“Hang On To Your Helmet!" Review

“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.

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