Moto Racer

a game by Electronic Arts
Genre: Racing
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 6 reviews
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 4 votes
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Moto Racer
Moto Racer
Moto Racer
Moto Racer

Nobody's managed to do justice to motorcycle racing on the PlayStation yet, but with Moto Racer, EA has a championship prospect on its hands. This arcade-style racer delivers 10 tracks packed with tight turns and other challenging obstacles, as well as a solid selection of bikes. The combination of on-road and offroad action flat-out rocks, keeping the Fun Factor high as you buzz through the streets or bump through moto-cross courses, popping wheelies and other tricks.

Moto's not without its flaws, though. The graphics in this unfinished version rank as decent at best, and hopefully EA will also correct the game's draw-in woes. But the slick controls (especially with the analog controller) and tough, challenging A.I. makes this a hot prospect worth watching for.

Game Reviews

People say:

8.0

This slick-looking racer has a lot going for it. Its 50/50 mix of street racing and motocross action gives the game plenty of variety. And--despite minor draw-in problems-the graphics are killer. Few PlayStation racing games deliver such an incredible sense of speed. Still. Moto Racer isn't perfect. Its difficulty curve is a little off, with the Medium setting seeming nigh impossible the first time you play the game (crash your bike once and you'll be lucky to ever catch up with the pack). The Easy difficulty is a little too easy, especially on the dirt tracks. But this flaw doesn't detract much from the game. Your bike controls fairly well with the standard joypad. although I recommend the analog controller. You can choose from eight bikes before race, even in the middle of a championship season, and each is modeled after a high-performance 'cycle. You can even pull off wheelies and simple show-off tricks by hitting one of the Shoulder Buttons. Moto Racer contains the eight tracks from the PC version, as well as two PlayStation-only ones (all of which mirror later on). The tracks take you through cities, deserts, the countryside-even across the Great Wall of China! The Split-screen, Two-player Mode is also well done (you can split it vertically or horizontally). It manages to maintain a high frame rate without losing much detail.

9.0

Wow talk about a surprise! I didn't expect Moto Racer to be nearly as good as it ended up being. The graphics are awesome, the gameplay is super smooth, and most Importantly--It's fun. Track variety is superb (there are road tracks and motocross tracks), and control with Sony's analog pad is just perfect. Heck, even the music is really good. Having CPU opponents in 2P Mode would've been nice, but otherwise this game rocks.

5.0

If Moto Racer were the only motorcycle racing game in the world, I would hang up my helmet) Sorry, but I would rather inhale the fumes of a powerful real-life GP racing machine than play this game! The control was decent, but bad track design and poor planning lead me to believe that real gameplay was all an afterthought. The idea was good, but the execution falls short of working as well as it was originally planned.

7.0

I actually enjoyed playing Moto Racer. Many times, when a racing game tries to combine different styles of motoring, it waters down the overall experience. This is not the case in Moto Racer. Both the Motocross and Grand Prix motorcycle racing had its own, distinct look and feel and they both play great. Even better, the graphics are good with smooth textures. Moto Racer isn't a landmark racer, but it is a good game. Check it out.

It's about time we had some motorcycle sims come out for the 32-Bit game platform! One can only play Road Rash for so long, as good as it is.

Moto Racer Gold hopes to slay its audience with flashy 3-D environments and a whole lot of different bikes and styles of racing to choose from-16 different bikes to be exact, all sport their own handling and performance characteristics dictated by the type of racing and the complexity of the track or city course.

Having eight different tracks-some motocross, some Grand Prix and a few city and foreign locations-the game is attempting to cover all the bases. Whether or not it can pull off Moto and Grand Prix racing in the same game remains to be seen. Andretti Racing successfully delivered Stock and Indy Car racing in a driving sim but that was a little easier since it all took place on level, paved roads not to mention in automobiles. Hopefully it can be done for motorcycles as well.

For multiplayer action Moto Racer will support up to four players via link-up cables. Race in Practice, Single Race or Grand Prix Mode.

While these shots were taken from a development computer, they give us a good idea of how this motorcycle racing bonanza will look when it finally hits the PlayStation. The game will also be available for the PC featuring 3-D acceleration capability and a new Stereo Doppler sound effects system as well.

