Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tourist Trophy

John Marine | 4/08/2010 06:52:00 PM | | | |
Tourist Trophy- The Real Riding Simulator. Described affectionately as "Gran Turismo with bikes," Tourist Trophy gives gamers the chance to enjoy motorcycle racing in the Gran Turismo universe. Tourist Trophy utilizes the Gran Turismo 4 infrastructure. Many of the courses from Gran Turismo 4 are all back (with the exception of the off-road courses) including the debut of the Valencia road course to the GT universe. A variety of road-going and competition-spec motorcycles are available to race. This is a chance to enjoy two-wheeled racing on a variety of conditions.

Here is the box art for this game:

^ from:

--- "Tourist Trophy" at a Glance ---
Tourist Trophy plays significantly different from any original Gran Turismo game. You can play in Arcade or TT Mode. A variety of motorcycles are available for you to race. These include scooters, sport bikes, some motocross-style motorcycles, and more. You can set your height and customize your own riding style. You have four different options including a motard setup. You can customize the settings of any motorcycle. In addition to customizing settings for motorcycles, you can even customize riding gear featuring actually licensed motorcycle gear and some Polyphony Digital originals. Two racing suits and two streetwear suits are available for you to customize.

Unlike a GT game, however, you can't earn money towards... anything. You can earn items through racing and good progress throughout the game. These can include extra items to add to your riding gear and bonus motorcycles. The biggest way to add to your collection of motorcycles is to compete in the Challenge Mode. You can choose from bikes from many manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Buell, and more. In Challenge Mode, a majority of all motorcycles in the game can be earned through this mode. You are asked to compete in challenges. These challenges range from race challenges to one-lap time trials. If you go off course for too long, hit something very hard, fall off your back, or knock off another rider (especially in a Challenge race), you will be disqualified. Some bikes require you to have a license. There are four licenses for you to acquire to compete in various races and earn various bikes.

Unlike Gran Turismo 4's execution of it, Photo Mode is actually executed much better than in GT4. You can go for a ride and take your best pictures. Or after races, you can access the "Best Photo" feature, which allows you to save the best photos to your Memory Card or USB Flash Drive. Here's a picture I took for a friend of mine named Begoña:

^ from: my Facebook profile

There's also a great collection of songs for this game including "I Against a Speed," the theme song of Tourist Trophy by SUNPAULO.

--- "Tourist Trophy" Gameplay ---
You can race in any event. There are about 22 different series to race in. All of these events feature races based on kinds of motorcycles as well as races based on displacement and engine type. The first four series all involve street bikes. The remaining all require racing-spec motorcycles. The final championship, which is equivalent to the Gran Turismo World Championship, is the Tourist Trophy World Series. The best thing about Tourist Trophy (to me) is that this game doesn't keep track of your wins and losses. I feel like I have to maintain a perfect record to feel happy, because I have a bad attitude about losing.

Each bike offers three views. The instrument panel and handle bars are designed beautifully from the bike view. You actually notice digital readouts and some analog gauges. To me, this game's features were a precursor to what future GT games could be like. We're CERTAINLY seen the lovely interiors provided in Gran Turismo games since Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.

You have three different level of handling. You have the original handling, Semi-Pro, and Pro handling. The harder settings give you better control of your bikes and requires you to do much more to handle your bike. How you ride depends on things like your riding stance among other things. So pick something that's more comfortable to you. For one thing, I set my riding stance for speed. One such way to go faster on straights is to tuck down. You go faster with lower wind resistance.

A word of warning: the TZ250 Challenge will piss you off beyond recognition. Do that challenge last.

If you want to feel like you've accomplished something in this game, try winning the Championship races that allow you to earn one of five 8 Hours of Suzuka bikes. Four can be earned through different series while one can be earned by winning the Tourist Trophy World Series. These 8H Suzuka bikes are endurance-spec bikes, meaning these have lights on them for endurance racing. As of the date of this blog entry, I think I have two out of the five (maybe three of the five) 8H Suzuka motorcycles. Each of these bikes have their own riding gear that can ONLY be worn with those bikes.

--- The Racing Itself ---
There are a maximum of four bikes on a race track, which is pretty good considering GT4's graphics engine. There may not be 20 bikes to a track, but TT still gets the job done. Every race is on a Rolling Start. You can only qualify in Championship races. Depending on the race, it may be very difficult to go from 4th to a race victory. You may need to adjust your bike's settings and try to find ways to go fast in such little time. There are NO pit stops at all. Then again, pit stops are pretty rare in grand prix motorbike racing. Unless to change bikes for when there's a Dry or a Wet race.

If you hit a wall head-on, you'll face a 5 or 10-second speed penalty dropping you to about 31 mph. There is no damage to your motorcyle, but of course... you don't want to fly off by not going fast enough at speed or whatever. You can always revisit a race to try to win gold.

--- Personal Commentary on Tourist Trophy ---
Overall, this is a great motorcycle racing game. A combination of street bikes and racing bikes is an exceptional one. Every bike is shown beautifully with well-done riding physics and control. This is pick-up-and-play. Too many people thought this was just a cheap way to milk Gran Turismo 4. Not as many people enjoyed this game. But if you ask me, more people should. Okay. Maybe there are four bikes to a race track compared to 20 in the MotoGP games. Maybe people complained that since the game is called "Tourist Trophy," not including the Isle of Man TT course is a fail. Guess what? The same people complained that there were "LM Race Cars" in Gran Turismo, without including the Circuit de la Sarthe for years.

But come on now... where else are you going to get this level of motorcycle goodness where you can still enjoy a street bike as much as a racing bike? It was in this game that I've become better appreciative of Suzuki. Don't even get me started on racing the Suzuki Hayabusa in this game. I even have the racing-spec Hayabusa, and I love going on high-speed runs with that bike. In addition, this game made a BIG leap featuring both Aprilia and Ducati. This was even though people complained that Polyphony Digital couldn't secure big-name manufacturers. Fact is, every Gran Turismo featured some world-class makes. People tend to forget about THESE makes while most only care about Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini. These world-class makes have been featured include (but are not limited to): Alfa Romeo, Lancia, BMW, Aston Martin, Bentley, Renault, Audi, and Volvo among many others. I even thought Bentley was the biggest pickup for GT4, even if it was just the EXP GT that won Le Mans in 2003. Again, Apilia and Ducati were major finds for Tourist Trophy. The game even had a little contest where you could win your own Ducati 999R (another motorcycle I love racing in the game). It was also the game where I had respect for Triumph's beautiful middleweight bike that I used to win a championship race with

This game is great for what it is. With very few outstanding motorcycle racing games on the market, this is a great way to get your two-wheel fix. My Amazon Store (aStore) features Tourist Trophy. Please visit it to purchase Tourist Trophy from Amazon. If you loved this blog entry and want to get Tourist Trophy, please show me your support by buying this game now. Click on the image below to purchase this game or learn more about it:

If you need hints and tips, check out this, the Tourist Trophy strategy guide:

Thank you for reading!
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