What? Is this a Game Boy Advance game? Even with all of the things that the system has shown me so far, this game just completely blew me away. MOTO GP is the first motorcycle racing game on the Game Boy Advance, and it leaves you to wonder how much this little system is truly capable of.
Developed by Visual Impact, MOTO GP sports some of the best looking graphics I've seen on the Game Boy Advance. While you cannot expect Playstation 2 and Xbox graphics from this little handheld, it will surprise you with what it can do. The game is pretty fast, and the animation of the 3D engine is amazingly smooth.
MOTO GP sports the usual compliment of gameplay modes, including quick race, grand prix, time attack and tournament. You only get three drivers at the beginning of the game, but others can be unlocked after winning races under certain requirements. MOTO GP also contains 16 different tracks to race on.
If you've played Sega's HANG ON, you'll be instantly immersed in the past. MOTO GP plays almost exactly the same as HANG ON. The camera places you directly behind your bike as you square off against 15 other racers (with you starting in the 16th position always). After the race begins, you must race to the finish line as quickly as possible while avoiding signs and other racers. MOTO GP's gameplay is very tight, and just a wrong tap of the directional pad can send you flying off the road into a sign.
The game is pretty realistic, although there are a few minor unrealistic parts to it. The turbo button is one of them. To use the turbo button, the meter at the bottom of your screen must be full. To use the turbo, perform a wheelie and hold down the accelerator. The problem with this is that if you let drop the wheelie before the meter is fully drained, you don't get to use what is remaining in the meter. You have to wait until it fully recharges again. Also, when you make sharp turns, it seems as if you're moving sideways and the road is still going straight. This makes for some rather nasty accidents, as it looks like you're off-course when you're really not.
There is one problem that really keeps this game from being great though, and that's the save system. What was Visual Impact thinking when they included a password system? In a time where battery saves are the only way to go, MOTO GP sports a password system that really doesn't save that much at all. You don't get a password after every race. Instead, after completing a certain number of races, the game will give you a password to write down. This is very annoying to someone who just wants to race once or twice, and then save.
MOTO GP is probably the best racing game on the Game Boy Advance. It has great graphics, good control, and is a lot of fun to play. The password system is the only real problem I've found, and it does subtract from the game. But, even with that problem, MOTO GP is still very well done.