We can only hope BMG pulls it altogether to give race fans a great motorcycle racing sim.

  • MANUFACTURER - BMG
  • THEME - Racing
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4

Overview

Over the last few months, you could not open a gaming magazine that did not feature an advertisement for this game. The ads were fairly subtle and to be honest, all they really needed to do to get the attention of race fans was print the words "Motorcycle Racing for PSX that does not Suck!" That is all the convincing I would need to get me hyped for a good motor bike game.

Well, as luck would have it, EA could have used the above ad campaign and it would be dead on. Not only does this game not suck, it actually kicks some serious ass. Shred on these features; Two very different types of racing, 10 tracks, a decent split screen two player mode and, if you are good enough, Pocket Bikes. Finally, a motorcycle game that is worth talking about!

Gameplay

Before I start this review, I want to take a minute and reflect on why I am a console gamer and not a PC gamer. The following is a direct quote taken from our PC counterpart's review of Moto Racer PC. "Moto Racer really shines when played on a system equipped with a Direct3D-compatible 3D accelerator, but on a system without one the display can slow to the point where the game is unplayable." The graphics section then goes on to describe how the detail setting affects the outcome of the race. That is exactly why I prefer console system. Everyone has the same speed processor. Everyone has the same graphics card. Everyone has the same speed CD ROM drive. Everyone has the same amount of RAM. The point is simple. I get a game, I put it in my Playstation, I start playing. There is no such thing as a system specific flaw. The game either flaws not at all or on every system. Period!

Ok, now that I have jumped down from my soapbox, let's talk about Moto Racer. First, let's talk about the different types of racing available. The game can be played on a single race or in the championship mode. If you select Single Race, you have six tracks to choose from you are free to race on any of the 6 available tracks. If you select Championship mode, you will have 8 to 10 different tracks, depending on the difficulty setting. This mode handles the tracks a bit differently. You will start at one track and until you finish in the top three out of eight, you can't go on to the next track. When you manage to finish the 8 or 10 tracks, they will reverse and you have to finish in the top three racers going counter of the original track.

The differences in the tracks are not just the design. The differences are in the design and the type of bike you race. For example, on the first race in the Championship mode, you will race street bikes called Superbikes. These are the ultra sleek motorcycles that fly by you on the freeway doing about 145 MPH. I think the street name for them is "Crotch Rockets". So you will blast down urban stretches of highway and wrap around hairpin corners. If you finish in the top three, it is on to the next track. This track has you driving a motocross bike. This is good old off-road, flying over jumps and playing in the mud tracks. Actually, you will see mud, sand snow and even the Great Wall depending on how far you can advance.

I have to admit that I was disappointed in the few quantity of tracks available. Sure, 10 is quite a few but I would have liked to see another couple tracks for each type of racing. Instead, what EA did to keep the replay value higher was to change the stakes of winning depending on your skill setting. What this means is that if you set the difficulty to easy, you will only have 8 tracks to beat. After you beat the 8 tracks, you race the same tracks in the opposite direction. If you beat those eight tracks, game over. If you play with the skill setting at medium or hard, you have 10 tracks to beat. If you beat the 10 tracks, you must beat the same tracks in the opposite direction. If you manage to do this, you will enable the Pocket Bikes.

What is a Pocket Bike, you ask? It is a tiny little version of a full size bike that goes anywhere from 15 to 40 MPH faster. The pocket bikes are easy to control and you can really fly on the tracks. The best part about the Pocket Bikes is that the rider stays full size so his knees are sticking out like an adult on a child's bike. The look is perfect!

I talked about the different skill levels effecting the tracks and activating the Pocket Bike mode. I usually don't discuss difficult levels unless the game is too hard or too easy. In the Case of Moto Racer, the difficulty settings were perfect. It is rare that a game gets the right formula when computing the jump from easy to medium to hard. This game does a great job. The easy setting will help you learn the game and get a feel for everything. After your first few races, you should come in first the rest of the way through the Championship. Now that you have kicked the easy level's ass, you will start to feel cocky and move up to medium. You will finish last. You will get pissed and say that it is not fair that the computer bikes are so good. I was ready to launch my controller through the window. Well, after you try a few more times, you realize you can make one major mistake and still finish in the top three. If you make two, forget it. It took me hours to make it through all the tracks on medium skill. Guess what? It was great because I could not stop until I finished that track I was on. I knew it was possible and I came close so many times so I was motivated to keep pushing on. A lot of racing games out there have missed the balance of too easy and too hard.

