Format reviewed: Dreamcast
Developer: Criterion Games
Submitted by: James Holian
Suzuki Alstare Extreme Racing is one of the more enjoyable Dreamcast racing games. When I saw the video on the demo disc at the time of release I had my doubts, it looked like there would be quite severe draw-in and control issues. But I was proven half wrong.
The graphics are good, although the draw-in is there. But it wont distract too much. The crashing aspect disappointed me. It was as far too easy to be dismounted. You’ll definitely need the brakes in this game if you don't want to crash. The bikes are very well rendered and seem to have quite a good amount of detail Although you‘ll be concentrating more on the track itself rather than the bike, as it move by very quickly! If this game is on thing it’s fast, and seems to be a consistent 60fps without any slowdown. When it comes to steering and sensitivity, I was quite impressed. It takes a while to master but once you develop the reflexes you will be going toward cliffs and walls at full throttle and only braking at the last possible moment. You don't just make very light turns. You can curve so hard that your rider actually touches the track.
Suzuki Alstare has a few minor flaws. The physics in the game is one of them. The rider falling animation isn’t very realistic. I sometimes found that it would take so long to reset that the lead would be impossible to regain and I would have to restart the race . Also your progress is based around your racing competition. That means if you start another competition you have restarted the tracks that you have earned. During the racing competition there is big gap in difficulty and when you get an upgraded to the super bikes they are very hard to handle. But give it a chance and practice for a couple of goes and you should be able to master your new ride.
Overall I highly recommend this game to Dreamcast owners with a passing interest in Motorbikes and curious racing fans.