Riving Games Are Two A Penny On the PC nowadays, but bike racing games have been rather less prolific. Electronic Arts' Moto Racer was a bit of a disappointment, while Sega's conversion of their arcade classic Manx TT was just plain awful. Virgin have got the officially licensed Super Bikes coming their way from Screamer developers Milestone, and although it looks very tasty indeed, it isn't due for release until the autumn. Which is where Guildford-based developers Criterion come in.
For the past few months, a large part of the team have been beavering away on Red Line Racer, an arcade-style super-bike racer with a blistering frame rate and gloriously detailed graphics. Jonathan Small, head of game development at Criterion, explains why they felt two wheels were better than four: "We wanted to do a racing game, but not just another driving game. There are just so many car-based racing titles out there - some are good driving games, but we thought we'd do something a little different."
In an effort to keep the frame rate high and the graphics totally spoogesome, Criterion have decided to make Red Line Racer 3D accelerator only. It's a bold step, but Jonathan is confident it's the way ahead: "It's the only way we can sustain a decent frame rate and keep the detail." He continues: "We wanted to make a racing game that was arcade-quality in terms of both speed and graphics, and you just can't do that without some kind of 3D acceleration. We'd have to make too many sacrifices if we were restricted to software only."
A lingering gander at some beta code should be enough to convince almost everyone (well, those who have a 3Dfx or PowerVR card tucked away inside their PC) that Jonathan has a valid point. Red Line Racer does indeed look rather gorgeous, thanks in part to the numerous graphical effects that the new 3D technology brings. As well as real-time lighting and particle effects (such as sparks), the game features procedural textures (which mean you'll see skidmarks, wet road surfaces, motion blur, etc) backdrop animations and animated texture maps. In other words, it looks the mutt's nuts.
Four different racing environments (Beach, Alpine, English Countryside and Desert Canyon), eight race circuits, an eight-player network option and even force-feedback joystick support, should keep interest from waning too quickly and secret 'comedy' bikes may even raise a chuckle.
Download Redline Racer
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode