the writings of a mind

Title: Ducati World
Genre: Racing - Arcade
Big Word: Wheelie?
Strap: Open topped, two wheeled cars? Whatever next?

Motorbikes. I hate them. To be thin enough to fit down between two lanes of traffic on a motorway does not, contrary to popular bi-cycled opinion, give you the God honoured right to be at the front of a queue. It does, however, give you the right to fall off while going around corners. Cars are much better. And according to scientific tests, it’s very hard to fall off a car.

Ducati World has acquired a complete and comprehensive licence to the Ducati range of bikes, and it wants you to ride them all. It wants you to ride them in all sorts of different ways too. And it wants you to ride them in a way that is incredibly familiar if you have ever played Gran Turismo.

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Gran Turismo should be absolutely flushing with pride. Using a modified Rollcage engine, ATD have recreated everything the classic console title did, but put it on two wheels. There’s your good ol’ fashioned quick race, then a full career mode involving all sorts of things to buy, sell, swap, and learn. Much like GT, there is the opportunity to gain four levels of licences, with five tests in each, which are a nice way to get to grips with some of the tricky manoeuvres. Alongside are options to purchase bikes from all sorts including basic dealers to specialist trade magazines, which are used in all manner of race types on many different tracks.

So all sounds well and good – there’s the strategy element of making money through winning races, buying better bikes, getting better licences, and taking part in different styles of race. But this all falls rather flat when you realise that this is nothing but an arcade racer that in no way attempts to simulate motorbike riding. With all the intricate details (bikes from every era, different engine noises, etc) you’d think you’d be getting a realistic feel for the ride, but instead this is just typical arcade wall-bouncing. It looks pretty enough - though the backdrops are embarrassingly tacky - but frankly it isn’t enough for a PC game. A PC isn’t just an oversized Playstation with extra buttons (i.e. a keyboard), and it shouldn’t be treated like one.

There’s also the problem of some very poor AI from the other riders, who go flying off their bikes left, right and centre, which makes for very amusing viewing, but not much of a challenge in the race. The ability to ride sensibly is enough to win races, rather than being required to hare around at terrifying paces, risking life and limb. Which is really what we want. Isn’t it?

Margin Note:
Bleeding Ears

There is a nice touch that the music in the game is pulled back onto your rear speakers, and kept in stereo. This gives the effect of the music surrounding you, rather than coming from an invisible on-board radio. It’s just a shame that the music is so shit…

 A competent enough console game, but, er, we don’t use consoles.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Attention To Detail
Price: £35
Minimum System: P266, 32Mb RAM, 50Mb HD Space
Recommended: PII 400, 64MB RAM, 32Mb AGP 3D card, 250Mb HD Space
Multi-player: No
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