Castrol Honda Superbike World Champions

6_1The focus of Superbike Champions is the Honda RC45, a fast and agile racing bike. Unlike more hardcore sims, Superbike Champions eases you into the game with some key features. Braking assistance will gently slow you down as you approach curves, and the steering assistance will practically drive the course for you. Another nice feature is the camera system. On some of the tighter curves in the city courses, the camera actually switches to an overhead view of the turn you’re about to take. It’s disorienting at first, but it’s a major help once you get used to it.

The racing environments range from the Grecian Porto Korinthos track to Honda’s own test facilities in Japan. As expected, the game contains a suitable amount of tweakability for the grease-monkey crowd, and offers the player full control over tire settings and gearshift ratios. Graphically, the tracks are standard Direct3D fare with nice detail and effects, and the scenery pop-in isn’t too distracting (as long as you keep the fog turned on).

As nicely as the bikes handle on the road, there are still a few arcade elements that intrude on the action. The collision detection is poor, and tapping another rider results in your bike careening off on a 45-degree angle. Crashes are also unspectacular. Your bike simply tips over and skids for a few feet, rider still attached.

If you accidentally veer off the track into the grass, your bike automatically slows down instead of giving you the bumpy ride you deserve. This is a serious problem, because portions of the track occasionally blend into the side of the road, and although it looks like you’re driving on pavement, you’ll be moving like a slug. Getting back on the tarmac is also too difficult. Another major downer is that there’s only one bike model to drive in this game, the RC45, and the gameplay quickly becomes repetitive after the fifth or so race.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Win95

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