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A.P.I Review: MOTO RACER 2
Developer: Delphine Software OPTIONS: S.SHOT
SCREENSHOTS:
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Electronic Arts 1-2 Player Split
Game Type: Racing Memory Card
Review Date: September 1998 Analog Dual Shock

Setting the Scene

Wha Hooo!  The sequel to the best motorcycle racing game of 1997 is
finally out and I couldn't be happier!

Moto Racer 2 places the gamer squarely into the heat of either
high-speed café style racing or dirt bike action...your choice!  

Pop on your helmet (for aesthetic purposes only of course), grab hold of
your controller and get ready for one of the PSX's fastest racing
titles.

Genre

Moto Racer 2 is basically a hybrid motorcycle racer extravaganza in
which you have a choice of controlling a sleek café style racer or
getting down and dirty with a motocross bike.

Graphics

Lots of little graphical improvements have been made over last year's
title such as ambient/real time lighting effects, better transparencies
and various weather conditions.  The strange thing is that the actual
gameplay graphics have really not improved at all.  In fact, after
seeing such games as Gran Tourismo and Need for Speed 3, Moto Racer 2's
graphics look rather grainy and dated by comparison.

This is not to say that the graphics don't shine...they work just fine
and keep the frame rate extremely high.  The scenery graphics are flying
by at an incredible clip giving one a real sense of speed and danger.  I
also liked the wide variety of track environments that are presented in
MR2, the selection is much broader than its predecessor.

Night driving is now an option and to help you see where you are going a
headlight has been added to the bike.  It's a nice little touch, but I
did notice a little glitch when you are flying over dirt mounds the beam
of the headlight stays focused on the road instead of projecting up and
out into the scenery.  There is also a bit of pop-up apparent throughout
the game.  Oh well, guess I'm just being nit picky here.

The various weather effects such as snow and rain are nicely depicted
and add to the ambience and challenge of the game.

Overall while not cutting edge, the graphics accurately portray the art
of cycle racing and present the gamer with a rich and varied world to
set their land speed records on.

Sounds and Effects

If you like loud, hard-driving, adrenaline pumping rock music then you
are gonna love the tunes in MR2.  The passionate, roller coaster
melodies drive home the point that you are out there on two wheels
pushing the envelope to win each race.  The tunes get you in that "grit
your teeth and fly" mode that so well represents the sport.

Sound effects are on the money with the sweet sounding whine of the café
racers to the sputtering "blip, blip" lawn mower sounds of the dirt
bikes. 

Playability

Being a bit of a motorcycle enthusiast myself, I was really looking
forward to the sequel to Moto Racer.  The original game really excelled
in the area of control and "feel" of the bike and I am pleased to say
that MR2 picks up right where the original left off. 

Making a sequel to a highly successful title always has the same
problem..."what can they do to top the original?"  Well MR2 seems to
answer this question with ease.  Delphine, the creators of the game,
left in all of the good stuff of the first title and added a whole lot
of things to make Moto Racer 2 a truly complete package.

The first addition is the number of tracks...MR2 comes with 32 of them
all set in realistic locations such as desserts, metropolitan areas,
forests, etc.  For the most part, the tracks are very well laid out and
provide a nice challenging race.  

If you get tired of, or defeat all of the tracks provided, MR2 comes
with a track editor!  While I must say that the editor is a bit crude
and rather hard at first to utilize, it does allow you to customize any
of the existing courses or start from scratch and then save your
creations.  You can then set up a custom championship race using your
newly created masterpieces or save up to 120 tracks on your standard
memory card to swap with friends.  This alone is worth the price of
admission and virtually sets the reply value into the stratosphere. 

You want more?  Okay, you can now select various weather conditions such
as rain and snow to race in.  Each condition has a dramatic effect on
the way your vehicle handles.  Driving in the snow for instance is a
real chore in the simulation mode.  You also have the option of day or
night races.

Next up there is the arcade or simulation mode.  In arcade mode,
mistakes are much more forgiving and you can basically rip around the
tracks bumping into walls and such and hardly ever fall off your
bike...you just get slowed down a bit.  Now the sim mode is another
beast entirely.  Flying around the courses with reckless abandon in this
mode with get you thrown off your bike quicker than "you know what
through a goose".  This mode is for the more hard core racer that really
wishes to experience the thrill of victory and the almost constant agony
of defeat!

There is also a nice replay mode included that allows you to save your
best races and go back to review them whenever you like.  This mode also
features some nicely choreographed camera angles that really place you
into the action.

The Championship race has been tightened up a bit and now does not
require you to finish each race in the top 3 to proceed to the next
track.  Instead there is a numbering system that gives you points that
correspond to the place you finish in.   This is a nice way to let you
see and enjoy all the courses in this mode.   There are also multiple
Championship races to choose from such as dirt bike only, rice burner
only and a combination of the two.

MR2 thankfully retains the control characteristic that ultimately made
the first MR so much fun to play.  The analog controls are right on the
money and now even the digital controls, which pretty much sucked in the
first game, have been corrected for this version.  The dual shock is
also a nice added feature that works well in the game.  If you take a
corner too fast and your rear wheel begins to kick out, you start
getting a vibration from the controller that increases until you crash.

On the hard setting the racers are brutal as ever...really challenging
you to run an almost error free race.  In order to consistently win,
utilization of the turbo button is essential.  Pressing this button
causes your bike to pop a wheelie and jet ahead at a considerably higher
speed...while on one wheel.  Obviously using the turbo when going around
a turn can be a pretty bad idea...touch the wall while in turbo and you
instantly wipe out, even in arcade mode.  Gauging when and how much to
use the turbo adds a nice strategic element to the overall gameplay.

In conclusion, Moto Racer 2 shines once again as the brightest star in
motorcycle racing games.  Unless something slips in unexpectedly, I can
assure you that MR2 is easily the best motorcycle racing to be gracing
the Playstation in 1998.  It jams!   

Value for Money

Okay, lets look at the facts here.  We've got 32 tracks, a track editor
that gives us unlimited tracks and variations on existing tracks, superb
one AND two-player racing, arcade and simulation modes...yep, I can say
that the replay value on this puppy is way up there.

Even if you already have the first Moto Racer, this one adds enough new
elements and tracks to warrant a purchase in my book.
Opinion
TOM
GRAPHICS: 17/20 An awesome follow-up to an already excellent game, Moto Racer 2 virtually excels in the areas of control and gameplay.

Beginners will feel right at home starting out in arcade mode and working their way up through the ranks, while more experienced gamers will be challenged by the simulation mode and unlimited tracks that can be created by the included track editor.

If you really want to see what videogame motorcycle racing is all about, check out this game...it's the best in it's class on the Playstation.
SOUND: 8/10
PLAYABILITY: 48/50
VALUE: 19/20
OVERALL 92%

 

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