Superbike World Championship
You've just spent two hours negotiating bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. What better way to unwind than to pop in EA Sports' newest game, Superbike World Championship, and rev that motor up to 185 mph? You can sit atop five of the finest street racing bikes in the world and test your cajones on 12 tough and demanding courses.
EA Sports is famous for its great sports games, and this one is certainly no different. They have managed to package up all the thrills, spills, and chills of competitive street bike racing into a monster game. All you multiplayer people out there won't be disappointed either, because you can hook up with your buddies and see who the real man or woman is. One thing that stands out about Superbike is the fact that each course takes time to learn and master. Some racing games out there can be mastered after a couple of heavy racing sessions, but not this one -- plus you have the option of racing an entire season, so there is definitely tons of meat on this sandwich.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Superbike picks you up by the head and slams you down onto your motorcycle seat with great force. You find yourself leaning into corners, swaying in your seat when you go through S curves, and crouching forward when you have the throttle cranked. One thing I must note is that I used a joystick to review this game. I can't imagine the same racing experience if had used the keyboard commands; the joystick just lets you hang it out there and race. I also noticed that I tended to ride differently depending on the situation and the atmosphere. During qualifying rounds I tended to approach the track less aggressively and I was more relaxed, but come race time, my heart was pumping, my hands were sweaty, and the old mouth was dry as a bone. This game also caters to the tinkering kind of guy because of all the modifications you can perform on your bike, in regards to your transmission, tires, springs, and gear ratios.
I would really like to applaud EA Sports on the practice option in the game. The idea of placing hoops in sections of the track to help you learn how to approach tight turns and curves was brilliant. It helped me understand how to hold a lean when going into long turns and when to cut sharp for tight corners. I also appreciated having the red hoop as a guide to slow down when approaching corners.
When you're going 185 mph it is pretty hard to stop and take a look at all the beautiful surroundings, but for you, gentle reader, I have. I'm putting the EA graphics guys on my Christmas list for this year, because these graphics are just toooo sweeeeeet. Each track is a masterpiece of its own; some have lots of trees with sweeping curves, while others have that Sahara feel to them with climbing hills. The graphics for each motorcycle and rider are awesome too -- while racing on the track you can actually see your shadow and the shadow of the tire spokes spinning. Another high point of the graphics is the video replay. After racing on the track, you can view the race from any of the racers' points of view and switch between five or six camera views. One thing I'm concerned about, though, is how well the game runs with a 2D video card. I was fortunate enough to have a great 3D video card with a 233 MHz Pentium II, but I'm not sure how much fun the game would be without a good video card or a slower Pentium chip.
When I do any type of hardcore racing I never like to listen to music; I find that it distracts the heck out of me. So the first thing I did in the option screen was to turn off the music. Some people might like to listen to it, so it is definitely user's choice here. The bike sounds come out really clear and distinct for each different motorcycle. Gear shifting noises are handled well, while the tire screeching makes you tense up a little. I usually find myself soooo intense during a race that I hardly hear anything, but if audio is a big deal to you, you should be pretty happy with the effort made here.
Windows 95/98, 166MHz Pentium, 144 MB free hard disk space, 32 MB RAM, 2D DirectX6 video card, 4X CD-ROM drive
Highly Recommended: 233MHz Pentium, 8X CD-ROM drive or faster, 3D graphics card, and last but not least a joystick.
This is an easy bottom line for me! I have had this game for two weeks now, and not once has it left my CD-ROM drive. I'm always trying to improve that lap time by a few hundredths of a second, or trying to lean into the corners better at the course at Monza. My wife has yelled at me for not mowing the lawn and I think my cat died from starvation, so yes, I definitely recommend going out and adding this game to your racing collection. On that note I give EA Sports' -_Superbike World Championship _an 89 out of 100, so dust off that joystick and I'll see you on the track.