have been around as long as handheld gaming has been around. From
those cheap 80's handheld systems to the more modern Game Boy and
Game Gear, racing games have thrived thanks to relatively simple
gameplay and graphic requirements. The core of MotoGP is
really no different than earlier racing games, only this one is much
deeper. However, when you make that deepness hard to take advantage
of, MotoGP becomes just another racing game.
The reason why
is simple: no battery save. Plenty of gameplay modes are here,
including Quick Race, Time Attack, Tournament, and Grand Prix. Quick
Race and Time Attack are only limited to a paltry three riders and
one track to start out with, but like most console racing games
extra riders and tracks are unlocked via the Tournament and Grand
Prix modes. Unfortunately, this means that to do a "Quick"
Race or Time Attack, the player must first type in an annoying
password. That wouldn't be too bad by itself, if it wasn't for the
fact that actually getting a password is an exercise in patience.
The player must either finish one tournament (four races) or an
entire Grand Prix (sixteen races) before earning a password. The
shortest of tournaments can take 20+ minutes to finish. As a result
only the Quick Race and Time Attack modes are really feasible for
most situations where a handheld would be played, but as I mentioned
before the player must first type in a password if they want to race
any track other than the default one. A password save system where a
new password can only be accessed after racing many tracks is
That problem is
annoying and frustrating, but the gameplay doesn't really encourage
the player to tough it out. The controls are extremely simple, with
A being the gas and B being the brakes. Computer rider A.I. is
simplistic, as most of the time the riders follow the racing line.
Occasionally they'll go out of their way to bump into the player,
and of course they're never knocked off of their bikes in the
process while the player almost always is. So the challenge really
consists solely of whether or not the player can keep their bike on
the track. There's not even an option for a manual transmission, and
the only thing the shoulder buttons do is rotate the track on the
track selection screen. Hmm, I wonder what they could've mapped to
the shoulder buttons…
The graphics are
good, but simple. There are a good variety of real-world locations,
tons of signs along the side of the track, and the riders are
animated enough. Most importantly, the engine runs very quickly and
delivers a nice sense of speed that matches how fast a MotoGP event
should feel. The only problem with the engine is that at the side of
the track the bike appears to be riding off of the track, even
though it's actually not. You can see exactly what I'm talking about
in Image 1 below. It's something the player will learn to adjust to
however, and it doesn't hinder gameplay any. The music is your
typical Euro stuff, and doesn't really add or detract from the
experience. The quality of it is better than in most handheld racing
games, but since every music track is a variation of the main theme
it gets old pretty quickly.
- Tight racing
engine with plenty of speed.
- Lots of stuff
to unlock and plenty of replay value…
- …If you can
put up with the horrible save system. Don't plan on whipping
this one out for a few minutes at the doctor's office.
riders never wreck when they hit the player, but the player
almost always will.
- Where's the
is a good racing game, but the lack of a battery save and the
spacing of the password system make it a chore to play. The racing
is fast and fun, but getting to it is slow and tedious.
Unfortunately, the simplistic controls also mean that it'll grow old
pretty quickly. There are really better options out there (including
THQ's own GT Advance 2) for handheld racing fans.