"Hang On To Your Helmet!"
Uh, sure. Problem is if you do that then you can't play this game, and I say god damn! That would be a pity. In fact I say that would be tragic! I'll cut to the chase, Redline Racer is the best GP Motorcycle racing game yet made.
Now calm down all you MotoRacer fanatics out there. I mean you no harm and you have nothing to fear from me. In fact, I am indeed one of you. But what we have here in Redline Racer is the most fun, the best graphics, the best physics, the best frame-rate, and some of the best tracks ever constructed for a game celebrating the fine art of racing two wheeled automobiles at psychotically insane breakneck speeds. Whew.
The game offers you two racing modes, Arcade and TimeTrial. In Arcade you start out with 3 tracks and should you beat all the tracks on all available difficulty levels (Hard is not available until the latter tracks), then you are awarded more bikes and tracks until the grand total is 10 tracks and 8 bikes. TimeTrial is basically just practice. Multiplayer for up to 16 players is supported in IPX, TCP/IP, direct modem, and serial protocols.
The track design is well done with plenty of twists, turns, and jumps dropped in to keep you on your toes. There are 6 types of track, Arizona Desert, Beach, English Countryside, Mountain, Raceway, and City (two tracks for all types except for Raceway and City). Each track has its own spin on its textureset. In a very cool nod to detail, all the tracks' surfaces feel different to race on.The designers also threw in lots of nice little gimmicks like helicopters, trains, and crashing waves.
Control is dead-on with a keyboard, joystick, or gamepad. The precise control and the well designed tracks lend a terrific feel to the game, there is no fuzzy barrier between you and your race. Its crisp and right there in front of you to be exploited, if you got the skills. The skills. That's a thing.
This game is Hard. Crashing is easy, the other racers are good, and the tracks are tricky. To beat a race in 'easy' mode you need to be able to stay on your bike and hit the checkpoints in time. In 'medium' you need to be able to race the track fast and exploit it wherever possible for a few extra milliseconds. On 'hard' you need all of the above, the concentration of an Olympic downhill racer, and an act of god on your side.
The best, and most noteworthy thing about Redline Racer is it's physics model. Herein is no simple arcade bang-your-motorycycle-into-a-spikey-wall-and-keep-on-treckin' gameplay. You hit something, and you fly, flip, crash, or a combination of all the above. This has both a good angle and bad to it.
First off, the good side: If you go over anything slanted, at the proper speed, your fly, gracefully into the air in some of the coolest automotive jumps in all of PC Gaming. The bad side: You almost always crash and watch your bike flip over in accurately modeled directions as your corpse goes sailing off into the sunset. To be concise, in this game you cannot complete a race without crashing if you keep your middle finger planted firmly on the accelerator.
If you land a jump or narrowly avert a crash by riding on a slanted wall, its possibly the coolest thing in all of PC racing, it makes you feel good about yourself. The other feel-good aspect is that if you get good at Redline Racer and get to the point were you can beat all the races, do all the possible jumps, hit all the slanted walls, and live... you feel really good about yourself. The satisfaction element of this game is really drastic.
Essentially what we have here is a very slick blending of arcade racing and realistic physics that, unlike other schizophrenic attempts at this sort of game, actually works.
The graphics in Redline Racer are second only to perhaps Ultimate Race Pro. The textures are detailed, the animation is smooth as silk, there are lots of nice little graphical special effects like sparks, smoke, particle effects, rain, fog, snow, lens flares and headlights. Best of all, the framerates are sky-high.
Wait a sec, I hear you shriek, good graphics and high framerates?! Well, yes campers, I was leaving out something. This game requires at least a 4mb 3D accelerator card based on either the 3DFX Voodoo 1 or 2, ATI Rage Pro, Pernedida, Intel i740, Riva 128, Number Nine, or Matrox G200 chipsets. The upside is that even with a P133 and a voodoo1, the game screams along just fine with just a slight downward tweak to the graphics.
Most accelerators are supported so the game doesn't leave many out in the cold. And hey, by now who the hell doesn't have a 3D accelerator and plays PC Games? Probably only strategy nuts. *shiver*
The only real annoyances present in the game are the checkpoint timer and the lack of a cockpit view. The checkpoint timer is one of those things that really should not exist in a PC racing game, as checkpoint timers were originally designed to make people insert ever more sticky quarters into the racing arcades.
The big problem with the game is the lack of a cockpit view. In all racing games, especially motorcycle racing games, the cockpit view has always lent the most visceral feel-the-wind-on-your-face-and-pick-the-bugs-from-your-teeth feel to-a racing game. Its absence here is a disappointment. With the graphics already so nicely done, it's a shame that the game should deny you the one vantage point from which you can enjoy them the most. The closest thing in the game to a cockpit view is the bumper view. However, as is the nature of a bumper view, it makes you feel like a teenager lying on a skateboard rolling down a hill.
Oh, and there are a few minor clipping problems. Minor ones; this ain't Tomb Raider.
Overall, this is one damn fine racer. It manages to get just about everything right about GP motorcycle racing: the feel, the control, the physics, the superlative graphics. The only real disappointment is the lack of an in-cockpit view. Aside from that, this is the most fun I've had racing since MotoRacer hit the shelves last year. Redline Racer sets a new high-water mark for motorcycle racing games and it is going to be something to see which upcoming games (MotoRacer 2) raise the bar, or sink to the bottom.