Moto Racer 2
Tucked snugly into a compact, bijou conference room, Thierry Gaerthner, project co-ordinator of Paris-based developers Delphine Software, projects their latest moto-incamation onto a giant screen covering an entire wall. Running on a P333 with Voodoo2 3D acceleration in 1024x768 mode, Moto Racer 2 looks magnificent.
All the latest reflection algorithms have been implemented to guarantee the bike looks the pan, replete with working speedo and pressure gauges. The original animations have been reworked, and attention to detail goes so far as to ensure that effects such as crashes, speed wobble, running on kerbs and suspension movement are convincingly portrayed. The 3Dfx-only tag means clever use of ambient and local colour with effective realtime lighting and shading.
Our French host recalls how the team was sent on a reconnaissance mission to take photographs of backgrounds. Sounds great if you're peacefully meandering through a forest snapping a few oaks and firs, but not so appealing if you end up in the Sahara Desert photographing sand. Still, the intrepid explorers returned carrying hearty spoils for the graphics boys to play around with, and the resulting photo-realistic, high-resolution textures must be truly satisfying to behold for Delphine's foreign legion. The desert stages are especially impressive.
However, what's more important is how Moto Racer 2 differs from its predecessor when it comes to gameplay. Again, Monsieur Gaerthner's emphasis is on realism as he reveals how Philippe Monneret, French 24-hour motorbike endurance champion, helped with the technical and bike mechanics kind of stuff. Apparently, the programmers weren't too sure which way the wheels should point when going round a comer - clearly a knotty problem and best left to the professional.
Moto Racer 2 features 32 circuits from around the globe, including the heavily forested Amazon jungle, a dune-infested Sahara Desert, and scenic Brittany racetracks. There are various weather conditions to contend with, ranging from heat-haze sunshine to driving blizzards - oh, and races can take place during the day or night.
A choice of the latest Yamaha dirt or speed bikes lends further depth to the cause, giving you the chance to compete in championships on either beast, or attempt a mixed tournament where both have their pan to play. Races against other humans can be fought out over the Internet or with a serial link, with up to eight players on each. Alternatively, you can try out the four-player, split-screen option, but be warned: you'll need a PC with a decent engine to pull that one off.
Curiously, Moto Racer 2 also boasts a track editor. Now, the thing with track editors is that they have to be user-friendly to work, and this one, with its intuitive drag-and-click interface, is almost too easy. In a matter of seconds you can create a circuit that would make Barry Sheen gasp. All tracks are fully saveable, of course, so you can do all that track swapping malarkey and watch your mates crash and bum on your own devilish creation. Wahay!
Moto Racer 2 is due to make the trip across the channel in September. The engine's running.
Download Moto Racer 2
Last year, Moto Racer showed how PlayStation motorcycle racing should be done. This year, the slick franchise returns, tweaked and enhanced--and it's still a great ride.
Moto Racer 2 packs in plenty--wild Arcade and realistic Simulation modes, night races, weather effects, and vertical split-screen racing--but the track editor outshines them all. For the first time on a console game, you can create or alter the terrain on which you race, creating hills, hairpins, and hell-bent-for-speed straightaways. A few nips and tucks here, a little tinkering there, and you've designed your own championship circuit, which can then be saved to a memory card and traded with friends. That's simply awesome.
Thankfully, the rest of Moto Racer 2 delivers too, with a good sense of speed and multiple views. Casual racers and die-hard fans alike, rev this one up--and consider giving MR2 a permanent parking space in your racing collection.
- You won't slow down by sneaking onto the grassy shoulder, so use it to cut clean lines through corners.
- Bust a stunt in mid-air on the motocross bikes, by tapping R2 after you're airborne.
- Never hit turbo near the track's edge: Even at slow speeds, nudging the side while on one wheel always results in a wreck.
- Any contact with the track's edge causes a spill in Simulation mode. Don't risk going past the strip of leaves on the Britany tracks.
- For a truly devilish track, create steep hills right before sharp turns.
- In Arcade mode, you can bounce off building walls while you're airborne without wrecking.
