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A.P.I Review: JET RIDER 2
Developer: SingleTrac OPTIONS: S.SHOT
SCREENSHOTS:
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-2 Player
Game Type: Racing Memory Card
Review Date: March 1998 Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

The original Jet Rider was the frantic multi surface racer that 
allowed you to tear up tortuous stretches of ocean, swamp and snow 
covered mountain side as you strapped yourself onto a cross between 
a jet ski, a motocross bike, and a rocket (the US version was called 
Jet Moto). 

Now developers SingleTrac, creators of Twisted Metal 2 and Warhawk, 
have attempted to continue the successful formula by providing a 
sequel that holds the imaginative title.... aw, you guessed it, 
Jet Rider 2.

Although the handling and objective remains the same, Jet Rider 2 
has ten brand new tracks to test your racing skills on, ranging 
over many different types of terrain with the later circuits also 
providing a fair old challenge to hold down your lunch.

Genre

The object of the game is to compete against 19 other riders through 
championship, rally and elimination races on a futuristic Jet Bike 
that flies, bucks and maneuvers like nothing seen before in a game.

Graphics

Contrary to what you may already have read about this game the graphics 
are an improvement over the original title. Once again the visuals
contain the hallmark of SingleTrac's past offerings - bright,
colorful and detailed with a slight grainy look to the scenery.
Perhaps grainy is the wrong word. More like you are negotiating your
way around an abstract oil painting. Unfortunately this affects the
gameplay because I usually find that the best system to beat a
racing game is to play the tracks, visualize the tracks, learn the
tracks and then beat the tracks. Not so in this case because you
simply cannot see which direction to go when negotiating the larger
more open sections of the circuits making it only possible to learn
the fastest route by crashing and smashing your way around each
course enough times until you form some sort of imaginary map in 
your head. It's not on and it spoils what could have been an
excellent game.

Sounds and Effects

The sound effects are once again crisp and well defined, although 
the noise of the engine seems to have been toned down a few notches. 
A few background noises can be heard such as the wailing cop cars 
in Aftershock and add to the overall atmosphere of the game.

The music is a blend of guitar thrashing rock tracks with the occasional 
piece of classical music thrown in for good measure. It doesn't live 
up to the Pulp Fiction style tracks from the original game but they 
are quite catchy.

Playability

If you experienced the original game then Jet Rider 2 should be treated 
as a straightforward extension because this is a simply more of the 
same kind of thing. The main difference being that rather than select 
from 20 characters and four racing teams you now choose a specific 
rider from a smaller list of ten. Each has his or her own characteristics 
and bike styles while a biography has been included should you wish 
to get to know them a little better. Depending on how you wish to 
race, character selection is extremely important. Li'l Dave's jet ski 
has maximum acceleration but low weight and slower speed while at the 
other end of the scale you may select Bombers bike that has high speed 
and top weight with little acceleration. A light bike will handle well 
but a heavier bike can knock the crap out of it... so unless you plan 
on being out in front every race, the lightest bike is not necessarily 
the best. There should be something in there to suit everyone's riding 
style. 

There are a good selection of racing circuits but similar to the first 
game the opening tracks must be conquered before access to the others 
are gained. 

Slickrock Gorge is a fairly stiff opener that winds through the dusty 
canyon before launching off the edge of a cliff onto the waters below 
to face a series of fast flowing rapids and waterfalls. 

Meltdown is the first of many suicide tracks where not only do you face 
the challenge provided by the tricky twisting circuit but also avoid 
collisions with oncoming tail-enders.

There's also Aftershock set on the West Coast after a major earthquake, 
Arctic Blast where glaciers and sunken ships must be negotiated, Hot 
Shot in a National Park and the extremely difficult Shaft that takes 
place in a darkened mineshaft.

Should you make it this far through the game then the final four 'fun' 
tracks begin to open up which are Ka Ma Ta set in New Zealand over a 
series of suspension bridges, then it's off to heaven as Nebulous takes 
you on a journey above the clouds. The treacherous snowy mountains of 
Mach Snell must be defeated before experiencing the ultimate fun fair 
trip as you chance your luck on the Rollercide.

Game modes include Practice, Single Race, Head to Head or a full Season. 
There is also a Custom Mode that allows you to select your tracks in any 
order for a one or two player Championship or Rally race. Difficulty may 
be set from Novice to Master while the duration of each race can be 
between two and six laps.

Handling of the bikes is very responsive and tight for the most part, but 
there are some hair-pin turns that are extremely tight. To make these turns 
you need to use a special device on your bike called a grapple. This 
activates special sensor poles at each of the tight turn locations. The poles 
send out a particle beam that grabs onto your bike and helps you to make the 
tight corner. If you don't release the grapple at the right moment though, 
you can be slammed into the electrified lane boarders.

Value for Money

Many fans of the first game will already have purchased this title and probably 
completed all of the circuits. To the uninitiated I suggest that you rent this 
title before you buy. It's so unlike any other racer on the market and unless 
you are mentally prepared for it then the control pad will be thrown to the 
floor many times in frustration.
Opinion
MARTIN
GRAPHICS: 16/20 If you ask me whether Jet Rider 2 is challenging then I would have to say yes. But is it fun? Not really. Imagine playing a game like Cool Boarders 2 and all of the tracks were set on those mountainousness regions where with one slip you fall off, over and over again. It can be that frustrating. With a great deal of skill you can build up a commanding lead only to be dismounted by an accidental collision with a stray rider who is heading towards you in the opposite direction. If you enjoy that sort of thing then surely you can flip your vehicle around in any racing game and drive head first into oncoming traffic rather than be subjected to this during standard gameplay.
SOUND: 8/10
PLAYABILITY: 41/50
VALUE: 16/20
OVERALL 81%

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