The most frequent question I am asked about this game is which type of racing do I prefer, the street bikes or the motocross. To be honest, it is a toss up. They did a great job on both types of racing. The motocross has you flying over mountain sized jumps and ripping through sandy beaches. The street bikes are a rush because you are flying down streets so fast that you never know what will happen. Both types of racing have something to say for themselves.

The last thing I want to say about this game is that they did a great job giving you the sensation of speed. How many racing games have you played that you are driving along at what seems like a leisurely Sunday afternoon pace only to look down at your speedometer and see you are doing 375 MPH? I can think of a handful of games off the top of my head. Don't worry about that problem here. You will feel like you are doing 200 MPH when you hit the speed burst button.

Graphics

The graphics were great and yet not so great. Let's start with the positives. Your bike and racer were awesome. Every corner you would take, the driver would lean into it or drop his leg to help keep balance. Often times the driver would take a quick look over his shoulder to see the action behind him. This is one of the best animated and realist looking characters I have seen. Also, the tracks are all littered with signs and different attractions. I really don't understand the giant dog waiving the checkered flag but it still looks cool.

On the negative side, the crashes were lame. They all looked pretty much the same. Your guy would either fly up in the air or just fall off the bike. I want some Road Rash type crashes where the guy goes sliding or tumbling across the road. Also, the game had some tweaks. Quite often, the track would have a couple blue lines of break up off in the distance. Also, if you got too close to a wall, it would disappear. This seems to be a common problem in lots of PSX games.

Bottom Line

On the whole, I liked this game. I think it got a higher score because it is diverse, original and good. I would have liked more tracks because once you finish all the tracks in every mode, there is not much motivation to go back unless you are playing a friend in the split screen mode. I think that racing fans will enjoy this game and I think it is about time we had a good motorcycle racing game to play. By the way, I was going to play a game of Tetris on my PC when I finished this review, but I don't have 3 hours to spend changing all of my settings and drivers. I guess I will just have to go for a couple more laps of Moto Racer.

Overview

Motorcycle racing games have been a favorite in arcades for several years. You know which games I mean -- the ones where there's an actual motorcycle body you can sit on and you really have to lean into the turns. The illusion of racing a bullet bike at breakneck speeds is sometimes irresistible. Even better are the arcades that have several machines linked for multiplayer racing. This style of game has been mostly an arcade-only experience until now. Moto Racer brings the adrenaline rush to the PC, and even though it still has a long way to go to match the full arcade machines it is still lots of fun to play, especially with friends.

Gameplay

When you first start Moto Racer you can select one of two modes -- a single-race practice mode where you can run a time trial, or a practice against the computer opponents and a Championship mode where you go through all the tracks in a preset order. At first only four tracks are available; four more are made available as you win races in the championship mode. There are both on- and off-road tracks -- to win the game you must take first place on all eight.

The controls are very simple -- you can accelerate, brake and turn your bike, and there is also a turbo that can give you an extra burst of speed to edge out an opponent. Selecting a manual transmission adds gear up and down commands.

In each race you start at last place and must pass all the other bikes to win. It is possible, but since the computer drivers don't seem to make mistakes it can be tough to beat them. With the limited number of tracks and unintelligent opponents, Moto Racer quickly becomes boring in single player mode. To really enjoy the game, you will want to hook up with other players either on a local network or over the Internet.

A lot of attention has been paid to track details -- the scenery around each track is unique, ranging from brooding castles and steep cliffs to downtown cityscapes. Extra touches like balloons and birds flying over the course make the track feel alive. The driver animations are fantastic -- you can watch each driver react to the bumps and jumps in the track, check behind for approaching opponents, and lean hard on the sharp turns. One problem with Moto Racer is the inconsistent treatment of terrain. On tracks that are mostly paved road your bike never skids out of control, even when the terrain looks like dirt or sand. And when on the snow-covered track, you still skid and send up showers of snow when you enter the tunnel where the road looks dry.

