Ride hard, die free

RVF Honda logo Amiga Computing Value Award

ALL you have is a red bike, six gears and the truth. So said Bob Dylan. Well, almost. Honda RVF from MicroStyle has arrived. Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Donnington Park - it has got them. So come on you target for faraway laughter, and ride.

If you fancy yourself as Joey Dunlop or you saw Silver Dream Machine and trashed your moped up and down the block for months, then this is the thing you have been waiting for.

Take your mean machine for a practice before the big race and suss out the circuit. Slide around the bends and gun it down the straights. Watch out for the diesel patches and puddles which slow you down.

Oh no, a hairpin. Slip it down a few cogs and lean hard. Feel your knee scrape the track. Fight for control. Get a good time and you could be in pole position.

The main object is to compete in a championship season consisting of eight races, and to get your licence upgraded so you can race against even better drivers next season.

A championship table is kept and updated each round so you can see how well you are doing. Points are awarded, obviously, depending on which position you finished the race.

I am pleased to point out to members of OASIS - the Organisation Against Sexism In Software - that a female rider is included in the championship. Although it is difficult to tell under all that leather gear. She is quite good, too.

The format is that you do a spot of practice - you do not have to, but it makes it easier - and then race for 5 to 25 laps in each of the eight races. This can take a bit of time and your joystick hand will be well knackered by the end of it. Then you have to do it all over again.

A whole series of championships could take all day to play. Even the most avid biker may be a bit bored by the end of this. Fortunately, there is a Data link option - a parallel one strangely enough - so added enjoyment can be had bumping a friend off the track.

Control is by joystick, which is strange considering the spate of race games offering a mouse control option. Generally, the mouse is more responsive and in some games necessary to beat the best lap times. Of course you need to be superdextrous and have a mouse mat the size of the actual track to use it, but it is nice to have a choice.

If the unthinkable should happen and you lose it on a bend, you stand a good chance of crashing into the assembled detritus at the side of the track. IN a most bone-wrenchingly realistic animated sequence the bike will roll, you will roll, and you will both end up in a heartbreaking heap.

Then what? You get back on, of course. Push start your vehicle and get back in the race. The only damage you are likely to suffer from a head=on with a stationary tree coming in the other direction, apart from wounded pride, is a broken speedo and rev counter, which can be fixed easily in the pits. Of course, real bikers do not need these newfangled gadgets.

Amazing graphics really do give you a good feel of the actual track - hills and all - as you race your Honda past the obligatory red and white kerbstones into the nicely graduated sunset.

Realistic graphics, realistic control, realistic sounds, realistic racing, realistic thrills. So if it is raining out, leave the Superdream in the drive and take your Honda for a spin.

RVF Honda logo

Für die Freunde röhrender Motoren gab es in der letzten Zeit ein ganze Reihe von Programmen - nur die Motorrad-Freaks kamen zu kurz! Aber die Durststrecke ist vorüber: Micro Styles RVF Honda startet jetzt auch am Amiga durch.

Nachdem ich mich durch die Passwortabfrage gewurstelt und das starke Titelbild samt fetzigem Sound gebührend bewundert habe, kann es losgehen: Noch schnell zwei bis drei Menüs durchklicken, dann steht meine Spielfigur neben ihrer RC 30 Honda am Start. Anschieben, auf die Maschine springen und Gas geben. Die Grafik ruckelt ein wenig. Ein Konkurrent überholt mich, fährt mitten durch mich hindurch, nichts geschieht! Ein Crash in der ersten Kurve hat eine Bauchlandung im Gras zur Folge. Als ich beim nächsten Anlauf an ungeeigneter Stelle zuviel Gas gebe, bäumt sich die Honda auf, und ich fahre ziemlich lange nur auf dem Hinterrad - selbst durch beherztes Bremsen läßt sich das Gerät nicht wieder in die Normalposition dirigieren. Auch der Tacho scheint zu spinnen, nach jeder Bauchlandung will er sich partout nicht mehr bewegen. Egal, nach drei Runden brause ich als Vierter durchs Ziel...

RVF Honda kann mit recht netten Animationssequenzen (Anschieben und Testen der Maschine am Streckenrand) in leider etwas eintöniger Landschaft aufwarten. Sehr viel Neues ist allerdings nicht dabei.

Wer wilde Motorradrennen mag, ist mit diesem Programm jedoch recht gut bedient. Die Steuerung per Joystick ist wirklich gut gelungen, und die Maschine verhält sich sehr realistisch, obwohl die Kollisionsabfrage im Großen und Ganzen nicht überzeugend ist. Insgesamt stehen 22 verschiedene Strecken zur Verfügung, und wer seine Karte unterwegs beschädigt hat, braucht auch nicht zu verzweifeln: ein Boxenstop macht's wieder gut! (Udo Bartz)

RVF Honda logo CU Super Star

Micro Style
Price: £24.95

Microprose's new Micro Style label looks set to live up to its name with its first release. RVF Honda is so good, it makes you wonder if Microprose are ever going to top it. Knowing them, they probably will quite easily.
To shed just a little light on what is in effect a pretty cryptic title, the Honda RVF750 is a Formula 1 motorbike capable of some pretty hairy speeds. You, on the other hand, are a helmeted, plastic coated action man with a death wish. Put the two together and team them up with a large oddly shaped loop of tarmac and what do you get? Formula 1 racing. Fast, loud, dangerous and exciting.

The easiest way I can describe RVF is that it is superficially similar to Super Hang On, but there is more to it. You view the game from a position some fifteen feet behind your rider, initially positioned alongside his pride and joy, Henry the Honda.
To start he runs alongside the bike, pushing it as he builds up speed. Waggle the joystick to run faster until you reach a certain speed and he leaps into the saddle, the engine roaring into life.

