North America: November 16, 1999
Europe: November 10, 1999
[Video courtesy of "Its Still Thinking". Check the game out and leave your own comments of the game.]
Suzuki Alstare Racing is a refined version of a PC game release known as Redline Racer made by the infamous development studio Criterion Games and published by Ubisoft. A motorcycle racer with a slight emphasis on arcade style control physics with an intentionally grounded and realistic presentation making the overall experience a bit sedated yet accessible to players of all skill types. I personally found the game rather encouraging to play as a result of the games approach to gameplay and intuitive controls. While not part of the incredible Dreamcast launch lineup of 9.9.99, the game was still available very early for the platform almost right after the launch. The provided game modes for the game consists of a simple single player campaign mode, a 2 player mode and that's about it really. You'll spend most of your time in "Main Mode" which consists qualifying races which in turn allows access to additional qualifying tournaments to compete in, ultimately unlocking additional levels, bikes and racing attire.
I may be wrong here (If someone can enlighten me on the subject) but the game may have been produced with Criterion's own RenderWare technology. Regardless if there is truth to this statement or not, the visuals in Suzuki Alstare are quite nice especially for their time. Everything looks good, very sharp and well textured. Lighting effects produced on various levels are also well done. While the game runs on a lackluster 30 fps, it does nothing to take away from the games blistering pace. The framerate is always locked and never ever falters down to anything below its default rate regardless on what appears on screen. Also, the games sense of speed is rather impressive with enough acceleration and there is little to no issue regarding draw distance.
Engine sounds are good and the games soundtrack if of the techno electronic variety so the latter may evoke a love it or hate it feeling depending on your musical taste. There are some catchy beats and tunes but for the most part, a lot of the music is forgettable. A gripe i have with the game in the audio category which stems from the sound chime that is produced when reaching checkpoints on a racetrack.
The Dreamcast is a heaven for many amazing racing titles, and the same publisher to this very game had 2 additional racers released almost in parallel with the release of Suzuki Alstare Racing. With such abundance and variety on the console, it's bit easy to overlook this game from the shuffle. I admit I never even played the game until just last year when I scored a copy for only $3. I must admit that I was rather surprised to discover such a fun game that I had yet own. There may be a lack of modes and content overall, but the heart of the game is rather polished and well crafted. Check this game out for yourselves courtesy of RDC and see if your impression of the game is similar to my own.