Manx TT Super Bike
|Manx TT Super Bike|
|Developer(s)||Sega AM3, Sega-AM4
Tantalus Interactive (Saturn)
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Arcade system||Sega Model 2|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution
Manx TT Super Bike is a 1995 arcade racing game developed jointly by Sega AM3 and Sega-AM4. It was later brought to the Sega Saturn by Psygnosis and Tantalus Interactive and then ported to Windows by Perfect Entertainment. It was the first motorcycle racing game built for the Sega Model 2 arcade board. Up to 8 players can race in this game if enough cabinets are linked together, following on from Daytona USA.
The game's setting is the Isle of Man TT - the world-famous and demanding motorcycle racing event held on the Isle of Man. There are two courses to race on; the Laxey Coast course for novices and the more difficult TT ("Tourist Trophy") Course for veteran players. While the TT Course is based on the actual course on the Isle of Man, the Laxey Coast is a fictional course designed by the game developers, though its scenery is drawn from the Isle of Man.
The arcade game was known at the time for its impressive graphics and innovative cabinet. Many arcade motorcycle games incorporated a bike-like machine that tilted so the player could maneuver the on-screen bike through the physical "bike" (pioneered by another Sega game, Hang-On); to do this, the player would need to push their feet against the floor. The Manx TT machine, however, was sensitive enough to tilt just from the rider shifting their weight, allowing the player to keep their feet on the machine and use their body weight to control the on-screen bike, making the game feel more realistic.
Many of the unsold cabinets were converted into Motor Raid, a futuristic Model 2 motorcycle racing game released in 1997.
Producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi recounted the impetus behind the game:
After Sega Rally, I wanted to make a game with a big graphic impact that used the player's body. Looking through a magazine, I saw an article about the Isle of Man and I found the island very beautiful - perfect for a nice racing game. Moreover, in Japan there are groups of bikers who love riding bikes on the open road. I wanted to make a bike game mixing these two elements.
The in-game motorcycles resemble the team Honda/Castrol Honda RVF750 RC45. In making the game, AM3 consulted the motorcycle racing team Castrol/Honda Racing Corporation, who helped them on a number of points, including studies on where sound comes from on a motorcycle and how it travels to the ear of the rider. The team determined that they needed four sound outputs to recreate this experience realistically. Because the Model 2 arcade board has only two sound outputs, they used a Model 1 sound board for the additional two sound outputs.
Because it takes more polygons to render a motorcycle than to render a car with a similar level of detail, AM3's wish for the game to support up to eight players presented processing difficulties. They opted to limit the bikes to a relatively small number of polygons so that the game could support eight players without suffering slowdown.
The game was first demonstrated at the 1995 Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers' Association show; the game was described as only 20% complete at this time, with just one course playable.
Gaming fans and journalists assumed that the Saturn version of the game would be developed by the same internal Sega CS team which handled the Saturn conversion of Sega Rally Championship, but the team was busy with Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition, which Sega considered a more important release.
The Saturn and PC releases have the game soundtrack as standard Red Book audio which can be listened to in any CD player.
Saturn to PC conversion
The PC conversion, based on the Saturn game both ported by British studio Psygnosis, offered enhancements to the visuals and gameplay modes.
- Full bike shadows instead of the mesh effect shadow in the Saturn version.
- Perspective correction to remove polygon warping.
- Increased draw distance.
- Higher resolution than the arcade version.
- 3dFx compatibility for filtered textures.
- 8 player multiplayer, like the arcade game.
- Newer voices.
Following a strong audience reaction at the Amusement Trades Exhibition International show, the game's UK distributor sold out of Manx TT Super Bike cabinets. A reviewer for Next Generation hailed the game as "one of the fastest and most dazzling bike coin-ops in the arcades ... the next evolutionary step in bike racing sims." He said the ability to control the bike without placing one's feet on the ground makes it far more immersive and realistic than any previous cycle racing game, and additionally applauded the effective simulation of speed, high frame rate, "solid" learning curve, persistent and intelligent AI opponents, and the way the bike reacts to being hit or jostled by other racers. He scored it 5 out of 5 stars.
- Some later releases refer to the game as Manx TT SuperBike or Manx TT Superbike.
- "You Little Manx!". Sega Saturn Magazine (3). Emap International Limited. January 1996. p. 18.
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- "Coin-op Giants Reveal Latest at JAMMA". Next Generation. Imagine Media (12): 16–17. December 1995.
- "Manx TT". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. pp. 60–61.
- "Manx TT Confirmed!". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (7): 127. June 1996.
- "Sega's Fighting Frenzy!". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (4): 128. March 1996.
- "Born to Be Wild". Next Generation. No. 17. Imagine Media. May 1996. p. 104.