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Motorhead (PC) Review

Presentation/Graphics : 90

Motorhead is a gorgeous game. Not the best, but certainly in the top three for arcade racers. The lighting is particularly impressive with fantastic looking headlights, taillights, and street lamps. Scenery is rich and detailed but varies only slightly from track to track. The cars themselves aren't quite as detailed as the rest of the game, with simple color schemes and a mostly blocky body design. Motorhead supports most of the major 3D cards, as well as D3D.

Presentation/Audio : 87
Engine sounds for once are good enough to not detract from the game. All the cars sound alike, but the high rev whining is well done and helps draw you in the game. Road surface sounds, tire squeals and misc ambient sounds are equally well done. There is music in the game but you'll turn that off, won't you? In case you are interested though, it's of the techno dance pop something variety. A small but nifty feature is the ability to assign a certain audio track to a race track, but then again, you'll turn the music off, won't you? Motorhead supports both 3D sound chips, and the game sounded great on the SB Live!.

Interface : 88
Motorhead's interface is simple and efficient. Most of the menus are a tachometer of sorts, where you move the needle around to access a certain area. The menus are logically ordered, and it's easy to access one area from another. All of the driver controls are customizable, as are the graphics options, sound options, etc.

Gameplay : 89
Looking for a game with a good sense of speed? Motorhead has it covered in spades. This game is a fast paced one, frantically fast. It reminds me a lot of one of my old favorite arcade racers, Whiplash.

Racing options are the standard single race, timed race, tournament race, and quick race. In tournament race, you start with three cars to choose from, and two tracks. Win a points championship and it unlocks more cars and more tracks until you make your way to the top. Nothing new there. The cars are rated in three categories, top speed, acceleration, and traction. The different tracks, of course, suit different cars better than others.

Car physics are pretty good for an arcade racer. Visually, you can tell by the chassis roll how much you can push the car before it breaks loose. The great thing is, if you do lose traction, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll back the car into the wall--you can, in fact, carry a slide all the way through a corner. You'll scrub speed by doing so, but you can often save a crash that way. There's no damage model though, so the only thing you'll lose by pushing the car that little bit extra is possibly some time.

Track design is well done, with most tracks set in an urban environment. Some tracks are part speedway, part city streets, and some others that venture out into the countryside briefly. Long sweeping corners, hairpins, and air catching jumps that might make an astronaut cringe. There's a little bit of everything in most every track.

AI wise, no complaints. The AI doesn't cheat, doesn't drive as if you weren't there, and will sometimes even make a mistake that puts him out of the race. They are fast and competitive.

Difficulty: 80
There's no learning curve to speak of. You only need to familiarize yourself with the tracks. The cars' handling is predictable enough, and you'll have that down in no time. If anything, the game is on the easy side. I was able to shoot to the top division my first try out, but once at the top, I did so poorly I was demoted back a division. There's a difficulty setting, of course, so it should be easy to find your competition level.

Overall : 87
Motorhead offers the gamer nothing new, but it's a solid game all the way around with great graphics and good gameplay and sound. If you love the arcade racers, you'll want to add this one to your library. There was only one glitch that I ran across, and that was sometimes you can embed your car into a wall if you hit it hard enough, and I don't think that was a design decision. It only happens once in a great while though, but it will certainly lose the race for you. Note: the game supports the whole gamut of multiplayer features, but I was unable to test them at this time.

By: Garth Cramer 4/4/99

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