12, 1999 (USA)
> Suzuki Alstare started out as a PC game, then made it to the Japanese
Dreamcast as Redline Racer, and finally
came to America courtesy of Ubi Soft. Aside from the new licensed
name (Suzuki Alstare), the game has received a noticeable overhaul on its
trans-Pacific trip. The basics remain the same though -- you must
race on various tracks with licensed bikes and attempt to pass the checkpoints
in the allotted time while ultimately finishing first.
> Suzuki Alstare has really improved over
Redline Racer in the graphics department. For starters, the bikes
are bigger and more detailed with licensed decals. The tracks have
more detail in the textures, better content, and look more realistic than
ever. Other improvements include the elimination of pitch black tunnels
in the White Mountain track and the addition of cave passages to the Tropical
Trail. Lastly, Criterion moved the map out of your forward view.
> The courses have the same locales -- including Orchard Lane, White Mountain,
Tropical Trail, Winter Lake and Brooklyn Nights. As for the animation
-- it's still ultra smooth and speedy even though the detail is greater.
There are three views available: 1st person, behind, and bird's eye.
You always see a wide angle picture for better perspective... a nice touch.
Criterion definitely put some more time into the US version and it pays
> Absolutely mint arcade control. Even with the standard pad
you'll easily become an expert in this game, especially since the Sega
Wheel doesn't work with it. The controls are gas, brake, steering,
view, and turbo wheelie. A lot of people are crabbing about this
game's control, but I'm here to tell you the facts... It controls
like an arcade game, not a simulation of real driving physics. That
could be good or bad depending on your perspective.
> Another addition would be the ability to tweak your bike's power, steering,
and braking via point system on sliding bars. That is definitely
a welcome option which does make a difference. In my opinion, people
who say this game is as easy as Redline Racer haven't actually played Suzuki
Alstare as the computer AI certainly seems better now.
> Unfortunately, the music is the same as Redline Racer. However,
the techo-beat has grown on me since I rated the import. Actually,
the game is visually different enough to change the way I seem to hear
that same music.
> The sound effects are improved -- thanks Ubi Soft/Criterion! You'll
hear engine noise, skidding, crashing, and various cues. A lot of
the annoying effects have been changed or subdued... check.
> Suzuki Alstare offers Championship, Versus, and Single Race modes.
You can earn additional bikes and open up tracks by completing the
sessions in Championship mode. One more thing that really improves
my fun factor is that Criterion cut the load times substantially over the
import original. This game is decent fun, especially when you factor
in Ubi Soft's limited time offer to receive one racing title free after
you purchase the other two (Monaco Grand Prix, Speed Devils, Suzuki Alstare).