mind. The plan was to create a game that focused on the bikes, the tradition, and be representative of the lifestyle that this gorgeous bike promotes, and in my opinion this goal was met and exceeded.
Cheers and happy gaming.