- Any time you pop a wheelie, your steering's hindered. Keep the hotdogging to the straightaways.
Improved texture quality and a smooth frame rate are good; pop-up is bad. Buildings often appear out of nowhere; is this Moto Racer or SimCity?
Moto Racer 2 has all the trimmings: Sharp response, analog support, Dual Shock feedback, seven different button configs...it's all there. Sim mode's controls are more realistic and therefore harder to master.
Excellent ska-punk grooves make for a great change of pace from the endless techno beats of other games. However, motocross engines sound like a swarm of angry hornets, and the announcer may in fact be an unemployed game show host.
Improved graphics, gameplay tweaks, and the excellent track editor make Moto Racer 2 a satisfying motorcycle racer with unusually strong replay value.
Most sequels come and go. The ones that stand have something memorable added. Moto Racer 2 from Electronic Arts may just have that special something.
A new 3D Track Creator to design custom courses, which can then be saved to a memory card. Essentially you'll never run out of tracks since you can make your own and trade with your neighborhood chums. You can make hills, jumps, valleys and change the course from dirt to city street with the push of the button and simply save it to a standard memory card. This feature alone should bring back those fun memories of Excitebike on the NES, and looks to be more versatile than Jerry McGrath's track editor.
The game maintains its speedy engine and tight control but with slightly enhanced graphics. Track-wise, Moto 2 lets you race in real locations such as the Sahara Desert and Amazon Rain Forest, plus more than 25 other new tracks. With these locations comes an array of weather effects. A sandstorm in the desert will make your bike drift, whereas a downpour will make it easier for you to slide. The added Dual Shock support should make the playing experience even more enjoyable, for both the vibration and analog control. Moto 2 features an Arcade and Simulation Mode, but will also give you a Three-player Mode for a split-screen chance to beat your friends.
- MANUFACTURER - Electronic Arts
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
My review of Moto Racer 2 is gonna seem like ' a broken record of my review for the first game. The excellent graphics--now spiced up with snow and rain effects--still deliver an incredible sense of speed (even if the frame-rate slips once in a while). Your bike still controls fine with the standard joypad, although I much prefer analog. I still really dig the game's 50/50 mix of high-speed street racing and motocross powerstiding action (the powerslides feel great on the Dual Shock). And, as before, the Two-player Mode packs the same sense of speed as single-player (although multiplayer still lacks Al opponents to challenge human players). Some of my old gripes are the same, too. The Medium difficulty is too tough, and you'll really need to master the tracks on Easy first. Speaking of tracks, MR2 offers four times more than the first game. You get 24 to begin with, and an additional eight open when you beat the various Championship Modes, and that's not counting the mirror tracks (it sounds like a lot of tracks, sure, but many are slight variations of others). Even better, you get a track editor that lets you create courses from scratch or modify the existing ones, then race on 'em in a custom championship. This editor is easy to use, but it doesn't let me get as crazy with the jumps as I would like.
I really dug the first Moto Racer last year, and surprisingly, the sequel is even better. I'm a sucker for fast-paced adrenaline-pumping gameplay (you should know this by now), and MR2's Arcade Mode has it in serious amounts. The track designs are great, the graphics are beautiful, and the control (analog especially) is sweet. Two-player play is fun, too.
I've been a Moto Racer fan since day one. I'm relieved they retained the same game engine but I'm a bored with the look. Otherwise, the meat of the game is fine. Thirty-two tracks with interesting weather effects (snow, rain, sandstorms) are more than enough. Night racing looks great too. The track editor is a bit hard to use (and limited) but is still a nice feature. I'd put Moto Racer 2 in the top-five PS racing games of all time.
Up until Moto Racer came around, good bike racing games on the PS were a fantasy. Now, Moto 2*s out, and once again, it outshines all of its competition (VMX, McGrath), which isn't too difficult a feat. This game is fast--I'm glad the game has invisible track walls to keep my bike on the road. The intuitive track editor is a nice addition. This is a fun, action-oriented racer--don't expect a sim, even with the game's Simulation Mode.
