While nothing can ever compare to the thrill of riding a motorcycle, Test Drive Cycles succeeds in its simplicity and genuinely fun gameplay. Using the Test Drive license, well known for in-depth racing games, Cycles is no slouch. With a total of 24 tracks to race on and nine exotic bikes to choose from and customize, there is plenty of game to play through.
From the outset of the game, you are given a low-end Harley Davidson, which you can use in any of the game's modes: single race, championship tournament, two-player head-to-head, and cop chase, which is possibly the best mode of all. The single-race mode is exactly as the name implies, a quick and easy race to the finish. Championship mode is where the meat of the game lies. Winning each race earns you cash and upgrades for your bike, and after saving up for several races, you can buy new bikes for your collection. You can purchase new rides from BMW, Moto Guzzi, and Bimota. The two-player mode is a single race against an opponent, using the link cable. In cop chase you get a badge - but it's still a race, only now you can hit the siren and pull the other bikers over.
Cycles has very simple controls, making it easy for you to jump right in and play. The graphics and sound in this game can be described as plain, but they do serve their purpose. Another feature used throughout the game, but rarely seen these days, is parallax scrolling. Just in case you might have missed out on the late '80s and early '90s, parallax scrolling was used in many 16-bit video games to simulate motion by scrolling several background pictures at different speeds. By adding this to the game, Cycles really takes on a decidedly nostalgic flavor.
In all, what really makes Cycles a good game is the balance of arcade-style gameplay and a lengthy championship mode. Even with average graphics and sound, good solid gameplay ultimately makes this game worthwhile.