Motorbike games are a funny old lot. Portraying what is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world, they somehow always end up coming a poor second to the cream of four-wheeled driving games available for the PC. Last year saw the emergence of games such as Castrol Honda Superbike 2000 and Superbike 2000's predecessor, Superbike World Championship, with the latter being the closest yet to a truly realistic and entertaining PC representation of the sport. But like a bottle of cheap champagne, this type of game soon seems to lose its sparkle, leaving behind a bland aftertaste. In Superbike 2000, EA is seeking to redress the balance and create the Bollinger of bike sims.
Developed by Milan-based Milestone, Superbike 2000 boasts the official licence to the 1999 SBK Superbike World Championship, with statistics, riders, bikes and teams all accurately reproduced. High profile teams Ducatti, Honda, Aprilia, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki will be available and can be raced over a selection of 13 real-to-life tracks, including Hockenheim and Monza. Conditions on these are influenced by varying weather settings, while the bikes can be tuned with regard to chassis, gearing and suspension. All bikes and their surroundings will be subject to accurate representations of physics, hopefully meaning realistic slipstreaming, wheel spins and handling. This means that it's not really a game for arcade freaks, although if you're a beginner S2000 offers five pre-set levels of guidance, helping with braking, speed and acceleration.
To round off the whole biking experience, the game will feature high-end 3D graphics covered by multi-angled cameras, sampled sounds and TV-style presentation, with commentary from Sky Sports' Keith Huewen.
Superbike 2000 will also boast several modes of play. Single-player mode will offer a full Championship, race weekend (with practice, qualifying, superpole and two races) and a single race. You'll be able to race against up to 24 computer opponents simultaneously. The multiplayer side has been improved since the last game, and looks set to be one of the most exciting features, allowing split-screen action, LAN and, best of all, Internet play, bringing in the unpredictability of other human players. Milestone has realised the importance of Internet gameplay, an option that gives the game a dimension lacking in the previous version. We haven't had a chance to check the Internet coding, but if it works well this could be the missing piece to the biking jigsaw.
The folk at Milestone have a hard task ahead of them, but having made the leading game in the genre (SWC) last year, they have every chance of coming up with a winner. Much depends on how well the sound and graphics (early in-game shots look a little blocky) can reproduce the exhilaration of high-speed racing on two wheels, along with the intelligence of the other bikers. If they can get these parts right, then Superbike 2000 could be the toast of the genre.
Download Superbike 2000
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Superbike 2000 Screenshots and Media
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