Graphics

Moto Racer really shines when played on a system equipped with a Direct3D-compatible 3D accelerator, but on a system without one the display can slow to the point where the game is unplayable. On my Pentium 133 with a Voodoo-based 3D card, the game ran very smoothly. There are a couple of problems with the graphics, though -- the first is with the detail level settings. When the detail complexity is set to the highest level, it is almost impossible to win a race. Race times that beat the track records aren't good enough to get you more than eighth place in the race. But if you drop the detail level even one notch, you can easily get first place with the same time. This is poor programming -- players shouldn't lose the game because they have pretty graphics. Another problem is the apparent distance in front of you at which objects along the sides of the track appear. On several tracks it looks like there is a clear straightaway when suddenly a wall will appear directly in front of you. This makes it very difficult to win on any of the tracks the first time through -- you have to replay them after learning where the corners will appear.

Audio

The sound effects are fairly well done -- the engine sounds of each bike move around you and change in pitch as you pass your opponents, and the voice-overs are good, but most of the other effects such as crashes and extra environmental sounds are fair at best. Each track also has its own theme music that fits the style of the race.

Documentation

The documentation for Moto Racer is practically non-existent -- not that you need much for a game this easy to play, but it would have been nice to have more information on the different options and on setting up multiplayer games.

System Requirements

Required: Windows 95, Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, DirectX compatible video card with 2 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, DirectX compatible sound card. IPX or TCP/IP network connection required for multiplayer play
Recommended: Pentium 133 or faster, 4X CD-ROM drive, Direct3D compatible 3D acceleration card

Bottom Line

While it is the best motorcycle racing game I've played, Moto Racer fails to stand up to other racing-style games when it comes to fun and replay value. The limited number of tracks is the biggest drawback, although the great support for multiplayer gaming is a huge plus. Overall, I would recommend it for die-hard motorcycle race fans, but for those not as dedicated to owning every racing game this is probably a good one to skip.

Flashback fans can rejoice: The Flashback sequel, Fade to Black, a direct port of the PC version, is breaking onto the PlayStation.

Featuring great Resident EviHype graphics, this strategy/action game will keep you involved for hours. Unfortunately, half that time may be spent with the twitchy controls.

As the protagonist Conrad, you explore 13 levels in an attempt to escape from an alien prison. Shooting, fighting, jumping, and teleporting are your tickets to freedom.

The strategy can be fun, and it can also be frustrating. Pinpoint shooting and jumping requires patience and lots of smarts. The puzzles require more of the same. The game is tough and challenging, but it rewards you with cool cinematics. It's definitely worth buying. If you're a fan of Flashback, you can't let this one fade away.

ProTips:

  • Take the elevator up, then recharge at the machine in the hallway. Go through the door with the knife and fork on it, shoot the Morph, and walk down the hall into the cafeteria.
  • Don't shoot the cook! It you do, you'll be blocked outside the room on the left.
  • Don't open the lockers! One triggers the wall gun in the last hallway.
  • Check the locker in your room when you start
  • A droid lurks in the hall. When you leave your room, blast It, then step on the panel in the hallway. Run to the door at the opposite end of the hall before it closes.

Graphics

Biocky polygons and the main character's bland sprite are redeemed by realistic movement and eerie backgrounds and enemies. But all this is overshadowed by...

Sound

Lots of voice-over, effective zapping and laser crackling, fairly good explosions, and even a couple of wisecracks (& la Duke Nukem) help the game along.

Control

..slow and unresponsive controls. When you turn to shoot or access control panels, the camera angles change, and you're often caught in an unexpected crossfire. Tricky maneuvering around danger zones increases the annoyance.

Fun Factor

Once you get into the game, it's hard to stop playing. Although a full walkthrough would reduce the fun, you'll definitely need a player's guide. Pick up a PC hint book-the strategy is the same.

Snapshots and Media

Playstation Screenshots

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