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Kawasaki Super Bike Challenge

Genre: Racing Developer: Lankhor Publisher: Time Warner Int. Players: 1-2 Released: 1995

One of my close friends was looking for a Genesis so I finally found one in a thrift shop with almost thirty games. I brought it home, and he came over and took a look at the collection, and we started playing some of the games. He likes racing games so this was one of the first few we tried, and we played it for a few minutes or so. Eventually, he said I could have it since it was so bad and pretty much a waste of time. You know me, I don’t really like these bad games, but I always seem to end up with them, and I somehow ended up playing this enough to write a review for it.

I’ve never been much into motorcycle racing and haven’t played that many superbike games either, but I knew right away that once I got started I was still in for it when I started a few of the races. I guess I’ll start this review with the options menu since it’s got a fairly extensive one. You can choose to race individual tracks or a two-player mode, but if you want to play the full game you have to go to the options and set your game up. You start by naming your racer and then choose weather conditions and some different ways you want your bike to handle. Then you select a difficulty and choose a circuit race, a championship race, or an individual race. Once you choose all of that you then get to select what tracks you want to be included out of a total of sixteen. Not bad for a 16-bit racer so far right?

Once that’s all been set up, the game will tell you the weather conditions for each track, show you the layout, and let you choose to have your bike be set to high or low gearing. It does make a difference, depending what track you’re on. You have to participate in a four lap qualifier before each actual race. On this qualifier there are a few other bikes, but they are not actually in the race. Once you complete that the game tells you what place you will start in the actual race, and then that race is another five laps. Most of the tracks will have laps that are two to three miles on average and will take place in different countries around the world. I don’t know if they are actually real tracks or not since I don’t follow superbike racing much.

Once the race starts you might mistake this as an FX game on the Super NES. It handles everything pretty well and gets the scaling and 3D aspects down decently and is almost as nice looking as games like Dirt Trax FX and Stunt Race FX on the SNES. The difference is that there is less detail overall and not much stuff in the backgrounds of each track. The bike handles well and will take some practice to get through the tougher tracks with a good placing, so there’s not much to complain about. The sound, however, doesn’t fare so well. Your bike sounds very high pitched and not at all like a superbike should, and all of the other bikes suffer from the same thing too, despite having a slightly different sound when they pass or you pass them. The remaining sound effects aren’t anything to get excited about, and there aren’t much of them at that. Also, there’s only music in the menus, another minus in my book.

Well you might be saying to yourself that this game seems like a good racer that you’ve never heard of, and you might also be silently asking me why I said this game was so bad. It just so happens that Kawasaki Super Bike Challenge suffers from one major problem: it’s just plain tedious and boring to play as a whole. Think about this for a minute or two. There are sixteen tracks right? That doesn’t sound too bad and makes it seem like there is a lot of variety. Well, there isn’t. Each track takes about two minutes or so, give or take to complete one lap. So with a four lap qualifier and a five lap actual race that’s about fifteen to twenty minutes just to complete one race. With some weak sound effects and drab visuals, there’s not much left to keep you or me awake for more than a race or two.

When it’s all said and done it makes sense why no one’s heard of Kawasaki Super Bike Challenge before. That’s because it’s flat out not fun to play, and there are so many better racers for the Genesis and all the 16-bit systems in general. I can’t recommend this to anyone, not even racing fans. Just go and play another game, and let this one become a forgotten foot note to be left in the dust of all of the better 16-bit racers.

SCORE: 3 out of 10

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