Motorhead Review

Only the most ardent racing fans need apply.

Just what the PlayStation needs: another futuristic racing game! Mercifully, Fox Interactive's Motorhead forgoes the over-the-top weaponry and race-or-your-planet-and-everybody-on-it-is-gonna-die-for-some-inexplicable-reason storyline usually found in games of this type in favor of straight-ahead driving action. Hop in one of ten sleek racers and test your skills on eight hazard-filled courses, which snake through urban, desert, and seaside terrain. Play modes include the obligatory time attack, single race, league, and head-to-head competition found in any respectable racer.

Motorhead's most unique option is the ability to choose between 30 or 60 frames per second. Choosing 60fps gives the game a clean, smooth look on par with any contemporary PlayStation racer; however, the trade-off is you're restricted to a paltry three-car field. Choosing 30fps noticeably diminishes Motorhead's graphical punch but allows up to seven cars to compete at a given time.

Rather than standing on the accelerator and barreling through turns (the preferred driving method in most futuristic racing games), you must study each of Motorhead's tracks and anticipate trouble spots if you hope to grab the checkered flag. Car selection also becomes a factor; cars with good acceleration and grip fare better on winding courses, while top speed is king on others.

Although the instruction manual gives you a crash course (pardon the pun) in drift driving, the technique should be avoided in Motorhead, as the skidding costs you way too much time. Although it's far less flashy, hitting the brakes before entering a turn and accelerating as you exit will shave precious seconds from your time. That's not to say the action in Motorhead is dull; towering jumps, challenging bottlenecks, and hair-raising hairpins will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The game is not without its shortcomings, however. The frame rate seemed a bit unstable, noticeably slowing when the onscreen action became a bit too hectic. The computer also seems to cheat to keep races close; computer-controlled cars with lower top speeds than mine mysteriously passed me on long straightaways. Additionally, opponents were able to push me aside with ease, while their tires seemed to be glued to the road. The game also has the supremely annoying habit of demoting you to lower divisions during league competition if you consistently lose, a cheap way of extending the life of the game. While Motorhead is far from being the most lackluster PlayStation racer, it lacks the showroom shine of true Ferraris like Namco's Rage Racer or Sony's Gran Turismo. Only the most ardent racing fans need apply.

The Good

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The Bad

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