MotoGP – GBA – Review

Motorcycle racing has come to the GBA, and it’s a
whole lot of fun. There are sixteen tracks in all, based on actual racing tracks
around the world. There are four modes of play: Quick Race, Time Attack,
Tournament, Grand Prix and Multiplayer Mode (up to four players). Quick Race is
designed to jumpstart players right into the racing action, but only one track
is available in this mode until a best lap time has been accomplished in another
mode, unlocking more tracks. Multiplayer mode is played in Quick Race and
requires each player to have a copy of MotoGP. Time Attack is where
players will attempt to beat lap records and has only one track available at
first, but other racing tracks in Time Attack can be unlocked in Tournament

While all the modes offer exciting racing, the real action is in Tournament
and Grand Prix modes. Tournament play is set up into four different leagues of
four tracks per league. The leagues each have different placement goals to be
met before moving on to the next league. The Grand Prix takes place during the
MotoGP season, with points awarded according to placement in each race. Points
accumulate, and the highest scorer will be the MotoGP champion.

The racing is fairly realistic, but too forgiving of racing errors to be
exactly like the real thing. Hitting barriers on the sidelines will only slow
racers down, unless they stay on them for a long time. Similarly, running into
other racers usually doesn’t result in a major wipeout, but will just slow the
speed of the driver. Realistic details lie in the way the motorcycle will skid
out if turned too sharply around a turn and in the way racers will just spin
their tires at the beginning of the race if attempting to start off too fast.

Statistics and information about the current race are located around the
screen, such as the racer’s best lap time, the current lap/total laps, race
position, time, track outline, current speed and wheelie gauge. The wheelie
gauge allows drivers to pop a wheelie and add a burst of speed to the motorcycle
momentarily when the gauge is full. The best feature available on the interface
is the turn indicator, which shows turns coming up, how acute and what direction
they are. This is extremely helpful in determining ahead of time the driver’s
direction and speed. The worst feature is the game save option; for one thing,
it uses automatic passwords which are a pain, and also only offers certain
places for saving, which is inconvenient. Players should be able to save their
games after each race, which they cannot do.

The "feel" of the racing is incredibly smooth and adds much to the experience
of the game. Graphically speaking, the look of the game is very nice, with each
track lovingly rendered in correlation to its real-world counterpart. Getting
started is simple, and beginners can jump into the game successfully from the
beginning. In fact, the game may be a little too easy, judging from my
experience with it – I actually placed first in my third race! I’m notoriously
bad at these type of games, and the fact that I won so easily speaks volumes for
the difficulty level of some of these tracks. My sixteen year old nephew also
felt that it was pretty easy, it didn’t take him long to finish the Tournament
mode. However, Grand Prix mode can be played in easy, medium or difficult modes.

The sound is good, with an upbeat but not obnoxious rhythm that will enhance
the racing experience. If desired, the sound can be turned off.

MotoGP offers good racing fun for all type of players, from beginners
to experienced gamers. Even though the racing itself may be a little easy,
there’s still plenty of action for everyone. Gamers looking for a racing game
that doesn’t require hours of play to familiarize themselves with the controls,
but instead is geared toward getting immediately into the racing, will be
pleased. The multiplayer mode would probably add more challenge to the gameplay,
but as each player has to have a copy of the game, finding competitors may be
difficult. This is unfortunate, as it means that family members would have to
buy multiple copies to go head-to-head. The save game feature is awkward with
its scarcity of save spots, so players may want to be sure they have time
blocked off before beginning a game.

Gameplay: 7
Getting started racing is fast and simple, just jump right in! A good racing
game for the whole family to enjoy, with realistic tracks and smooth racing

Graphics: 8
Nice, crisp graphics, plus good animations of crashes.

Sound:  7.5
The music is catchy and upbeat, but nothing spectacular.

Difficulty: 6.8
The difficulty level may be too easy for some players.

Concept: 7.5 
While there’s nothing new about racing games, this is the first foray into
motorcyle racing for the GBA, and is well-done.

Multiplayer: Yes
Up to 4 people can play, but unfortunately each player will need a copy of
the game.

Overall: 7.3
We enjoyed racing with MotoGP and will probably continue to play from
time to time. The racing itself is very enjoyable and offers a real sense of
speed, and trying to beat your best time can be addictive. Too bad the
multiplayer mode required multiple game copies, or we could really have had fun
beating each other, for that personal touch that adds to the flavor of trouncing
your opponents.