Strap on your helmet, and hold on tight!
Ever wonder what it would be like to race on one of those speeder bikes Luke and Leia ride in Return of the Jedi? Well, here’s your chance. In Jet Moto 2, you race an air bike through ten different courses against nine other riders.
The best feature of the game is without a doubt the remarkable play control. The instruction booklet boasts that “Jet Moto 2 features TruePhysics Design. This means that almost anything you can think of that works in real life will work in Jet Moto.” This seems a bit silly to me, since I can’t imagine an air bike working in real life, but go figure. Seriously, the game does feel life-like, if you just imagine what it would be to ride an all terrain bike. The game takes full advantage of the PlayStation game pad’s numerous buttons, giving you a wide array ‘moves’ to utilize. In addition to the basic features of most racing games (gas, brakes, turbo, turns, tight turns etc.) Jet Moto 2 offers new and innovative abilities than its competitors. For example, there are roll buttons (which are different from turns and tight turns). These buttons allow you to roll your bike either right or left while in mid air, turning the rider upside-down. This feature proves very useful when you grab too much air off a jump and still need to right. While in mid air, you also have the ability to lean forward or backward, which enables you to perform flips.
Yet another fun feature of Jet Moto 2 is the Magnetic Grapple. By pressing the grapple button, you create a magnetic attraction between your bike and red energy poles, which are placed strategically throughout most courses. This enables you to swing around tight turns without slowing down. If executed properly, you can actually propel yourself out of the turn at a faster speed than when you entered.
Jet Moto 2 offers you a choice of ten characters to use and ten tracks to race. Each character has his/her own bike, a (very lame) biography, and ratings in three attribute categories: weight, top speed, and acceleration. A bike’s weight determines its control. The heavier bikes give you more control and stability, while the lighter bikes feel a bit more agile and jumpy. Also, you generally fare better in collisions with other bikers when on a heavier bike. Generally, bikers with heavier bikes, high top speed, and lower acceleration seem to do the best.
The ten tracks are divided into four categories – Green Circles (easiest), Blue Squares (intermediate), Black Diamonds (hardest), and the bonus stunt track (Purple Horseshoes). When you begin playing the game, you can only race the three Green Circle tracks, which include Slickrock Gorge, Meltdown, and Aftershock. In Slickrock Gorge, you race in a canyon that has a river running through it, Meltdown guides you through a volcano, and Aftershock is set in a city devastated by an earthquake. To gain access to the next level, the Blue Square tracks, you must win a full season, which consists of racing all three available tracks on novice level (the games four difficulty levels – novice, amateur, professional, and master – determine your opponent’s skill).
In full season mode, you gain points depending on where you place in each race. You need to finish the season with more points than any of the other racers to open up the new levels. This task is especially difficult because in each season, one of your opponents always seems to finish in first place (or second only if you yourself beat them) in every race, accumulating tons of points. As a result, you basically need to finish in first in a majority of the races in order to advance.
Once you open up the three Blue Square tracks, which include an arctic race, a race through a forest, and a race in a cave, you need to win a season with those tracks on amateur in order to open up the three Black Diamond tracks. No matter how hard I tired, I couldn’t accomplish this, so I can’t tell you anything about these. Finally, you need to pass the Black Diamond tracks on professional to open up the much coveted bonus stunt track.
The fact that you can’t race all the tracks is the first of the game’s major flaws. While the opening tracks are fun, it gets tiring racing the same tracks over and over, especially with the way the instructions hype how much fun the bonus stunt track is. Perhaps I’m just not a good enough racer, and I don’t deserve the special Black Diamond tracks, but I doubt this is the case, because, after all, I am a video game god!
The game’s second major flaw is the two player mode. You can split the screen either horizontally or vertically, but either way your vision becomes too limited. You are unable to see far enough ahead in order to properly prepare for turns and jumps. I found this disappointing, because the game had so much potential as a ‘stay up all night talking trash to friends’ type game. Instead, you find that you and your friends all have trouble even finishing a race, let alone the trash talking.
To conclude, I want to recommend an alternative way of approaching Jet Moto 2, which my friend Dave discovered and calls “free-styling.” With this approach, instead of trying to win races, you try perform tricks and special maneuvers off the jumps and magnetic grapples. The game’s programmers may have planned for this in the stunt course, but some of us couldn’t get that far. Therefore, free-styling on the earlier courses can provide a refreshing change from racing the same tracks over and over again.