Jet Moto is an evil, difficult game.
Jet Moto is an evil, difficult game. The concept of futuristic multi-terrain racing on motorbikes is quite cool, and the shots on the back of the box do look awesome. Once the controller is in hand and play has begun, however, a very, very steep learning curve awaits.
The graphics in Jet Moto are OK. They're not Wave Race, but this isn't the Nintendo 64. Jet Moto's waves look slightly two-dimensional, and the entire environment has a pixelated choppiness to it. Ultimately, the graphics on each level are pulled off with varying degrees of success (the snow looks much more realistic than the water).
An assortment of challenges is presented - players race through sandy beaches, swamps, snowy mountains, and futuristic cityscapes. Each course makes for good racing, thanks to a full complement of cool jumps and sharp turns. The courses vary enough that players need to acquire a different strategy for each. Jet Moto features multiple modes of play, including custom circuits, single races, a two-player split-screen mode, a full season mode (which must be completed to unlock the tracks), and an elusive "stunt mode."
The play control in Jet Moto is quite standard. There are the typical left/right, speed up/slow down controls, along with requisite "turbo" boosts. A neat feature is the magnetic "grapple" that allows for tight, high-speed turns on corners with magnetic "grapple posts." This feature is utilized quite cleverly on some levels, and is the basis of others (in which players run the course in both directions and must make incredibly tight turns). Aside from the grapple, the controls leave something to be desired. It's a struggle to turn fast and accurately, and crashing is frequent (resulting in not-so-fantastic crash replays).
Keeping all of the above in mind, Jet Moto is incredibly difficult. Given the marginal play control and general difficulty of the game, things can get pretty frustrating very quickly. To get past each batch of three courses players must finish first on all three (not an average, but first in each race). While this sounds easy, it's not. The 20 selectable riders are divided into corporate-sponsored teams, and each possesses his own strengths. That is to say, there is no "dream team" that lets players breeze through the game. No matter which rider is selected, players are in for a challenge - mastering each course can take hours. The difficulty level can be notched down, but this limits progress through the game. If it weren't for the GameShark, I doubt I would have been able to access the later levels (which include the awesome snow courses).
Jet Moto has some really cool features, but the game takes far too long to master. Avid gameplayers who are really into racing games will get their money's worth out of this title. However, those seeking casual thrills are better off skipping this title in favor of a game that's easier to learn.