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Redline Racer (PC) Review

Background Info

Long ignored by the PC gaming industry, motorcycle racing has been the subject of several new releases in the past year. Ubisoft enters the fray with the arcade racing title Redline Racer (RR).

Presentation/Graphics : 92
As with Ubisoft's last racing title, Formula 1 Racing Series, the graphics in RR are a real treat. The environments are well detailed and nice to look at, and represent a good variety of locations. Among the many nice touches are birds and aircraft flying overhead, lens flares, and transparent lighting effects. On one of the tracks, there is a falling snow effect that is as good as I've seen. The colors are bright, and I noticed no muddiness or color bleeding in the textures. The bikes and riders are done quite well, with unique color schemes for each bike and race team. Even the option to choose a male or female rider is available, with the expected changes in appearance.

Presentation/Audio : 72
The actual game sounds are nothing spectacular, but are sufficient to provide the feeling of riding a motorized vehicle--not nearly as good as Motocross Madness, but passable. The music, however, provides fine accompaniment to slicing up a canyon road, and is some of the best in-game music I've experienced.

Interface/Options : 76
The interface in RR is done pretty well...just a few minor gripes prevent a higher score in this area. First is the load times--it almost seemed to take as long to load a menu screen as it did to load a track. The other is the location of the team select screen. This is buried in the configure menu, rather than appearing alongside the bike selection screen. Like I said, minor problems which don't detract from the overall experience, but could have been done better.

Gameplay : 84
The gameplay in RR is the usual arcade racer fare--lots of emphasis on top speed, without a lot of strategy or setup involved. Handling and speed vary depending on which bike you choose, and the track will have some impact on bike choice, but the planning stage ends there--just gas it and hang on. One notable feature is the ability to download new bikes and teams from the RR web page--a possible way to keep the game fresh...and this title will need it, with only ten total tracks available (and only three until you begin to win races). It shouldn't take a good arcade racer long to defeat the challenge. The tracks provided do provide a good mix of types, some being flat-out speed venues, and others requiring some braking and preplanning. Although the AI will race you hard and fast, there just aren't enough tracks here. I'm also not overly fond of the checkpoint system, but it is to be expected in an arcade racer like this. Available LAN and TCP/IP multiplayer will help to keep a high level of challenge after the single player game gets dull. Despite the lack of tracks, and the arcade standard of making some tracks unavailable until later in the game, I still found RR to be entertaining, and enough of a challenge to be interesting.

In addition to what's on the CD, Ubisoft has a bike and team editor available for download on the RR web page, so creating uniforms and paint schemes for RR is another possibility. This has been a successful way of keeping interest high for other titles, and that should be true here as well.

Difficulty : 74
As with most arcade games, the difficulty rises as you progress into the game. Each track has an easy, medium, and hard setting. The first track, with the level set to easy, it's pretty effortless to stay out front. Advance to other tracks and skill levels, however, and things can get a bit dicey--choosing the wrong bike or missing a corner will almost certainly result in a less than stellar finish. With single bike practice available in Time Trial mode, and some good reflexes, good finishes are attainable, but not overly easy to come by.

Overall : 82
Having little experience with arcade racing games, I dove into RR not sure of my expectations. Being more of a simulation racing fan, I was a little disappointed in the lack of bike setup and customizing, as well as being locked out of half the tracks and bikes. After playing RR for awhile, however, I found myself thinking less about spring rates and more about passing the next rider--and enjoying myself immensely. If you want a racer you can just jump into and nail the gas, the sharp graphics, music, and all-out racing action may make Redline Racer a good choice.

By: Scott Moore 9/23/98

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