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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: September 6, 1998
One of the distinguishing characteristics of motorcycle racing, both in real-life and on the computer, is letting out all of the stops. You throw caution to the wind, put the pedal to the metal, and experience the pure exhilaration of raw speed. Leaning forward on your bike, carefully balancing around tight turns, your body coils tightly with an unswerving focus on one mission: winning. By comparison, auto racing seems to be for sedate and conservative weenies.
Since previewing Redline Racer in early June, I have been chomping at the bit to see the full release version of the game. Distributed by the French Ubi Soft (of POD fame) and designed by the British Criterion Studios (of Sub Culture fame), this game has been available in Europe for quite some time but only now are Americans getting a chance to experience it. Even my first exposure to it convinced me that I had never witnessed a more colorful and fast-paced racing game.
Far more than Microsoft’s Motocross Madness and Electronic Arts’ Moto Racer 2, Redline Racer is unabashedly an arcade racing game with an emphasis on fun rather than realism. There are no complicated bike settings to choose to affect performance, most of the motorcycles look quite different from real ones, and the tracks contain twists and turns that would never be designed that way intentionally by anyone with a smidgen of sanity. Nobody in his or her right mind would assume the racing in this game is an accurate replication of the real thing.
Consistent with the arcade emphasis are the elements of whimsy present throughout the game. The opening menu screen undulates continuously, as if the excitement of the motorcycle racing is keeping even the computer so on edge that it has to pulsate wildly. When you crash — and you will a lot before you get used to the incredible pace of the racing — the rider emits a yell that could only bring a chuckle of relief from the white-knuckled tension of the racing itself. When you manage to unlock the bonus bikes, you will find Skitz the Dog (Criterion’s logo), Roger the Rocket, the submarine from Criterion’s Sub Culture, and Barnaby the Dinosaur in addition to more conventional looking motorcycles. The designers of the game clearly did not take themselves too seriously, and they do not want you to take yourself too seriously when playing the game.
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