As usual for a Microprose product, the game describes itself as an accurate simulation. This I have to argue with. If it is an accurate simulation, then how it comes you cannot change direction? You can change your lateral postion, but you cannot actually change the course. This is probably just as well, mind, as all your time is taken up just getting around the track at a decent speed and in one piece. As with real life, there are limits as to the speed that you can safely take a corner. This is where the gears come in. By correctly using them, not only can you out-accelerate even the toughest computer opponent, but you can also successfully 'shave' corners, rather than slide hopelessly to the outside of a bend, like I did in my earlier attempts.

You start as a rookie biker, but can move up to National level of racing, which gives you access to some of the more prestigious tracks. This is done by entering and winning the Clubman Championship, which is a seven-race challenge against eight computer riders. In each race you are awarded points based on your finishing position, and at the end of the championship, alls scores are totted up. The winner gets promoted.

The graphics are nothing short of brilliant. Just the main sprite in itself is enough to merit an incredibly high mark. I do not know how many frames of animation have gone into him, but there are heck of a lot of little touches. Like the way he crouches forward when he accelerates, and the way he glances worridly over his shoulder at obstacles he narrowly avoided.
The scrolling on the card is amazing, even fast than Super Hang On, if that is possible. Unfortunately, the tracks do look a little similar in places, due to lack of variation in the landscapes and roadside objects (a mixture of triangular trees, large lollipops and red and white blocks).

Sound is just as impressive as the graphics. A powerful growl emanates from the bike and sounds as if it is sampled from the real thing. Even better, the other bikes make more or less the same noise, except the volume changes in relation to your distance to them. Imagine if you can, the sound that explodes from your monitor when all nine bikes are revving up on the starting grid. The right atmosphere is created immediately. All this plus a hard rock intro tune, what more could you want?

If this, as Microprose maintain, is the shape of Amiga games to come, then everybody should buy an Amiga now!

RVF Honda logo


Sean: RVF Honda is described as a simulation rather than an arcade game, but does include elements of both genres. On the arcade front, the colourful graphics would not be out of place on Super Hang On or a game of that ilk. Sound is the usual digitised vroomy noises, and scrolling is smooth. The illusion of speed is well created and since you are concerned with what is happening in the race, the trackside decorations are for the most part ignored. Unless you are wrapping the 'bike around them, that is.
Prettiness aside, it is predominantly a racing simulation, and there is a lot more to it than whizzing around collecting flies on your visor. There are over twenty tracks to master, and three skill levels to choose from.

To begin with, the race is at Clubman level and you must compete on eight tracks and finish first overall in order to progress to National level and then International level. If you win this, you become World Champion, and presumably lead a life of drunken debauchery with page three bimbos, or have metal bits fitted to replace the bones left by the track at Donnington.

As in any self-respecting simulation, each track requires its own approach, on some you can belt round in sixth gear, whilst in others you may barely touch fifth. Each race begins with the opportunity to practice, allowing you to become familiarised with the track, work out the best gearing for certain bends and also to determine your grid position.
Once on the grid it is down to your driving skills and timing next to that of the other racers. In addition, there are also oil patches, puddles and hills to contend with. Either will you lose your vital seconds, but falling can also ruin your speedo and rev counter, or damage the gears or steering, making the bike perform about as well as Elvis Presley.
Gears must be used, and are implemented by using the fire key and pressing forward to step up the gears, and pulling back while pressing fire to come down. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to change down the gears as you approach a bend, and because of the joystick configuration I found it tricky to change down and steer the bike round a bend, so I spent a lot of time headbutting trees and collecting grass stains.

Once I was getting to grips, keeping up with the pack and occasionally winning, I found RVF Honda to be quite an addictive game. Chasing and overtaking other riders, especially on the bends, looks impressive, and certainly gives you an exhilaratingly smug feeling. Most of the time, however, you are out on your own, only occasionally meeting another rider. This makes it a little boring at times, and whilst the simulation might be being true to life in this aspect, it can prove a bit of a drag.

Overall, RVF is an attractive game. The sonics and graphics, whilst not being anything revolutionary, complement the gameplay more than adequately. And as it is the involved gameplay which makes the game, RVF Honda should not disappoint anyone who wants a decent 'bike racing simulator for their Amiga.

RVF Honda logo

MicroStyle, Amiga £24.99

As a novice you begin your motorcycling career riding your 750cc Honda RVF around lesser-known British circuits in the Clubman Championship. Before each race, you can practice riding around the track, trying to get the best qualifying time to claim pole position.

Viewing the high-speed action from just behind your bike, you must try to avoid oil patches and bumps on the track, which can cause the bike to slide to a screeching halt. Collision with the obstacles bordering the track sends the rider flying into the air. Miraculously, no matter how bad the crash, the rider gets up and push-starts the bike - waggle the joystick to make him run!

Only after winning the Clubman and then the National Championship are you allowed to compete on international circuits in a bid to become World Champion.

Two players can also compete against each other by linking two Amiga, or an Amiga and a ST together with a home-made connection lead!

Robin Hogg Although technically very good RVF lacks any depth or variety. Fun at first, racing around the many tracks soon gets repetitive. I'm not convinced the action is that realistic either - the rider can lean right over at extremely slow speeds without falling off! Still, RVF will keep bike fans happy for a while.
Phil King Despite coming with a hefty manual, and being on the MicroStyle 'Games For Adults' label, RVF is surprisingly simplistic. All you do is race around track after track - there are no deep simulation aspects here. However, if fast action is what you want RVF delivers it in style with the fast-scrolling track and realistic engine noises giving an exhilarating feeling of high speed.