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ups: Slick graphics with no slowdown; nice depth in racer creation mode; solid controls and balanced gameplay.
downs: No bike damage; no part upgrades or engine mod system.

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Moto GP Review (Xbox)
game: Moto GP
four star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: THQ / Climax
date posted: 09:10 AM Sat Jul 20th, 2002
last revision: 04:43 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

By Todd Allen

Whether you have an interest in racing games or not, Moto GP deserves your time. Personally I\'m not a huge fan of racing games, especially motorcycle ones. That\'s what makes Moto GP special. It made me sit up and take notice. I would have dared to call it the Gran Turismo of the motorcycle-racing arena if a couple things hadn\'t been overlooked. Still, this is a strong title with all its bases covered. If you\'re a fan it\'s going to be pretty tough finding a better game than THQ and Climax have produced.

Variety is definitely the spice of life and Moto GP hits the nail on the head with a mammoth selection of riders-29. If you followed the action last season you\'ll notice all the familiar faces of 2001 as the developers made sure all were accounted for. The riders have more differences than the stickers slapped on their bikes, too. Each rider has skills broken up into cornering, braking, top speed, and acceleration. Their hogs made the cut also. Each bike has its own strengths and weaknesses. You\'ll notice their rides are all real models, too. Moto GP doesn\'t skimp on the licensing which really enhances the experience.

In addition to the established roster you will be able to create your own rider. Doing so will allow you to manipulate just about everything about him except his favorite food. Players determine the rider\'s name, age, country, number, team name, bike, and leathers. There is a hefty choice of bikes and riding leathers to choose from with more to be unlocked. Your choice of color is almost intimidating. You also have the option of the color picker automatically matching your leathers to your bike.

Now that the cosmetics are taken care of you get to form a foundation of riding skills for your rider. Initially you start out with 10 credits to distribute among the four skills mentioned earlier. Prepare to spend a long time with your rider. Even if you threw all of your credits into one skill it wouldn\'t max out. Right off the bat you can earn more credits by undertaking the game\'s training scenarios. There are five scenarios for each skill with the ability to earn a silver or gold medal in each. Silver medals are worth one skill point and gold ones are worth two points. After you successfully complete the training scenario, the credits you earn will automatically be plugged into the skill you\'re training in. Now you\'re ready to play with the big boys.

I hope you packed your bags, too, as Moto GP takes you around the globe to ten unique tracks. Locations include Japan, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, and Great Britain. Track conditions may vary, too. The weather can range from bright, sunny conditions to intermittent cloud cover to outright rain. Naturally, in light of the conditions your bike will handle differently and you\'ll have to adjust your strategy. If you choose a quick race you\'ll only have three tracks to choose from at first. Competing in either the Arcade Championship or the Grand Prix Series can earn you points to unlock tracks, riders, etc. As you progress through the game you\'ll have the option of racing the tracks backwards as well. As you can see Moto GP is well put together, but how does it stimulate the senses?

Moto GP is a joy to look at. Each bike is faithfully reproduced with the sponsors intact. The riders are detailed as well, each with his unique style. The graphics are very quick. Often you\'ll find yourself weaving in and out of several bikes with no slowdown in the action. The tracks are rendered well and provide an enjoyable environment. The weather conditions are also created nicely without overkill. I know it\'s cool to see rain, but some games will overdo the effect to the frustration of us gamers. This game is a study in balance. Bravo Climax and THQ.

The sound effects are all faithfully rendered. The music isn\'t really anything to write home about, though. If you\'ve been recording your own music to the hard drive of your X-box, then now\'s the time to use it. Moto GP lets you plug your own tunes into the action. Taking first place while being serenaded by the Beastie Boys is truly a moment of salvation folks. The controls are rock solid as well. The controls are mapped out well, but you can still tailor them to your own needs. There are also several views that you can choose, from the standard \'behind the rider\' view to the cool but scary first person view. Riders can also perform tricks such as wheelies and endos.

Moto GP is a solid title with all the bases covered, but there are some things that I would have really liked to see done that didn\'t make the cut. Bike damage would have been a really welcome option. Even some sort of meter that measured the abuse you dealt your ride would have been nice. True, there is an engine heat meter that rises with abuse, but come on, if I slam into a wall going 150 mph I want something more. Let\'s see some debris and flames please. That goes for all racing games.

I also would have enjoyed some more freedom to explore my bike. Gamers should be able to tweak their bike\'s performance \'a la\' the NASCAR series. I want to \'get under the hood\' of my bike and mess with my parts to tailor to my style. This doesn\'t automatically have to be an intimidating chore either. Gran Turismo provided a great scenario for tuning your ride.

Moto GP is a tight game, though, and it does deserve your time. Even if you\'re not into the racing scene, the craftsmanship in this title will be apparent to you. I\'m a diehard RPG fan and I had a great time with Moto GP. If you are into this scene then the purchase is a no-brainer. If not, then it\'s still definitely worth a weekend rental.