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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: January 5, 1998
Some games try to do just too much. It is quite easy to forget the very basic axiom that no matter how hard you try you cannot please everyone, a premise that is particularly true when applied to the increasingly diverse pool of computer game consumers. With less expensive and more widely available storage capacities, many game developers are tempted to throw everything including the kitchen sink into their products, rather than focusing on being truly excellent in one area, in the hope that everyone will find something appealing. In the field of racing games, especially, it seems a lot more dangerous to try to encompass all types of racing then to execute one type really well.
The specific niche of motorcycle racing perfectly illustrates this general principle. Ubi Soft’s Redline Racer has pointedly pursued, and in my view attained, the crown as the very best arcade bike racer on the market. Microsoft’s Motocross Madness is the outstanding dirt and stunt bike racing game available. Intense Entertainment’s Castrol Honda Superbike World Champions is the current king of motorcycle simulations out at this time. While Electronic Arts once ruled the PC motorcycle racing category with Moto Racer, it has been overtaken by these three excellent releases this year.
So, given this heightened competition, how does the new sequel — Moto Racer 2 — try to respond? Developed for Electronic Arts by the same company as the original Moto Racer, Delphine Software International, this new version is without doubt the most ambitious motorcycle racing game to date. To put it simply, it attempts to be the very best at every type of motorcycle racing, as if to try to knock all three of the successful upstarts off their perches at once. As one would expect, however, the net result of this effort is the emergence of an all-encompassing offering that does not outdo its competitors in any single type of racing.
Fitting its aspiration for comprehensiveness, Moto Racer 2 presents a huge range of choices to gamers. A whopping total of 32 tracks is available for your racing pleasure, far more than in most other racing games of any variety. Weather effects such as rain or snow affect your ability to control your motorcycle, and you can choose these as well as the time of day when you race. You may also determine how many laps a race contains. An enhanced replay mode, with “TV-style” camera angles, allows you to save your favorite races. You may race in practice mode at your own pace, in time trial mode against the clock, in single race mode, or in championship mode. You may play the game alone against the computer, in multiplayer mode allowing competition among four players at a single computer or over the Internet, or among eight players over a LAN.
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