January 03, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Gary Eng Walk on ”MotoGP ’06”

MotoGP ’06
(THQ, Everyone, Xbox360)
Call them the fast and furiously insane: How else to describe motorcycle racers, who routinely go 200 mph while riding on just two wheels? You have to be impressed with their nerve (if not their insurance premiums), so it’s pretty easy to see the allure of a gorgeous-looking game like MotoGP, which offers the on-the-edge thrills of the sport without the risk of repeated visits to the orthopedic surgeon.

True motorcycle racing fans will go hog wild over the authentic touches: MotoGP illustrates real courses, real racers (including Valentino Rossi, the Jeff Gordon of the circuit), and real bikes, the latter of which players can fine-tune for added performance. Unfortunately, the ”spectator” mode might be the only comfortable spot for casual players, because MotoGP‘s learning curve is as tortuous as the curves on the racetrack. Even with the in-game tutorial, newbies can easily get stuck in a vicious, uh, cycle of accelerating, then wiping out. With lots of practice (stick to the fictitious ”Extreme” tracks, which are easier to navigate than the unforgiving 17 real-life courses), life in the fast lane eventually gets easier, and it’s worth investing all of your time to get Rossi-good, if only to show off your hard-earned skills online on the Xbox Live circuit. B

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