Top Gear

A racing sim for free-wheeling enthusiasts.

Deep within the inner realms of a gamer's consciousness lies the insatiable need for an adrenaline rush...and with a target audience like this, it's no wonder that every racing sim in the market promises you the goods on the proverbial silver platter.

"Superbike World Championship" is no different.

From the guys who brought you "NASCAR 2000", this game's versatility makes itself known immediately, and the intelligent interface is enough to make you regret you ever doubted it. Kicking things into gear, you have to decide whether you want an action or a simulation experience. The former is a realistic taste of the track and puts you right at the cutting edge of competitive racing, while the latter helps you practice before making a fool of yourself.

You can also choose between a quick competitive race and a multiplayer adrenaline nightmare; this last is a pretty brutal shock for the unassuming gamer, and adequate practice is needed to save you many trips to the pit. Pit stops are wholly unavoidable and can keep your machine humming, so long as you update the transmission and check the suspension within well-spaced intervals.

After the initial control stages, you're given an opportunity to select a bike that befits your status (choose between the Kawasaki, the Suzuki, the Honda or the Ducati), each one with its own pros and cons. Selecting a track that adequately suits your skill is equally tricky and requires a certain amount of trial and error. Usually, the sidebar diagram helps you visualize the turns and bends in the various tracks, ranging from the Philippine Islands to Donnington Stadium.

In the beginning, your lack of control could have you biting into the furniture and spitting at the screen. However, several wise choices and timely adjustments later, you may find yourself hooked on the game indefinitely. The longer you play, the more addictive the simulation becomes, and you soon tend to master the skills that forsook you at the beginning. The graphics engine is unquestionably superlative and the sound of your bike forms a smooth undertone to your performance on screen.

All in all, "Superbike World Championship" offers you the opportunity to experience the heady rush of powerful bikes, grab the prizes, breathe the air of the stadia, and ride into the sunset with minimal tyre damage. Worth checking out!

This article was first published on02 Apr 2001.