Ready! Set! Customize! The sequel to Moto Racer is here and it's ready for you to take control -- of everything. Race superbikes or dirt bikes on dozens of colorful courses or build your own twisted pile of asphalt and dirt and challenge a buddy to try and beat you. Moto Racer 2 will give you the best of all worlds - in motorcycling that is.
Moto Racer 2 allows configuration for virtually everything from defining controls to creating tracks to creating championship races. It doesn't, however, allow you to configure your cycle. This really isn't that big of a problem, though, since you have several different motorcycles to choose from. Each one has attributes such as acceleration, top speed, braking power, and grip that make it perform differently from the others. It is important to get the feel for each cycle as some work better than others on each of the courses. The thirty-two courses are divided quite evenly into both street cycle and dirt bike tracks that can be raced in various conditions such as night, rain, and/or snow. These courses come in several locations such as a cityscape, a forest, the Amazon, the Sahara, and the British countryside. After completing certain championships, the tracks can also be raced in mirror or reverse mode. Since this is a linear game, you cannot leave or turn around on the tracks.
Controlling your cycle is pretty basic and doesn't take long to get the hang of in Arcade Mode. The Arcade Mode tends to be more merciful as it is tougher to dismount and simpler to make turns as compared with the Simulation Mode. If you don't have an analog controller, I wouldn't recommend the Simulation Mode as pretty precise movements are required to keep yourself from developing a long-term close relationship with the road (if you know what I mean). Controlling the bike can also consist of gear switching (if you so desire, although an automatic transmission is available) and tricks. Unfortunately, I do not have an analog or vibration controller so I cannot comment on these features.
The tricks performed will depend on what type of bike you are riding and if you're in the air or not. When not in the air and you attempt to perform a trick, you'll do a wheelie which not only looks cool, but will give you a short turbo boost. While these are unlimited, they make controlling your bike a lot more difficult and make it very easy to dismount if you bump or crash into anything. (Tip: Don't do these on curves.) When in the air on a dirt bike, you'll do all sorts of great looking stunts. While they look good and are fun to pull off, they don't seem to affect the race in any way that I could see.
There are several viewpoints available which can be switched during gameplay. These range from far behind the bike to tailgating to back seat driver to take the reigns. The first person viewpoint can make things a bit more difficult on you as the camera bobs around with every bump, jump, turn, or wheelie. Two player multiplayer races are available on a choice of either vertical or horizontal split screen. For those in need of a multiplayer handicap, Delphine's got you covered with the "Catch Up" mode which allows the last place player a better chance of catching the leader.
There are a total of five different types of championships: Super Bike, Motocross, Dual Sport, Custom, and Ultimate. The first three should be pretty self-explanatory. Custom allows you to design, then race courses you have made. The Ultimate can only be raced after you place first in the Super Bike, Motocross, and Dual Sport competitions.
Once you think you've mastered all the tracks and have won the regular championships, the fun still doesn't end. The track and championship editor will allow you to create and modify up to eight tracks and save them to a memory card. The track editor is a little odd to get the hang of at first and seems a bit limiting. Your tracks can be no longer than 2.23 miles. When generating turns and hills, you cannot be too extreme otherwise the editor won't validate the track. For instance, you cannot make a sharp turn or quick elevation change. This tends to show itself more if you create a street bike course. Any errors you see on screen are shown by those portions of the track flashing red indicate there is some type of error in creation. Once you get the hang of what you can and cannot do, creation becomes easier. The editor will also allow you to select a theme same as those used on the prefab courses. Single and double jumps can be added to Motocross courses. Saved courses can be copied to other memory cards so you can share the wealth.
The only real gripe I have about this game is the standard PlayStation blazing fast, oh-so-speedy loading. It takes approximately thirty seconds to load a track and about another 15 to load the menus between races. This in itself wouldn't be that bad if the races lasted a while. The problem here is that most races are two to four short laps in the championships. Even when doing a single race, the maximum is six laps which really doesn't take that long. I suppose I can't really blame Delphine for the PlayStation's slow load times, but it would've been nicer if the races lasted longer. This gripe also spills over a bit into the difficulty settings. While the settings (easy, medium, and hard) are true to form, you often don't have enough time to catch up with the other racers before the race ends even if you ride perfectly in the medium and especially hard setting.
