Game Over Online ~ Castrol Honda Superbike 2000

GameOver Game Reviews - Castrol Honda Superbike 2000 (c) Midas Interactive Entertainment, Reviewed by - jube

Game & Publisher Castrol Honda Superbike 2000 (c) Midas Interactive Entertainment
System Requirements Pentium 166, 24MB Ram, 3D Acclerator Card
Overall Rating 69%
Date Published Saturday, July 17th, 1999 at 11:18 AM

Divider Left By: jube Divider Right

Let me admit right off, I was initially skeptical of the quality of this game after viewing the “Features” list on the official web page. Right smack at the top of a list of perhaps twenty bulleted features was the following:

Real time chrome mapping on the bikes for an incredible shiny effect.

Shortly after reading that a red warning light went off off inside my head. “Strange,” I thought to myself, “why would they place a small graphical enhancement at the top of a list of the accomplishments of the game?” After a point of pondering, and some consultation with a few other reviewers I came up with the following hypothesis:

They must be in-fucking-credible shiny effects.

Well, as it turns out the shiny effects are not as incredible or innovative as advertised. Some of you quick-witted readers may have recognized the sarcasm in the previous sentence. I use the term innovative to both mock the real time shiny effects and the description itself. Innovation, in regards to its usage of description in game reviewing, has got out of hand. I swear, loyal readers, to never again use or refer to it as a quality that is or is not present in a game. I promise. Now that’s innovative reviewing.

Speaking of broken promises, there are a few in Castrol 2000. The first, of course is the blatant lies about incredible shiny effects. I was barely able to notice entire other cycles while barreling down Laguna-Seca raceway at 160 MPH. It’s this ignorance to detail that is really the death blow for this title. Castrol 2000 doesn’t need incredible shiny effects to make it worth playing. It needs better physics and working multiplay. Like so many other recently released games (ie. NFS: High Stakes) the developers of Castrol 2000 were more concerned with minutia than the obvious flaws in gameplay and design.

Let me briefly touch on the finer aspects of this game before getting back to how un-innovative (!!) it is. The tracks in Castrol 2000 are very well done. The rendering of Monaco and Lagua-Seca are some of the best I’ve seen, hands down. They are detailed, expansive and excellent in their portrayal of the real-life counterparts. The actual bike and racer models themselves are decent, with attention to making the driver seem realistically sitting on the bike, and not glued to it like in Moto Racer.

The falling models are bad. I mean bad. Not Road Rash flipping-over-the-handle-bars-and-flying-a-quarter-mile bad, but close. After skidding face down with their legs stuck a foot into the ground the racers will awkwardly run back to their bikes and awkwardly attempt to get back onto it. This is another perfect example of something that, though done with good intentions for simulation, only hurts the feeling of realism.

Controlling the bike is not, as motorcycle racing fans are aware, a matter of turning the bike to the desired direction but of leaning a substantial portion of the racers weight towards the inside of the turn. From that point physics takes over, momentum and velocity keep you from falling over and ba-da-bing you’re running a perfect apex line. At high speeds Castrol 2000 has this whole physics bag down fine, its at slow speeds that things get a bit out of hand. It is impossible for a motorcycle to take a turn at 17MPH on a 20 degree lean. I don’t care what planet this game is supposed to take place on, its just not going to happen. Gravity is a bitch, and it will bring down a six hundred pound bike faster than you can say “incredible shiny effects.”

The only working form of multiplayer comes from the split-screen racing mode. The network-racing mode does not function over LAN properly, and no means of direct TCP/IP connection is provided. Whenever a dual platform game (PSX and PC) is released another red warning light goes off inside my head. The effort obviously not given to code proper multiplay just shows the eagerness of the publishers to port this game to PC as quickly as possible and get it onto store shelves. I have no doubt that I am not alone in my disgust for this type of business conduct.

To sum up, it is the large amount of racing tracks, semi-intelligent racer AI and official licensing are the absolute saving grace of Castrol 2000. Though very playable, Castrol 2000 does little to prove its gaming worth. The title itself tries to cash in on the overused game marketing tactic of slapping the year 2000 on the title, and calling it a sequel. Slightly improved graphics, standard sound and simple presentation keep this game from being anything but an update of its predecessor. Though it is far ahead of the Moto Racer series Castrol comes up short in many key areas.


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