Harley Davidson: The Road to Sturgis is not your usual racing game; rather it belongs to a sub-category of "driving games" where your goal is just to get to a destination. In this case, your destination is Sturgis, South Dakota, where bikers from around America are gathering for a yearly Motorcycle Rally. You have ten days to reach Sturgis with your brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle, and while you're at it you can earn some dough, improve your bike and build up some hardcore biker-cred.
The Road to Sturgis is a long one: you begin the game after telling it your cool biker name, choosing the difficulty (the more hair you select, the harder it is) and modifying your stats. You start off in front of a biker shop in Maine, where you can buy better parts for your Harley or decorative items to build up your cred. You can also buy gasoline and participate in random events, which range from slow riding with your bike to just doing a simple bouncer job. Taking part in these events (and succeeding in them) will give you money. You'll find bike shops during your travels, but don't spend too much time in these towns; after all, you only have ten days to reach Sturgis.
Riding your bike is simple and, at times, very mind-numbing. All you have to do is avoid obstacles like rocks and junk (which can also be driven over if your riding skill is high) and bigger ones like cars and road signs. You can go fast, but you risk damaging your engine as well as getting caught by the police, which could result in a speeding ticket or even some jail time. You can also pick up pretty hitchhikers, who'll surely compensate you for a lift to the next town.
And that's pretty much it. Ride from town to town and reach Sturgis in ten days, or alternatively arrive late or don't arrive at all, either because you totally trashed your bike and ran out of cash, or because you died. Overall, its like a little more interesting version of the infamous Desert Bus game (where you drive a bus to Las Vegas, and its nothing else but driving down a looooooooooooooooong road). There's a lot of detail when it comes to biking and such, but the actual driving itself can become really boring after a while, especially when all the roads look pretty much the same. Fortunately, you can save your game in towns and continue your epic bike journey when you want to, and that's probably the best way to enjoy this game.
In any case, I recommend giving this one a try, especially if you're into driving games, motorcycles, or "a different kind of simulator". And put on some classic rock while playing this, since it really enhances the biker-feeling.
I've included a readme file in the game folder (be sure to check it out - there's a lot of useful information in there), but here's a quick run-down:
Use the arrow keys to accelerate, brake, move left and right, browse through menus, and all that stuff. Ctrl is your action key, and when riding your bike, use the action key and up/down arrows to switch gears. Alt is your secondary action key, which does something depending on the event you're participating in. And, when riding, it makes you do a wheelie.
Press W to check your map (its a long way to Sturgis, isn't it?)
Press I to check your inventory, statistics and the number of days you have left.
Press B to check your bike's condition.