In The Days When Dickie Davies' grey hair was confined to a streak, motorcycle racing was one of the mainstays of ITVs World Of Sport, along with speedway and, of course, wrestling, grapple fans. Rainy Saturday afternoons were vaguely bearable, the magnetic Barry Sheene was a household name, and America's bizarrely monickered Randy Mamola always guaranteed a smirk.
Great days indeed. And Ubi Soft are now set to relive them with the release of Red Line Racer. Of course they're not. That would be ridiculous. But it is a motorcycle racing game. Taking the helm (Handlebars? It's o bike, not a boat - Ed) of a superbike of your choice, you are placed at the back of a field of 20 and given three laps in which to plough your way to the front, weaving in and out of the traffic with some style. The tracks are themed around such disparate environments as Alpine, English country lane, beach, and desert canyon, with further courses becoming available in a performance-related manner. There's no actual championship mode as such though, which is becoming something of a worrying trend in racing games. Not worrying in the sense of impending doom or imminent bloody conflict, obviously, but it's all relative.
Graphically, for the 3D cardholders among you it all looks very nice. In fact it looks like pretty much every other 3Dfx game, but that's another story. A token helicopter looms into view every so often, and the token lens flare is thrown about liberally, giving it an Easy Rider feel, albeit accompanied by shit generic 'game' music of the worst kind. In the third-person view, the rider's arse shifts around in his seat in a fairly convincing fashion, and the bike leans over until leather-clad knee scrapes hot tar. This is all the more frightening in first-person, where the horizon lurches about violently with the negotiation of every bend. Furthermore, the inclusion of a turbo button enables you to pull some impressive wheelies, thus impressing any watching girls.
Further hilarity comes in the form of secret 'bikes', including a dinosaur, the Criterion dog logo and the craft out of Sub Culture. Best of all though is a Quadrophcnia-style scooter, enabling you to give it your best Phil Daniels impression. Unfortunately, pleasuring Leslie Ash in an alley isn't part of the deal.
One of the more impressive aspects of the game - and the one causing most merriment in the office - is the spectacular crash sequences. Get it wrong and your rider is tossed into the air like a rag doll, screaming in pain and flailing pathetically as his fragile body is shattered by the immediate scenery. In real life - whatever that is - if he was lucky enough to survive, the next few months would be a long, tortuous road to recovery, eating through a straw and becoming a burden to his friends and family. However, Red Line Racer is not a documentary, and your plucky rider is soon back on his trusty steed, happy and ready to ride again. Which is nice.
Download Redline Racer
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
If it wasn't for the recent explosion in 3D graphics cards, Red Line Racer would surely never have seen the light of day. Compared to any ancient bike racing game you care to remember, it doesn't offer anything particularly new apart from fast and flashy graphics. It doesn't pretend to be a simulation, but rather a fast and furious racer aimed squarely at those bored with the mound of four-wheeled titles adorning high street shelves.
The aim, as per usual, is to race around the various tracks in the fastest possible time. Beating your opponents gains access to 'secret' tracks, and with a little bit of jiggery-pokery (ie cheat codes) you can change your bike into any number of bizarre high-speed steeds, ranging from a scooter to the sub from Sub Culture. The best part of the game is the way in which riders are thrown from their bikes after speeding into hedges, but don't expect any realistic twisting of bone or patches of blood appearing on the tarmac; what you get is cheesy but satisfying screams and flailing bodies rather like - but not as good as - Motocross Madness.
The lack of any championship modes certainly makes the game seem a bit light, but if that's what takes your fancy Red Line Racer is as light as they come.