The first thing that I thought when I heard they were releasing a sequel to Moto Racer was, "Why?" The first edition of this game was near perfect. It had great control, realistic bikes, great options, and was the closest thing to riding a real motorcycle. Well I am happy to say that the second installment is no disappointment and in fact a very nice sequel.
The first most impressive change is the addition of textures. In the first Moto racer the graphics felt very smooth and that added to the speed of the game. Streamlined graphics meant streamlined play. In Moto Racer 2 they have opted for more textures and more detail which is essential for courses through the forest and city streets. However with all of these improved graphics and textures there is no sacrifice in speed or control. The bike still drives quick and solid.
Another change is the addition of weather into the picture. As if racing on a clear day was not challenging enough. Now you have to contend with rain, snow, and the dark of night (which really is not that dark). I was amazed that the control through these conditions stayed just as realistic and responsive as before. Sure it is more slippery on the wet ground, but the control is not bad. You just have to learn to adjust to the conditions, just like on a real bike. Actually if you are racing a real bike around hairpin turns at 180 MPH in a snowstorm you are just plain nuts.
Another improvement is the addition of tracks, and the option to have infinite tracks with the new track editor. The game provides 32 tracks in 5 different locations. If that is not enough for you then go and create your own. Not since Excitebike on the original NES have you been able to create courses like this. There are some limitations with the editor though. You have to stay within the laws of physics so really steep hills, and big drops are not allowed. Other than that the options are almost limitless. Add curves to shape the track to your liking and change the location, weather, and put jumps anywhere you like making the track options infinite. Save your best course on your memory card and take it to a friends house or your friendly neighborhood video game store to challenge all those who propose to be expert moto racers.
Like many racing games of late, including Gran Turismo, the game provides an arcade and a simulation mode. There is a championship in each which awards hidden tracks and other things. Both modes use the same tracks which makes it easy to master. You can learn the layout of the course in the arcade mode and then try an tackle the complications that arise in the simulation. For example, you will crash a lot more when it gets more realistic.
Speaking of crashing, Moto Racer 2 does have some problems with its animations. As opposed to Road Rash 3-D, the moto racer drivers slide along the ground without changing when they crash. No rolling, no tumbling, in fact their bodies hardly change at all once they hit the ground. The crash points on the track are also aggravating. The only place you can really crash is the side of the course so forget about trying to cut corners or drive off-road. A mere touch with the walls will send you scraping your face along the ground.
The question still remains, "Should you buy Moto Racer 2?" The question is even harder to answer if you already have the first one. Well I think that this sequel unlike most provides enough new options and tracks that it is definitely worth it especially if you are a motorcycle fan. If for no other reason, buy it to feel the Dual Shock feedback coming down off of a huge jump into a puddle on a track you created. Is that enough options for you?
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