The graphics here are very nice, bright, and clean. I really liked how playing a level in different environmental conditions will make the track look completely different. The lighting effects are incredible from the bike's headlight to the street lamps to the burning torches lining an otherwise dark tunnel in the Amazon. When raining or dark, the reflections of the tail/brake light are also a nice touch (although a bit odd in some cases as I don't think this would typically happen on a muddy track).
Energetic announcing, revving engines, fast-paced music and screeching tires make this a loud game - even with the volume low. There are settings within the game for enabling, disabling, and controlling volume for sound effects, music, and the announcer. All the sounds are pretty true to life except the squealing tires when braking regardless of whether you're riding on asphalt, dirt, or snow.
System Features Supported
1 or 2 Players Simultaneously, Memory Card (2 blocks), Analog Control Compatible, and Vibration Function Compatible.
Twenty-nine pages that do exactly as they were intended to do: instruct. This game's interface and gameplay is simple enough that you probably won't even need to read the instructions, but they're there just in case you want to. I would recommend at least reading through the track and championship editing before attempting to build your own.
Moto Racer 2 is a simple game to operate and a lot of fun to play. Although there are many options in this game, it is likely that anyone who is remotely interested in motorcycles and/or games should be able to play as the menus and gameplay are simple and straightforward. This game's difficulty levels can provide quite a challenge to all levels of gamers. The track design feature is really nice in a world of predefined-course-only racing games. Other than the bit of patience required while waiting between levels loading, this game is solid and scads of fun to play which is why I give it a score of 91.
Okay, this is about the fifth time I have sat down to write this review. If you are reading this via GameFabrique, I have succeeded. If you are reading this via a crumpled-up piece of paper … well, that would make you my garbage man, and I won't tell you again -- quit sifting through my trash!
Why has it been so hard? Well, let me tell you... First, I made excuses like I needed to go back in and take some more screenshots for the review. When that ploy stopped working (and I had 394 screen shots), I figured I needed to test the interface thoroughly. Well, that didn't last, as I would spend an average of 2.3 seconds in the interface... roughly the time it takes to start a new game.
What it boils down to is that this game is fun. I won't add huge amounts of adjectives to the word "fun" because that is how best to describe it. You know those games (I don't care which genre) that make you forget you are looking at a monitor and sitting in an uncomfortable chair? This is one of those games. This game is … er, wait. I guess I should tell you what I'm talking about.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
This is where I am supposed to provide all sorts of flowery words that describe how this game plays. If you have ever seen a similar game (how many racing games are out there?), you might understand that one drives some sort of vehicle in a circle. The goal is to finish first. You usually obtain the honor of being first by driving faster than others drive on the track. Simple … yet eloquent enough to back up my "fun" argument.
This year Delphine gives us many more tracks. 32 in all make up four championship circuits: Super Bike, Moto X, Dual Sport, and the Ultimate Championship. Combine all these with the ability to mirror and reverse existing tracks and the ability to create your own with the included track editor, well … more on that later. Anywise, you won't be running out of miles to drive on. You also have your choice of eight unique bikes. In reality, you have just two bikes with which you can modify things like acceleration, speed, road grip, and braking. Additionally, you can alter the race by changing the weather and time of day.
Realism? Who cares? My opinion would be based on driving dirt bikes through the wheat fields of Idaho to deliver yet another warm Dr. Pepper to the farmer who is paying me $1.50 an hour to do so. I have not yet seen a game which realistically depicts that summer of my life … but I'm not looking too hard.
