The cycle continues.
It used to be that motorcycles were only ridden by big fat guys and the Hell’s
Angels. The minimum requirements included a beer belly and at least one naked
lady tattooed to your arm. But these days, things are different.
With the increasing popularity of street bikes, motorcycles have become an icon for all the cool, spiky-haired guys on the block. The flashy suits, the bright colors and the extreme speed all seem to draw out the best attributes in even the geekiest guy.
for all the geeks that get motion sickness at 25 mph, there’s MotoGP 3.
Namco’s third installment of the popular motorcycle racing series is back on
the PS2, offering up another season of two-wheeled flight. The past games have
done well, but can Namco race away with another winner?
The five modes we’ve seen in the past – Arcade, Season, Challenge, Time Trial
and Multiplayer – make another return with a new Legends mode thrown in for
good measure. Arcade, Season, and Time Trial remain the same, but Multiplayer
raises the stakes with the ability to go four-player split screen (multitap
required, of course). Challenge mode is back in full force with 100 obstacles,
tracks and opponents for you to overcome and plenty of goodies like pics, videos
and other cool stuff to unlock along the way.
The new Legends mode offers players a chance to race against four of the crotch rocket gods. It’s surprisingly easier than the other modes, but will provide enough of a challenge to test your skill.
I imagine some of you are wondering what the big deal is with the MotoGP
games. Sure, you played Hang On back in the day, so how different could
Well, just check out the huge amount of control that MotoGP 3 serves
up. Besides being able to shift weight forward and backward for best performance
on the corners, riders can also control brakes independently for those pesky
situations where you actually have to slow down. Just using the rear brake helps
greatly when drifting and just using the front will smooth out your slow down.
While these advanced controls bring a lot more realism to the track, they
can end up being extremely frustrating for those of you accustomed to four wheels
rather than two. Racing a bike is definitely not the same as racing a car, and
you can’t carelessly careen around corners and bounce off walls. The “Easy”
difficulty setting in MotoGP 3 helps out a little by providing some brake
and balance assistance and by making it virtually impossible to crash, but even
then, players unused to the mechanics of bike racing will have a tough time
learning how to keep up with the rest of the pack. If you’re up for the challenge,
though, learning how to ride is half the fun.
riders will appreciate the ability to tune bikes to their liking. Gear ratios,
handling, braking and acceleration specs can be tweaked for maximum performance.
There’s even an option to adjust tire size between 16.5″ and 17″. It’s not quite
the same as being able to pick out an Akropovic Skorpion Stainless Header /
Titanium Exhaust or Race Tech front suspension kit, but I guess it will do for
Another nice touch is the ability to do a few tricks. They’re nothing like
the things you see in those underground trick videos with guys doing reverse
handstands at 80 mph, but it’s nice to be able to show off a little. Unfortunately,
they don’t have any effect on the game whatsoever, unlike arcadey games like
As always, MotoGP 3 does a solid job in its visuals. You get a couple
camera options, racers and bikes are finely detailed and the animations are
smooth like butter. The replay and weather effects add realistic touches. Though
there’s some slowdown in the split-screen mode, this is almost expected from
a high-speed racer. Overall, it’s a very pretty game.
The sound is pretty inconspicuous, with a generic racing game soundtrack that
never gets too loud or annoying. The motor sounds pretty burly, which is always
Part of the problem with MotoGP 3, though, is that many of the features
remain unchanged from earlier versions. Since the vast majority of the game’s
tracks are found in real world locations, fans of the series will find most
of the scenery all too familiar. And by familiar, I mean that some of the tracks
have been in MotoGP since day one. Without the revamped control, some
of you might even forget which version of GP you’re playing. MotoGP
3 is all about refinement, which is swell, but how about something a little
spicier next time?
If you’re itching for some high-speed two-wheeled mania, MotoGP 3 will
be happy to oblige. It’s got a steep learning curve, but mastering the game’s
full control is definitely a rewarding experience. Just remember, happiness
isn’t around the corner- happiness is the corner.