Windows - 2000
Description of Superbike 2001
Unlike some of the EA Sports franchises, Superbike has always received a warm reception here at Games Domain. It's odd that more bike games aren't being made, especially in the light of the World Superbike series' popularity in the UK (the Brands Hatch round had the highest attendance of any single UK sporting event last year) - perhaps their rarity is reason enough for welcoming another to the stable.
In true EA Sports style, Superbike 2001 is an update to last year's Superbike 2000. The developers have added the new machines for this season - Honda's new all-conquering VTR1000SP, complete with ram air duct that could swallow a bunny, and the Suzuki-engined Bimota SB8R. While SBK2000 was already graphically strong, the update adds effects like smoking tyres and flying bike debris, and weather effects have also been improved. This year's new tracks, Oscherslebe in Germany, Imola in Italy and Valencia in Spain are also included.
Superbike has always trod the line between being a simulation and an arcade game. In fact, it is highly questionable whether any proper simulation of motorcycle riding is ever possible - it's probably more comparable to an athletics event than driving a car, in that the rider's whole body is involved in the sport rather than just hands and feet. And it would probably just confuse everybody - a physically-correct sim would require players to steer the wrong way round corners, something which is hard enough to get to grips with using handlebars, let alone a joystick.
At first glance, nonetheless, SBK2001 is tremendously appealing. Only the lame commentary (seemingly unchanged from the previous episode) prevents it from being better than watching the races on TV. All the bike models are excellently realised and well-detailed, and the riders are realistically motion-captured. Though it's a shame the cornering styles of each individual aren't modeled, they still move about the bikes most convincingly.
For the record, they also fall off the bikes most convincingly - causing more than a few winces in the office as we watched the virtual carnage. And the replay option covers the whole race, from a variety of camera angles, so you can bore your friends with your saved clips.
Multiplayer options are varied, including LAN, Internet and split-screen two-player, sadly missed in many PC games these days. If you've got a few mates who are into bikes, you'll have lots of fun emulating your heroes when it's too wet to go do the real thing.
Each circuit is instantly recognisable, although it seems the developers have re-used the some of the old designs for Donington - it's had some remodeling this year, and although its track layout is unchanged, some scenery is wrong. There's also a concerning lack of spectators on many of the tracks - have the artists ever been to a bike race? People don't just watch from the stands, you know.
That said, the atmosphere is helped out by some good sound. Although the commentary is no more than a token effort, a good set of speakers and a sub will capture both the characteristic Ducati rumble and the screaming racket of the four-cylinder machines beautifully.
The handling model is impressive, though, and on the hardest difficulty level the bikes are convincingly difficult to keep right-way-up. Smoothness is the key to success - opening the throttle too wide mid-corner will, at last, result in the airborne high-side antics SBK2000 lacked. About the only unrealistic elements to be found here are that the bikes seem a little too eager to drop into a corner under braking, and the front end is perhaps too liable to tuck under when changing direction quickly in a chicane. But in doing this you'll discover the damage model remains disappointingly unchanged. Although tyres lose grip progressively through the race, crash damage accumulates gradually and isn't visualised in any way - crash too many times and you're out, that's it.
The new training mode, which talks the new player through each corner of each circuit, is interesting enough, but one has to wonder how much use this information is going to be to the inexperienced. There's no information on bike control, or tyre preservation, or how to cope with wet races - all of which are potential stumbling points for beginners. Making life more difficult, some handling aspects are over-simplified on lower difficulty levels - which makes the jump to realistic settings rather jarring. But the new bar at the bottom of the screen showing your speed compared with the ideal for the corner you're on works well, and will make life easier for many.
So it's a shame that a lack of attention to detail lets Superbike 2001 down. Although to a cursory inspection all looks well and good, it just cries out for a few minor improvements that would lift it above the ordinary. The pre-race scenes with the "brolly dollies" shading the riders on the grid are excellent, so why not include the post-race celebratory wheelies and burnouts? Why are downed riders not run over by other bikes, just knocked down the track repeatedly? Where are the track-side marshals? (They're there, but usually hiding behind scenery.) In this respect, SBK2001 is way behind the atmosphere-drenched detail-fest that was GP3.
A little more effort on the finer points of bike racing would have paid off for SBK2001. Although it's a competent package, and a worthwhile purchase for those who missed the previous EA Sports' offering and don't fancy the more in-depth GP500, in the light of other racing games it's left a bit lacklustre. Perhaps EA will spend a little more time on the next Superbike game, but bearing in mind its other sports titles, it seems unlikely. Shame.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
PLAYER 2020-12-06 0 point
Hay, this game really works on Windows XP. I had installed the (unofficial patch) from one person on Youtube and used the cd number from an older comment here.
Chris Schönfeld 2020-07-10 1 point
All Ok, and Thank you MYabandonware
Chris Schönfeld 2020-07-10 -1 point
Steve Ballmer says, that this Game will never work on XP. I write with him on Facebook.
syahmifadzli 2020-06-23 0 point
i can install on my pc but when on race it become lagging. anyone can help me ? im on windows 10
sbkfanatic 2020-05-02 0 point
I get a Primary surface creation error when starting a race and game crashes. I have tried all compatibility modes as well as dgVoodoo2 wrapper as well. I am on Windows 10.
Jollyno 2020-05-02 1 point
It works with windows 10, propertiesWin98-Me compatibility mode.
The crack works properly.
It is a good job. Sorry for all of these people complaining. Thank you.
Fredo 2019-06-11 -2 points
I can not install the game. At the time of instalation he said: Dirext X not found ... How can I do?
Puroo 2019-05-16 -3 points
Did you seriously upload this without even cracking it? What are we supposed to do with an installer which is asking for our EA code (or whatever it's called)?
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