Team Suzuki offers the player the chance to pit their simulated motorcycle prowess against some of the best riders in the world, racing around real tracks too. And thanks to some excellent programming and thoughtful control methods, it manages to be both easy to pick up and genuinely realistic.
The game contains the a whole race season, across 16 international circuits and you can play right through from start to finish if you've got the staying power (and the ability). More advisable in the early stages of play, though, is to put in a lot of practise. Even with three different control options available (joystick or 2 mouse settings) and three engine sizes at your fingertips, it will take a good while to accustom yourself to the behaviour of the bike.
125cc race bikes are a breed apart from their road-going equivalent. When pushed, you can achieve a clean 120mph from their howling little powerplants. It's best to get to grips with the rudiments of bike handling and track etiquette on a machine of this size, since these bikes (in the game) have automatic gearing. Once you're happy with the extreme degrees of leaning necessary to get around some corners at speed, it's possible to work on faster lap times and picking your best "line".
Unlike the real thing, the Team Suzuki bikes will never fall over. However, every time they leave the circuit they will incur some damage. Reach 100% damage and your bike will gracefully lie down and die. Damage points are also amassed by bumping into other bikes and trackside objects. By the time you can complete a couple of laps without your damage reaching 50%, chances are you're ready to race. Qualifying for a race involves completing three laps of the appropriate circuit (unless competing in the World Championship, you can ride any circuit at any time). Your lap times will determine your position on the grid in the main race. Even if you fail to complete the qualifying laps, you can still race, but you'll start in last place.
Unlike most racing games where you can work your way up through the other competitors with relative ease, overtaking in Suzuki is far from a formality. Since all the computer controlled riders will automatically keep as close to the perfect line as possible, the only way you can get around them is to take a route other than the optimum, losing precious seconds if you make a mistake.
During practise, you can view your bike from five different angles, each infinitely definable by rotating and elevating the camera. While racing, though, you can only view from the rider's point of view, from behind the bike and over the back of the bike.
To speed up the already swift frame-rate, you can opt to turn off the other riders (resulting in ghost-bikes) and also do away with the bike's instrument panel and handlebars. For anyone with more than a passing interest in either motorbikes or what can be done with a decent polygon system, Team Suzuki is an essential download.
It would be a good race game, but on an A500 it is extremely slow. Even if it has very simple vector graphics. If you try it, switch on the A1200 power, maybe it will be playable.
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