SMP Creations’ “Bolton Hill” marks the 2nd track constructed specifically for RnRs in what will ultimately be a 4-track series. If you read the review I did on Maple Grove, then you're already aware it was the first of the four to be completed. Given the fact that this is a 4-part series I suppose one could potentially assume all the tracks will be somewhat similar in style and makeup. Here’s Copey’s suggestion: simply download both tracks and try them for yourself. In my opinion they’re about as similar as the stock tracks “Excavation” & “The Heights”. Hehe if that analogy doesn’t dispel any notion that the likeness between Maple and Bolton are basically nonexistent, I don’t know what will!
In the review I did on “Maple Grove”, I referred to it as a “intermediate” level RnR track. In contrast, “Bolton Hill” is without question one for the pros. The course is a bit more complex to drive compared to Maple, but what really distinguishes this track from “most” other RnR tracks lies in the area of blocking. The way I see it, racers have options…lots of them in most areas. In spots where the options are limited, there’s plenty of room available to fake an opponent out of their Goodyear tires!
But wait – there’s more! One of the nice features on Bolton Hill that I’ve yet to see on any other track (not saying it doesn’t exist; just that I’ve never seen it) is a dual spiral that culminates in a jump heading back toward the start line. Racers can go left or right at the split leading to the spirals, and upon reaching the jump-off point, they can stay conservative and go straight across or direct their vehicle hard to the left or right in an attempt to evade a blocker.
Counterbalancing all the nifty perks afforded to racers is a built in short for blockers designed to allow for a rather expedient transition from one side of the track to the other. I assure you, if you opt to be a truck basher, you’ll appreciate that road. Mostly what makes this particular track challenging is learning where to go in order to attempt an effective block, and then pulling it off with some measure of effectiveness. Personally, I think two of the easiest spots for blocking are the entry way into the dual spiral, and the corner that rounds into checkpoint 1. That’s not to say there aren’t others, because there are; several, in fact. Remember, however – being in place is one thing; pulling off the block is quite another.
Hehe hopefully I’m not scaring people away. The fact of the matter is this track represents a significant challenge to blockers. Why? Mostly because it requires very good driving skills, and you have to actually think about where you <u>should</u> go next. That last characteristic really sets Bolton Hill apart from all the other rnr tracks I’ve seen out here, and that’s primarily due to the sheer size of the track. I’d go so far to say that if you can block well against good RnR racers on Bolton Hill, then you would definitely strike fear in the hearts of racers on any track.
This wasn’t the easiest of projects for SMP Creations to pull off. It just wasn’t clicking visually, and according to them, it needed “something” to bring it out. That’s where beta testing really comes into play, but more specifically, Phineus. I know he hates it when I do this, but hey – he’s just gonna have to s-u-c-k it up (lol). Due in large part to his input, SMP Creations was able to effect some very nice changes to Bolton Hill, vastly improving its aesthetic appeal. I won’t go into details because frankly I’m not too sure where Phineus’s input began and ended, and I’d hate to give him credit for something he didn’t do. Hehe it’s bad enough I have to listen to Mmouse™ talk about how great he is, so I sure don’t want to give off the impression to the MTM 2 community that he’s some superhero-like guy (with tights/cape) who stands atop of Traxx, waiting for someone to make a mistake so he can swoop down and fix it. Besides, I don’t think he even owns a decent set of tights, let alone a cape!
Ok back to business here (before I get fired). Bolton Hill went thru the most amazing metamorphosis I’ve seen in some time. It started out as a completely different track; fun, but not very impressive visually and nothing that really stood out with respect to the course layout and flow. Because of SMP Creations’ dogged determination, coupled “the Phineus touch”, and the incredible staff of beta testers, it turned out to be quite impressive. Bare in mind, however, this is an RnR track first and foremost, thus you won’t find an abundance of eye-candy lying around. Wide-open terrain with minimal obstruction is extremely important where RnR style tracks are concerned to allow blockers free-reign throughout.
What’s understated is how well this track doubles as a traditional racetrack. It flows really well, has ample room for passing, a subtle little shortcut with just a touch of risk associated with it, and a very nice drop off after checkpoint 4 for those who need to log some airtime. If two racers happen to enter the split leading to the dual spiral simultaneously, the racer with better cornering technique will definitely have a slight edge
So how did this one do in the “Copey Rating” system, you ask? I gave it a well-deserved <u>9
</u>. Some may have to acquire a taste for it in order to appreciate how great an RnR track it is, but once you’ve figured it out, I’m positive you’ll love it! Racers will take to it right away – it’s a no-brainer. It’s got great speed, as well as areas that require a little concentration and control. The only other thing I can say about Bolton Hill is “what’s not to like?”
Hats off to SMP Creations! Without a doubt this is THE
hottest track-making tandem around!! Ok so they’re the ONLY track-making tandem around; they’d still be the best…if there were others, I mean (I think). Hehehe excellent work, fellas – excellent!!
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 06-08-2002).]