The Cycles
- International Grand Prix Racing -
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade/Distinctive Software, Designed By: Brad Gour &
Don Mattrick, Programmed By: Mike Kiernan & Frank Barchard, Graphics By:
Mike Smith, Music By: Kris Hatlelid, Release Year: 1991, Number Of Players: 1

The Cycles places you right on the seat of a superbike with scenery and opponents whizzing by. Nothing new there, and in terms of sizzling arcade action. Cycles can't really be said to shine. The animation of the track and background scenery is juddery by modern 64 programming standards, while sound FX and other 'aesthetic' features aren't startling.

This isn't to say the game's unexciting or has no sense of realism. In fact, once you've mastered the tricky controls, you'll be racing hard with sweat on your brow.

Where the game really stands out, though, is depth. Racing takes place over 15 world-famous circuits, against numerous opponents. You can choose to practise, enter a single race or go for the complete championship. Practice is extremely advisable as sorting out the control of your finely balanced bike takes a while.

Choose your mount
There's a choice of bikes, ranging from a 250cc fizzer to a 500cc monster capable of 165 mph. Each bike has its own characteristics and must be ridden accordingly. Automatic gears are selectable, whilst manual gears are shifted through using the fire button.

You can also select the difficulty of your race; 'easy' offering virtual invulnerability to damage, plus easier cornering, while the top level 'pro' has extremely tough opposition and demanding bike control (ie strong possibility of doing a Barry Sheen).

Every race has a qualifying lap to determine your position on the starting grid. The race itself is then loaded, where you compete against computer-controlled bikers. If you enter the full championship season - which can take hours - points are scored according to position.

All your personal racing data is recorded such as best lap, average speed, etc - a typically nice touc. As you race, your position (and the other bikes') is shown on the circuit plan at the top corner of the screen. Constant monitoring of this is vital to success, especially since all the tracks have such tortuous bends.

Other on-screen information includes time, position, gear, tachometer and even a rear-view mirror. (But no vanity mirror? - Ed)

Racing certainly
Certainly there's plenty to keep you interested, making it a compulsive and durable game. However, cassette users will find the game marred by a very slow and badly designed multiload sysyem.

After every race the tape has to be rewound, so you'll have to be extremely patient (especially as the races being as soon as they load... no waiting for you to get back with your cuppa!).

But the game itself is well thought out, with an effort towards motorbike authenticity. One thing it misses is a two-player mode, for the benefit of those of us who prefer a bit of human opposition, especially in a game which can last so long.

These are minor gripes though and Cycles is a hit, the elements of technique and strategy making up for the lack of immediate thrills and spills. A must for armchair greasers, especially at such a reasonable price.

Being very excited when The Cycles cruised into the office. I was fired up by that dirty little heavy rock tune introducing it... and I never looked back.

Although the speed of the game doesn't really compate to my daily burn to Ludlow, it's just like the real thing. Racing against all those international bike stars, and on such a dream machine, I was sweating in my leathers I can tell you.

Being experienced in the saddle I had no trouble in getting up to the professional levels using the big machines, and it's rough out there. I only fell off my armchair occasionally, luckily I had my bash hat on... phew. All slaves of the iron horse apply here.


That disruptive multiload... aaarrrgggghh!!! Disk owners should be all right though and there's a slick intro.
Not very smooth, but we've certainly seen worse.
Usual engine roars and tyre screeches, plus a snippet of heavy rock for the intro.
Very difficult to control the bike at first, but it'll keep you trying.
If you're into this sort of thing you could be battling on the circuit for months.
Unless you can't face the multiloading it's an attractively priced and intelligent little game.