Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Speed Kings is like "Need For Speed" on bikes meets "Burnout" with a dash of "Road Rash," and seriously, what's not to like about that match made in heaven?
  2. It’s not the most serious motorcycle racing game available and it might not even be the prettiest, but for pure arcade racing goodness mixed with a clever trick system, competitive racing challenge, unique track designs, and overall fun gameplay, Speed Kings fits a unique niche.
  3. There’s a timer in races and you have to meet all the checkpoints in time so you don’t retire early. This gets quite frustrating whenever you don’t get there in time, and the whole timer aspect shouldn’t belong in motorcycle racing games period.
  4. Even though Speed Kings doesn't stray very far from the "Burnout 2" formula, it's a solid racer that does a great job of conveying an insanely fast sense of speed and requires you to think and react in an instant.
  5. A true love-it-or-hate-it game; try before you buy. [Aug 2003, p.77]
  6. The tricks are nice, but executing them is also uneven. I wouldn't say this title isn't fun, but "Burnout 2" is simply a better experience in almost every way. [July 2003, p.117]
  7. From the balance between crashes and near misses to the graphical detail and track progression, Speed Kings always trails Burnout 2. If you’re a bike fanatic then Speed Kings is the game for you. Everyone else should stick with Acclaim’s other arcade racer.
  8. The bungled trick feature is really a disappointment, because the action-packed moto-racer hiding in Speed Kings would have been a fine thing on its own.
  9. 60
    The game still has some rewardingly thrilling and violent moments and a superb sense of speed. The drawback is that less hardcore players are doomed to keep coming back to some frustrating cycles of trick-induced wipeouts.
  10. With bland graphics, unremarkable sound, and a too-fake feel for the high-speed bikes, it just doesn't come close to THQ's two-wheel racer - which now than ever is the real Xbox speed king. [Sept 2003, p.81]
  11. Garish yet technically strong, the look fits the play style - thin yet fun. [July 2003, p.78]
  12. 55
    There's nothing that Speed Kings does that "Burnout 2" doesn't smoke right off the line in every way possible. Physics, speed, track design, opponent AI, handling, graphics, audio -- Speed Kings really offers much, much less for your money.
  13. A passable motorcycle racer with decent track design, a solid framerate and a healthy sense of speed. But it's hard to recommend when it coexists with the superior-in-every-way "MotoGP 2." [Aug 2003, p.85]
  14. A good racing game, with shoddy visuals, poor sounds, and a trick system that throws a wrench into the whole design.
  15. A perfect example of what happens when you try to follow inspiration yet forget to bring your own intuition and imagination.
  16. 30
    The too-twitchy controls (which aren’t laid out logically or comfortably) and easy crash deaths belie an inappropriate commitment to realism in a patently arcadey setting, while other elements simply need more polish (spotty collision detection; some tricks that aren’t “seen”).

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