Super-Bikes: Riding Challenge
Although lots of motor race simulations have passed the revue, I still haven’t found many that could really interest me. The problem is most of the time an exagerrated realism or totally no realism at all. Due to the fact that I’ve seen multiple games in the type of Super Bikes: Riding Challenge and got disappointed by them, I quickly had an idea when looking at the packaging. Of course you can’t judge every game the same so I decided to give this game a chance.
Apparently this wasn’t really necessary. The game immediately didn’t appeal to me anymore from the moment it was on my harddrive. Why? Well, I was done installing and anxiously started it up, a bit curious whether this relatively unknown title could alter my vision on moto racers… The game started up with a breathtaking… low resolution. Of course you immediately look for the options to increase this but the sad thing was that you can’t. You can adjust detail levels but what is the advantage of putting anti-aliasing on if you remain with 640*48? Indeed, very little as you remain seeing every little block on the screen. Scared I went looking for a setting icon in my Windows start menu and yes, through a splash screen I was able to adjust the settings. A bit irritated I changed the resolution and a couple of others things and after having lost 5 minutes of my life I was ready to roll.
There are various single player modes including a “Free Ride” which does what the name says, touring the circuits with your bike without any pressure of racing, a “Career mode” where you have to become the best moto racer in history and unlock all kinds of stuff going from bikes to clothing and circuits to race on. As last there’s also the “Riding School” where you can learn things by doing small tests and watching short movies. There’s also a wide variety of bikes and clothing available (including the entire catalogue of Dainese) for the real lover of bike racing.
Multiplayer is also available but in its smallest possible form. You can play with 2 people and not over the internet. Indeed, good old-fashioned split-screen all the way baby! No different modes here either, just racing and driving tracks until you bore yourselves to death. This doesn’t require more explanation, it really feels like “it’s there because you need to have multiplayer”.
The driving itself isn’t worked out any better than everything we’ve talked about before. You can lie down to get higher speeds or sit straight up to brake a bit, but that’s where the controls end. Taking corners is pretty awful as you’ve got totally no feeling with your bike. The thing seems to turn in squares rather than in arches, a bit like racing games from 5 years ago (and even those tend to be better than this one on this part). Secondly you can just start braking in the mids of a curve, or get into one while braking without even the slightest possibility of slipping (I’m also talking about the rear brake). The only good thing with the curves and realism is that if you push the gas a bit too much when getting out one, you can hit the asphalt if you don’t look out.
It isn’t all “bad” in Super-Bikes: Riding Challenge. There’s a new gameplay element that gets introduced to the genre. You can intimidate your opponent and that way have him make steering flaws. You can start following the guy in front and make him take a bad turn so that you can pass him. Of course this also works in the opposite direction and you can get intimidated too. This will result in worse steering and hitting the floor easier with your expensive wheels.
Graphically we can’t say the game comes short, rather it’s a low average. You won’t see spectacular effects or highly detailed environments, but neither will you get butt ugly things like a square wheel. As said: an average player in the world of graphics.
When talking about the sound, we’re going downhill again. Let’s put it this way: if my bike would sound like this, I wouldn’t DARE to drive it anymore. This in combination with bad quality (you constantly hear disturbances in the audio track) makes people getting a headache when they enter the room where this game is being played.
And yes, another bike racing simulator that flops! The wide amount of choices in gear and bikes doesn’t make up for the rest of the game. Most important problems are the lacking of a serious multiplayer and the clearly bad controls of the bikes. I strongly suggest to leave this one where you find it and wait for a decent alternative.