The controls are all quite adequate. I played last year's Moto Racer mostly with the keyboard. Since it still hurts a tad when I reach for my coffee cup, I figured I would try Moto Racer 2 with a force-feedback joystick. Now let me be the first to say that I am in the camp of those who believe force-feedback is not quite there yet. I think that if I were to wipe out in Moto Racer 2, the stick should jump off the desk, slap me upside the head, swing around behind me and deftly box my ears. Once I am incapacitated, it should flip back in front of me, tweak my nose and then knee me quickly in the groin. This would leave me in a disadvantageous fetal position under my desk. It should then jump on my back and put me in a sleeper hold. As I drift off to unconsciousness, only then will I truly realize the consequences of crashing in this game. Past attempts to artificially recreate this environment have only given me strange looks from my wife as I tried to teach her the sleeper hold. But I digress … just believe me in saying that Moto Racer 2's tactile feedback is quite nice on what is currently available. Control via the keyboard or a gamepad works out quite nicely as well. My advice to you, though, is to make sure you assign an easy-to-reach button or key to the Stunt-Turbo-O-Rama function. Mastering this maneuver is the key to finishing first each time.
However (there is always a however), I would be doing you a huge disservice if I went on and on about how great this game is without finding one thing wrong. The thing that truly bugged me the most is something that I really had not cared about in past games. The interface is atrocious. Moving screen to screen is about the only intuitive option presented to you. Icons without text serve to confuse users when they try simply to change the difficulty level or choose how many people are going to race against each other. Pausing the game to bring up the game options is another frustrating turn of events. I would have liked to see the same pre-game option screen within the game after pausing. Instead, they give you this sort of side-shuffle cascading options menu that is slow and causes your mouse to jump all over. The only saving grace is that the interface (once learned) is quick to skip through and get to the best part of Moto Racer 2 -- the "fun" part, if you will.
While I'm complaining about the interface, let me harp on one more thing which seems totally useless. If you think that the steps needed to start a race are convoluted, wait until you try to create your own track with the track editor. This track editor is flawed in many aspects, but most annoyingly fails the coveted rule of all track editors: they MUST allow you to create your own untimely demise. Moto Racer 2's editor has far too many rules associated with it. If you have a street bike, you can't make the jumps too high. If you have a dirt bike, you can't race on the street courses. You can't create a jump into the side of a mountain. You can't place pedestrians or any livestock in your direct path. Nag. Nag. Nag. Well, maybe you can do all of these, but the interface is so tricky that you might never get to that point. It was a noble effort, but its limitations may keep it from being worth anything but a bullet point on the back of the box.
The bevy of multiplayer options is there, including up to four people participating at the same machine. Better get out that extend-o-keyboard. I only tried local LAN play over IPX, but performance was fine.
Although trust me when I tell you that two subwoofers are far worse than one in appeasing the better half.
Again... here is the location where most of you jump to get the nitty-gritty on how the game looks. You may have even skipped down here to see how many frames per second I could quote. Whether or not the Z-buffer offered up the correct amount of fleshy gloss across the 3D-rendered landscape. Well, let me tell ya, stop worrying about all this stuff and play the darn game! If you did skip directly to this section, I can rightly guess that you spend so much time tweaking your 3D graphics subsystem that you hardly have time to play a game. You feel that the amount of polygons you can texture is inversely proportional to the number of frags you can score when over-clocking your 3-2-1 contacts. Relax … no one cares when you are negotiating a corner at high speeds.
I was between Voodoo cards at the time I got this game, so I had to play using my G200 from Matrox (I swear I just heard all you 3D grognards shudder). The game was completely beautiful ... and fast. When I finally got my Voodoo2-based card, well, guess what? I noticed no difference. The game was still beautiful and was still fun. Yeah, maybe I got a few more frames out of the Voodoo2 card, but I wasn't counting, I was PLAYING the game (another shudder rips through the 3D stalwarts).
While testing out the multiplayer aspects of the game on my wife's machine (no, I could not get her to wear a helmet; thanks for asking, though) her P200 with just a Voodoo card appeared to run no slower nor look any less beautiful than my P2-300 with the Voodoo2. Seem impossible? Delphine has done some magic, so don't worry and just play the game!
There are a couple of notable details that should not go unmentioned. Moto Racer 2's use of weather and lighting on the courses is such a treat that I will often pull over to enjoy the light of the tiki torches as they reflect off the gently falling snowflakes. Sure, Amazonian tiki torches and snow usually don't show up around the same place (nor around a motorcycle racing circuit), but heck, it sure looks pretty.
