|MotoRacer was released in late 1997 and was generally regarded as
the first good motorcycle racing game to be released for the PC. It aims to
be a simulator with a dash of arcade-style action thrown in for good measure.
It succeeds in being one of the best racing games available for any system
-- console or computer.
The game initially provides the player with a selection of four tracks, half
of them motocross oriented and half super-bike (or crotch rocket) style. Upon
choosing a track, the game allows you to select a motorcycle, each with varying
degrees of acceleration, braking ability, grip and maximum speed. Once that
is completed, it's off to the starting line.
MotoRacer has three modes of play:
Single Race, Championship Mode, and Practice Mode. The Single Race mode allows
you to try your hand at each track while
playing against computer-controlled opponents. Championship Mode allows you
to do the same, but you must place in the top three to continue to the next
track. Practice Mode allows you to race on each track and get a feel for it
without opponents. You can also choose to play Practice Mode with a "time
attack" feature turned on, which requires you to beat record times.
MotoRacer never overcomplicates things by allowing the player to buy new tires
or new engines. Everything is focused on getting the player to the racing action
as fast as possible. Because this is not an attempt at a serious simulation,
this is a good thing. I'm not a mechanic and I don't feel I need to be when
I want to play a game. MotoRacer obliges and keeps things focused on the balls-out
By beating the first four tracks, additional tracks open up and each additional
track is as challenging as its predecessors. MotoRacer gets a definite thumbs
up for providing gamers with a challenge. Even at the easiest difficulty level,
one crash may knock you out of the running for those coveted top three positions.
Practice is definitely the key to getting anywhere in this game. If you manage
to beat the tracks in regular mode, a reverse mode is turned on, allowing you
to race each track backwards. Beat the tracks that way and a pocket bikes option
is available, which provides the player with smaller, zippier bikes to race
The graphics in MotoRacer are top-notch. Even though this is a first-generation
3D game, the visuals stand up quite nicely to games currently being released.
Each track includes a myriad of details (at the highest detail setting, of
course) that really add atmosphere to the game. Most include objects moving
above or around the edges of the track, including planes that buzz the racers,
UFO's flying overhead, birds and more. Even with the detail level turned down,
the game manages to remain fairly nice to look at, while retaining the all-important
smooth frame-rate that makes a racing game fun and easy to play.
I played the game on a 2D-only 2MB S3 Trio card, with no Direct3D support,
a 4MB AGP with limited Direct3D support, and with a 12 MB Voodoo 2 accelerator
with full D3D support. In each case, the game remained exciting and fun, with
varying degrees of detail available. Even on the 2MB Trio card, the game was
relatively smooth and detailed. Of course, on the Voodoo 2, the game was a
dream. However, I did have to download a patch from the Internet to get the
game to run on the Voodoo 2. After doing so, there was no looking back.
The best part of the graphics (and the game, actually) is that there is a
definite feeling of moving at a high rate of speed. One thing that can sabotage
any racing game's excitement level is a lack of any notion that you are moving
as fast as the on-screen speedometer says you are. In MotoRacer, that's not
a problem at all and, once you start hitting the many jumps included on the
motocross courses at top speed, the game will have you hooked.
The in-game sounds are not bad,
if a little sparse. The engine noises are adequate enough, with the engine
sputtering to a start and revving up in a
sufficiently realistic manner. An announcer will occasionally make comments
about your performance, like "You're running for a record time!" or "You
have more than one gear!" His comments are never particularly insightful,
but added to the graphical eye-candy, he makes for a slightly more intense
gaming experience. The game's music, however, is wonderful. Ranging from synth-based
mood music to guitar thrashing metal, the soundtrack is exquisite.
Controlling the game can be done through the keyboard, gamepad or via a joystick.
I prefer to use a gamepad and found I could control the game more accurately
by using it rather than the keyboard or analog joystick. The game is forgiving
enough to remain fun and tough enough to encourage you to do better next time.
You'll never blame the game for a crash and that's a sign that the designers
put the game together right.
If I have
a complaint about the game at all, it would have to be about the other drivers
on the tracks. If you run into the back of another bike, you'll
knock it forward while you slow down. The other bike never loses control or
wrecks, it just flies forward. It's a minor quibble, but during a high-pressure
race when only one rider remains and you're just about to overtake him, bumping
into the back of his bike, sending him flying forward and slowing yourself
down in the process is extremely frustrating.
Even after a year on the market, MotoRacer is still a damn fine game that
allows gamers with even the most paltry of 3D capable PCs to have an exhilarating
time. Well worth the price, especially now that it's been re-released as a
MotoRacer requires a Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, DirectX 3.0 supported PCI video
card with 2Mb RAM, 2X CD-ROM, and Windows 95. Recommended: Pentium 166MMX or
faster, 32MB RAM, Direct3D supported PCI or AGP video card with 4Mb RAM, Four
button joystick, 4X CD-ROM (8X CD-ROM if playing accompanied music).
It was reviewed on a Intel Pentium II 233, 32 MB RAM, 32X CD-ROM, Best Data
Arcade FXII Voodoo 2 accelerator, AW35 PnP Soundcard, Saitek X6-32M gamepad,
and Windows 98.