Cycles - real bikes, not the pedal kind - are the subject of Accolade's latest sporting epic. Racing bikes, to be more precise. Either small 125cc steeds or 500cc monsters, you can have a blast on both.
The aim is to win Grands Prix, as many as possible, hopefully building up points for the World Championship. The circuits are world famous venues where man and machine have duelled - sometimes to the death - for racing glory.
Bikes are romantic, with a mystique derived from speed, and to be effective, The Cycles needed to capture that sense of devil-may-care lunacy. The charge into a hairpin at a terminal speed, the arm-stretching acceleration of the straights, are central to its success. The Cycles unfortunately cannot deliver. Graphically, the game is strong, with easily readable instruments and a good 3D perspective of the track. The engine, however, grumbles rather than throbs, and the bikes don't seem to travel at any great speed. The speedometer says you're doing 110 mph, but looking at the tarmac you'd think it was 20 mph max. Without this sense of speed, the game cannot thrill, no matter how good everything else is.
Light years ahead of Test Drive II, The Cycles is still dogged by the same central problem - the lack of any real pace. It's more of a slow-motion replay than a racing sim. This is not to say the game is easy, but control difficulty cannot replace speed as the core theme of a racing game. Try to take a corner on anything but the correct line and even the best bikers will find themselves slewing off the course.
There's only one explanation for the cycles attraction to grass - they must have been cows in a previous life. The handling and speed seem similar!
10mph looks pretty much the same as 100mph - it's just harder to stay on the tarmac.
Qualify for a race.
The grass is greener.
P. Nice 3D
N. Too slow!
N. Bumble bee engines strike again!
Grab Factor 33%
P. It's not exactly exciting.
Staying Power 45%
N. There's loads of tracks to wade through.
P. Motorcycle racing for the extremely timid!