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Game Over Online ~ Moto GP

GameOver Game Reviews - Moto GP (c) THQ, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Moto GP (c) THQ
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Wednesday, May 15th, 2002 at 09:09 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Flight simulators often come in two flavors. The first is one with an attention to real-life physics, but has its fundamentals compromised to make it fun. The second is one that could almost end up in a commercial flight training school and frequently is not fun to those outside of the niche. Motorcycle racing games are not that different. Moto GP is a classic motorcycle racing game that pays homage to the days when Pole Position was considered a racing simulation. Nowadays, we have NASCAR and Formula One racing titles that border on simulations with Need for Speed and Grand Turismo picking up the slack for the mainstream racers. Moto GP is clearly of the latter ilk and its emphasis on racing, rather than tricks or manoeuvring maze-like corridors, makes it a simple racing game to get into.

The controls have you pressing one button for acceleration and one button for braking. There is an option to perform a turbo with the directional pad but on the whole, I found that was not a necessity in the game at all. Motorcycle racing is a dangerous sport. It's the one where you hang on (no pun intended with Sega's classic arcade motorcycle racer) to your bike with your kneecap a few inches before scraping pavement at an excess of a hundred kilometers per hour. It's the sport where one false move and you're more than likely done for. Moto GP's fast frame rate and great looking visuals is able to convey this sense of speed, but only the speed and none of the racing.

You see, I don't know much about motorcycle racing. Moto GP presents you a variety of race modes from the more traditional time attack to all out tournaments. That's simple enough and is expected from most racing titles. Moto GP also allows you to select from a variety of personae, each with their varying skills and idiosyncrasies. Unfortunately, none of this pretense to realism is actually reflected inside the game itself. Every race plays out more or less the same: the race starts off with a full field of racers and once you get a green light to go, within minutes, the racers will divide themselves fairly evenly across the track. Furthermore, all the racers appear to go at an average of about 150 kilometers per hour, plus or minus a few depending on the course conditions. Your motorcycle is capable in excess of 200 kilometers per hour. Why the racer in position 12 does not simply accelerate on a straightaway (however small it is, since motorcycles accelerate much quicker than an automobile) to take over the racer in position 11 is a question that I found myself positing. To their credit, 150 kilometers per hour is probably a safe speed to corner at in Moto GP and the opponent racers will sometimes try to stay in front of your bike to block you. Your AI opponents will weave and adjust to corner turns at the requisite 150 kilometers per hour average. But there were wider turns where I found I could maintain a higher speed and still keep my bike upright and this peculiar behaviour plagued all the racers; from the first position to the last.

The simplicity of Moto GP is a double-edged sword. It makes the game easy to pick up but it also makes it even easier to put down. Despite the varied modes, the gameplay is the same and the lack of sophisticated AI play means you'll be entertained for one or two rounds until the races become too long (and too easy) to bear. I still maintain that Moto GP is a fun game. The racing part, at least technically, is well done. Actual races, on the other hand, are more of a foregone conclusion. You either are able to catch up with everyone else and win or you have trouble stumbling through the entire track, at which point you may be tempted to turn the game off. If you're stuck in a tournament however, you probably don't want to since there's no provision to save at any time you wish. Moto GP relies on password saves so you have to work until you get to the next milestone before it issues a password. The fact that this never happens in the middle of a race and at infrequent times is an infamia in portable gaming. In this day and age, with the racing genre highly developed as it is, Moto GP still has quite a bit to learn. Getting the basics down isn't always the ticket, ex cathedra, to success.


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