Accelerate, crash, get back on bike, accelerate, crash, get back on bike, accelerate, overshoot corner, wobble along grass desperately trying not to fall off, fall off, swear very loudly, switch off PS2, decide to return game to shop, resolve never to buy a motorbike sim again.
This is what 99.9% of gamers will feel like after precisely one minute in the company of Super-Bikes Riding Challenge. It's a game that's neither for the faint-hearted nor for those with just a passing interest in all things twowheeled. A superhuman amount of perseverance, dedication and discipline is needed to even finish a race, let alone end up in the top three, which we're assuming means it's just like the stupidly dangerous sport it's based on.
The hardest part is getting used to controlling the bike and the rider separately. Pushing up or down on the left analogue stick makes your rider lean forward or backward to reduce or increase air drag, which basically maximises speed or helps with braking. You also have control over both the front and rear brakes, the latter helping to adjust your direction while cornering. All very technical stuff.
LEAN AND MEAN
Although it's tempting to put your foot down whenever you first play a new racing game, you quickly learn that it's better to be overly cautious and at least stay on the tarmac. It's nearly impossible to retain any control once your wheels touch grass or gravel, and the cinematic of your rider being thrown from the bike and skimming headfirst towards the barrier is a miserably frequent occurrence. You could argue that the harsh punishment for taking risks zaps all the fun out of the game, but at the same time you'll get far more satisfaction from finishing a race unscathed, with your guts all still safely on the inside.
There's a decent tutorial that explains the basics of rider and bike control, though it could have gone a bit further to explain more advanced techniques such as how fast you should approach corners and how to accelerate out of them properly. You'll actually learn a lot more by completing Challenges in the Career mode that reward you with points to spend on intimidation, drafting and other skills.
There are no shortage of bikes, tracks and gear for true aficionados to cream themselves over, and combined with the hardcore handling model it gives Super-Bikes Riding Challenge a distinct edge over Tourist Trophy. Just don't expect to walk away with much of you hair left on your head.
Utterly painful if you aren't prepared to practise, but equally rewarding when you finish a race intact.
- Excellent handling
- Fun and helpful challenges
- Intimidating opponents is fun
- Often too much like hard work