Take a close look at the included screenshots and pretend that you are actually driving through these at 165 MPH. That's what you get -- fast, beautiful, and "fun."
However (again, yeah I know), what is the deal with the use of lens flare? Can anyone tell me what is so ultra-realistic about providing this Scooby-snack in about every 3D game out there? While I feel that simulating the filming of a race has its merits, I don't think that this adds anything to the game. I jumped up and closed my blinds, thinking the glare from the sun was reflecting off my face shield. Nope, still there. Then I remembered that I only see that stuff on ESPN2 when the camera points to the light. Was I playing a game or was I providing cinematography for a major sports network? I switched views to the "behind the handlebars" scheme. Only then did the sunlight reflect properly off my shiny gas tank and windscreen. All was right with the world, and I drove on.
The sound and music are both fine. That's it. Well, maybe I could say they were both pretty good.
Okay, I can't hold it back and must get a bit flowery. The music was awesome. No, the music actually ROCKED! Kudos to EA for being the first publishing company I can remember to give proper details on the in-game talent. Not since LucasArts' Full Throttle have I been this enthralled by a game's soundtrack. Not only do they give the names of the bands involved, but links to their web sites and snail-mail addresses to the record company are mentioned as well. If you liked the music in Full Throttle, you will love this. And hey, they're both sort of motorcycle games, so it kinda makes sense.
Oh, EA? If you are reading this, could you have that announcer guy be a little less scary? I still jump when he comments on my ride and current progress. I think it's that his voice reminds me of Ernest Borgnine, but I won't go into that here. Just take note.
Required: Microsoft Windows 95/98, Pentium 166mhz, 2MB video card or supported Direct3D 4MB video card, 5 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 6.0 or higher (included on CD), keyboard or mouse.
Multi-player: Pentium 200mhz, LAN: IPX or TCP/IP-based net card, Internet: TCP/IP or IPX (via Kali), direct modem connection requires 28.8
Recommended: Pentium II 233, AGP 4MB video card or supported Direct 3D AGP 4MB or PCI 8MB video card, 200 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 16-bit sound card
I recommend: Full-body leather jumpsuit, Evel Knievel colors, preferably. Shiny red helmet with face shield and flames on the sides wouldn't hurt. Subwoofer with separate volume controls—essential if you are married
The book was fine. It did help me find out who did the music and some of the confusing things with the interface. With the track editor, well, it may help, but I probably will never go in there again.
As I've been saying, this game is fun. It's not often that I find a game so enthralling and simplistic that I forget I am driving a motorcycle with a joystick, looking not out through a windscreen, but into a 17-inch monitor. Even when blinded by some inexplicable lens flare that comes out of nowhere, I'm still in the game, I'm still having fun.
I really wanted to give Moto Racer 2 a higher score. If it weren't for my problem with the interface (I'm spoiled by the likes of EA's Need for Speed series) and the confusing track editor, it would be an almost perfect game in my book. Since the interface is learnable and the track editor is not a vital part of the game, I still highly recommend Moto Racer 2. If you loved last year's game, you shouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.
But if you are in the small class of folks like me who don the leather, grease the helmet, and splash on the Stetson for just one more lap -- get it.
I promise you might just have a little fun.
The original Moto Racer was so good, it's hard to fathom how EA could improve it--but it's clearly on the path to doing just that. Last year's excellent handling will be joined by 32 new tracks in a variety of locales: muggy rain forests, dune-filled deserts, and more. The game's Arcade mode makes for great flat-out fun, while the Simulation mode offers more realistic maneuvering, such as back tires sliding out on tight turns.
The Track Creator, possibly the coolest new addition, lets you whip up custom courses and save them to a memory card. Making a mountain out of a molehill is ridiculously easy--just mark the section of the track you want to alter and pull it in the appropriate direction. With great gameplay and sharp controls already in place, all that's left for Moto Racer 2 is some polishing and tweaking.