Manx TT Super Bike, Sega's latest arcade-to-Saturn racer, is finally out in the States. Based on the arcade game of the same name, Manx TT is significantly better than Sega's last Saturn motorcycle racer, the dismal Hang-On GP. However, despite the obvious gameplay improvements and smooth-flowing graphics, the limited number of tracks may scare off all but the hard-core players. Manx TT fails to deliver what only an exceptional few racing games possess: long-lasting play experience.
Since the arcade version of Manx TT comes equipped with a huge life-size motorcycle, you know that the home version couldn't possibly be 100 percent faithful to the arcade (and before you ask - no, Sega has no plans to release a motorbike add-on peripheral for the Saturn - a crying shame). Aside from that minor grievance however, this is about as close to a perfect arcade translation as Sega's ever done. Both tracks from the arcade are recreated flawlessly, save the obvious lower resolution and a little pop-up here and there (though it's nowhere near as bad as in Daytona: CCE). The play control is astounding when using Sega's 3D Analog Controller, and the game is also compatible with the Arcade Racer - although that's not exactly realistic considering this isn't car racing.
Manx TT features four distinct, though fairly standard, modes of play: arcade, Saturn, time trial, and two-player. The Saturn mode includes three different gameplay options - practice, challenge, and super bike - which play out over four tracks. Super bike isn't selectable until you have come in first place on all four challenge tracks (not exactly easy), but the other two are available from the start. Additionally, there are eight bikes available outside of the arcade mode, each with different performance levels in top speed, acceleration, and handling.
So far this probably all sounds good. And honestly, if the game cost were say, $25, Manx TT would be one of the best games available for the Saturn. But when you take into account that two of the four tracks are just mirror tracks (reversed versions of the original two from the arcade), you're left with a game that could probably be completely beaten in about a day or so. Yes, there's a cool little ghost mode to toy with in time trial and two-player split-screen play, but when you're paying upwards of $50 for a game, you can't help but expect more.
Manx TT is one of the best conversions the Saturn has seen and is also truly fun to play. But paying over $30 seems unreasonable - you can definitely find something with more bang for your hard-earned buck.