IT'S THAT TOUGH SPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH BIG LEG MUSCLES, AND NOW IT'S ON YOUR HOME COMPUTER! CYCLING UP AND DOWN HILLS, THROUGH ROCKY PATCHES, OVER RIVERS - IT'S ALL IN THIS SIMULATION. BUT, AS NICK ROBERTS DISCOVERS IT'S A ROCKY RIDE!
Yes, it's all here - hills, valleys, ponds and tyre-burning leaps and landings. The question that springs to mind is... why? I've never really seen the point in making a game that's supposed to simulate a sport that relies on the wide open outdoors for its addictiveness. Perhaps it gives all the couch potatoes that sit at home all day long an insight into what they're missing!
I wouldn't mind so much if Mountain Bike Simulator were a half-decent game. All Terrain Simulator from Codies simulated a similar sport but that game was great fun to play.
OVER THE 'BARS
The trouble with Mountain Bike Simulator is that you can get thrown off your bike for the slightest thing. I mean, riding at a steady speed through a clump of grass wouldn't usually send you flying over the handlebars would it? When you come to a stretch of water that you should be able to fly through, spraying muddy liquid everywhere, it seems to be solid! Very peculiar indeed! Perhaps someone got there first with a bag of quick-drying cement or a big lorry of hard-setting jelly?
All the landscapes and the little rider on his bike are detailed enough and the eight-way scrolling's fine, but a spot of colour wouldn't have been much to ask, would it? Okay, so there's a colour change from level to level, but there's not enough to agitate my thrill sensors (who do you think you are - Tharg?! -Sub Ed).
The annoyance factor gets a massive boost when you fall off in the middle of a rough piece of land. Because the game only allows you to start biking once more on a straight, it scrolls the landscape slowly by until it finds one - with the timer going down all the way! Run out of time and it's game over (man). Not very fair at all, I'm sure you all agree!
Oh yes, and something else (moan, whinge, complain): a password system wouldn't have gone amiss, either - y'know, one every three levels or so. It's a pain having only one life to play with because if you find yourself on level three and you run out of time, you have to start again from the beginning. It's all a bit dull playing through levels you know you can do easily with a bit of practice.
Mountain biking has been computerised with much more success than this, but die-hard racers might be entertained by this simulation.
NICK ... 46%
'You can be sure that the word 'simulator' in the title means that this is a Code Masters game and, unlike Nick, I enjoyed playing Mountain Bike you-know-what. Okay, so the sprites are monochrome and the biker isn't very well drawn, but I 'm a sucker for a game with a time limit (the angst created is great and the language colourful!). Don't expect to be able to clear the first few tracks on your first attempt, a fair bit of hair tearing is in order before you reach even the end of level one. A couple of points do bug me, though, like: 1. Why can you sometimes ride across the water (has someone covered it with clingfilm?), when most times you crash, and 2. When leaping a broken bridge you sometimes fall through and stay on the bike, other times you gracelessly fly over the handlebars. Oh well... Despite reservations, Mountain Bike Simulator is a fun title and should provide entertainment for a while. Yeah, thumbs up.'
MARK ... 73%
Frustratingly crap or simply quite jolly? Depends how easily you're entertained, really.
Own up - who filled the river with cement? It's a triple somersault to pike! A perfect ten!
Aarrgh! Someone's stolen the bridge! It's rip-roaring non stop action in this epic sim for the Codies (Sarcastic caption courtesy of Nicholas G. Roberts).
Yeee-har! I can fly! Silly cape and underpants worn over trousers not included!