A life on the open road, riding your hog, is one of those Easy Rider-inspired fantasies that most males over a certain age would give their hind teeth for. Cruising across North America's interstate highways with nothing but the empty countryside and a wide ribbon of tarmac stretching out in front of you, it's a simple dream.
It's not a dream you're going to live out in Moto Racing Fever, however, despite initial appearances from the screenshots. But equally, this game offers much more than a road to nowhere.
Following the story of the pun-tastic Sam Petrol, Moto Racing Fever sees you trying to join a group of racers known as the 'Racing Fever Motorcycle Club'. As is always the way, the group has no problem with you joining – but only if you prove yourself by taking part in nine races against different members of the club. There's one stipulation: if you lose a race, you'll lose your bike.
It's not the most impressive of stories but, to be honest, it doesn't need to be, as it's not particularly important. All we really care about here is the racing and, thankfully, Moto Racing Fever doesn't disappoint.
Your quest to join the club will see you burning through several major US cities, including New York, Washington, and San Francisco, over three chapters of the story. Each of these locations is epitomised by a series of distinctive landmarks you'll race past, and tracks are kept entertaining by the use of tunnels, bridges and other changes of scenery that force you to think on your toes.
Each track is incredibly busy, and you'll be weaving your bike in and out of traffic every second, as your perfect racing line suddenly gets blocked thanks to an inconsiderate driver. You'll find yourself riding against up to three opponents in each race, and winning is a real challenge, not least because of the amount of obstacles the game presents to you. The sheer number of vehicles on the road, when combined with the amount each track curves, dips and dives, will keep your heart pounding and your bike weaving, as you never know what's around the next corner.
Your bike will automatically accelerate for you, as is becoming the norm in mobile racers. However, it's with this mechanism that we have our only real gripe. Racing down streets full of busy traffic isn't easy on the best of days, let alone when you have no way of braking to avoid things. It's somewhat disappointing then that the developer doesn't give you slightly more control over the speed of your vehicle. This would have provided much more freedom of movement, though it's a niggle that can be overlooked, thanks to the rest of the quality on offer here.
Graphically, Moto Racing Fever is excellent. Coaxing some impressive 3D-effect visuals out of ageing handsets, courses are laden with slopes, roadside objects and other cars. Racing across a suspension bridge in New York is particularly exciting, as you dart from side to side on your nimble bike, huge pillars flashing alongside you. The overall presentation is of an equally high standard, with everything from the storyline to the in-game menus of the first rank.
After the disappointing Racing Fever GT, we'll admit we weren't expecting much from Moto Racing Fever. We found the former uninteresting and repetitive. It just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover, as although both games have been published and developed by the same team, the results could not be more different. Where Racing Fever GT failed, Moto Racing Fever manages to hit all the right buttons, providing interesting action that's as good to play as it is to look at.
With impressive graphics, addictive gameplay, and a sense of speed that's unrelenting, Moto Racing Fever is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. With 27 races to complete and a storyline tying them all together, it's a game you won't get bored of soon, and a game we heartily recommend.