By: Andy Newbound
When it comes to fantasy vehicles, two wheels are often as incredible as four. Mix this with the ultra-popular genre of gaming and you’ve got a recipe for unbridled success.
Indeed, the world of video games is littered with a virtual parking-lot crammed with eye-poppingly amazing bikes. So what better way to recognise this than with our very own Top 10 list of incredible Gaming Bikes.
If you’re into gaming, or even if you’re not, check these beauties out and let us know what you think. Have we picked the very best ten? Or do you know a better two-wheeler that you think deserves its place in our list? Let us know!
Until then, this is our gametastic hit-list…
© Square Enix
Few gaming devotees would argue against the influence that the legendary Final Fantasy franchise has had on the world of video games. Widely regarded as the best of these, and perhaps one of the best games of all times, is Final Fantasy 7. Released twenty years ago in 1997, FF7 helped redefine role-playing games and features the incredible hybrid Hardy-Daytona bike.
Clearly based on the iconic Harley-Davidson bike and tipping its hat to Florida’s motorsport mecca, Daytona Beach, FF7’s Hardy-Daytona was a true badass bike designed in the post-apocalyptic style of Mad Max.
Fans of FF7 will be delighted to hear that after years of speculation, developers Square Enix have confirmed that they are currently working on a remake of the original game for the PlayStation 4. We have no release date yet, but we’ll keep our ear to the ground and keep you posted.
For those gamers who cut their teeth on those pioneering nineties classics, few would dispute that Tomb Raider deserves special acclaim. Its lead character Lara Croft gave true inspiration to the girl-power movement, and who could forget Ms Croft’s escapades and adventures in the saddle of her iconic Ducati Monster motorcycle in the Tomb Raider: Legend game.
In the subsequent movie, Angelina Jolie’s Lara had switched her two-wheeled allegiance to what appears to be a Yamaha TRX850. Whatever she chooses to ride, Lara Croft’s motorcycle has earned a special place in the top ten of iconic game bikes.
© Rockstar Games
It’s always an exciting and inspiring moment when two genuine classics combine. In GTA 5 Online, Rockstar Games give players a treat with the introduction of the iconic Light Cycle from the 80’s movie, Tron.
A movie inspired entirely by the embryonic video game industry, Tron quickly became a cult classic and the unmistakable Light Cycle was the fictional vehicle of choice for an entire generation. In those early days of SFX, Tron’s pixel world set a breath-taking benchmark that even the recent reboot couldn’t match.
Few two-wheeled machines have ever stirred the sci-fi juices quite like the Light Cycle and to be able to climb into the saddle and cruise the streets of Los Santos in San Andreas was nirvana for an entire generation of players.
Surely, it’s no coincidence that our top ten list of unforgettable game bikes also contains a veritable who’s-who of trailblazing video games. Who can forget or dispute the impact of Metal Gear Solid 5? Particularly the original Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation. If Final Fantasy 7 set new standards of role-play gaming, Metal Gear Solid raised the bar for graphics and storytelling.
This was the first real game to demonstrate true cinematic presentation and a level of deep-diving storytelling that gave movies a genuine run for their money. Oh, and Metal Gear Solid 5 also included one of the coolest game bikes ever used – Snake’s infamous Triumph Bonneville T100. What a machine. What a game!
For most video game aficionados, Super Mario holds a special place in their hearts. Its offshoot, Mario Kart is a fun-fest classic series in its own right and gamers had hours of innocent, yet addictive fun racing around the many circuits.
What began its life as an out-and-out kart racing game quickly introduced additional elements and machines, including hang-gliders, underwater racing and, of course, motor bikes like the unforgettable Master Cycle.
The drifting Master Cycle was clearly inspired by the character Link from The Legend of Zelda games. Sculpted to resemble Link’s trusty-stead Epona, the bike is contoured for speed and features Link’s signature Hylian Shield on each flank. As you’d expect, it rides like the wind and is a galloping good addition!
Our next classic gaming bike takes us back to RockStar’s controversial but hugely popular and award-scooping GTA 5. Yet another trailblazer, GTA 5 hit our consoles in 2013 as the industry pioneer of the next-gen ‘open-world’ genre so many gamers now enjoy.
Created by more than 1,000 developers worldwide and costing more than £170 million to create, this $billion-selling behemoth gave players the opportunity to roam free throughout the suburbs of Los Santos in a variety of real-world vehicles. One of these was the lightweight Nagasaki Carbon RS superbike, a nimble-toed two-wheeler with skin-tearing acceleration. It’s remembered with genuine affection as the ultimate speed-machine for getting right to the heart of GTA 5 action.
© Bethesda Softworks
True fans of the Fallout series go all glassy-eyed at even the slightest mention of the Fallout 4 Easter egg lurking opposite the jetty, near Vault 81. It’s a bike, but no ordinary bike. This is the Lone Wanderer, designed loosely around an old Indian Chief and a sweet little nod to the lead character from Fallout 3.
Perhaps a little disappointingly, the Lone Wanderer can’t be ridden in normal play. Yet for super-fans, this doesn’t matter. The fact it’s there is more than enough, providing an emotional tug back to the earlier Fallout and paying homage to a favourite past character.
© EA Games
In those heady and innocent days of early game development, Road Rash was a speedy-revelation. Launched in 1991, this racing game allowed gamers to hare around the roads of California, doing battle (quite literally) with other riders in a series of winner-takes-all illegal street races.
The Shuriken 400 was the entry level bike, fast enough to compete and relatively easy to handle. As riders mastered the terrain, and the other racers, cash prizes provided a means to upgrade to bigger, better and faster machines, including the imaginatively named Banzai Supersport and the 1000CC Diablo Viper tarmac-tearer.
In the mid-eighties, long before the sophistication of today’s consoles, gamers had to make do with traipsing to the nearest arcade and feeding machines to satisfy their need to game. Later, culture-changing consoles such as SEGA’s Megadrive brought games into our living-rooms. And in those ground-breaking days, Alex the Kidd was SEGA’s most popular character and their mascot.
His most prized possession was the Sukopako motorcycle which players could buy to help them navigate the levels quickly and reach secret areas. It became Alex’s signature mode of transport and featured in his many adventures and spin-off games, yet there was one obvious drawback – one hit from an obstacle and the bike was gone. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why poor little Alex eventually lost the popularity race, and his place in SEGA’s corporate heart, to a sprightly, spiky little hedgehog called Sonic.
Before the bench-marking introduction of Sony’s PlayStation 2 console in 2000, SEGA was a major player. Early gamers might remember the SEGA Megadrive with particular fondness. This was superseded by the SEGA Saturn and then the 128-bit Dreamcast console. Sadly for SEGA, this and their console division was consigned to history’s tech-skip (right next to the Sinclair C5) following the launch of the PlayStation 2.
However, before Sony landed their industry-transforming blow, SEGA’s Dreamcast played host to what had been described as one of ‘The Greatest Video Games of All Time’ – Shenmue.
The game contained unprecedented levels of detail, including day and night scenarios, changeable weather and non-play characters with a life of their own; this was an entirely new level of game immersion for players. Lead character Ryo Hazuki had access to a cool chopper bike which, despite the lack of official confirmation, many gamers believe is based on Yamaha’s Virago, or maybe even a classic Harley Davidson?
Interestingly, after a crowdfunding campaign raised over $6 million, creator Yu Suzuki is working on Shenmue 3 – due for launch in December 2017.
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