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Microprose GP500

Rating: 9.5/10

This is Undoubtedly the best motorcycling "simulation" ever to appear on the PC, and I've played a few. Castrol Honda was good, Castrol Honda 2000 was better and EA's Superbike World Championship was great, but GP500 is simply phenomenal.

GP500 features all official tracks, riders and teams from the 500cc Grand Prix circuit. The game incorporates native 3dfx Glide 2 and 3 support and full Direct3D support for Voodoo 1, 2, 3, Rush and Banshee [ Gotta admire that 3dfx support ].

The graphics in this game are just amazing. I played it in 1024x768 using a Voodoo3 2000 with 24 opponents and it absolutely flew. From the reflections off the bike's fairings and the rotation of the rear sprocket, to the dust kicked up when ditching the bike or running wide on a corner, this games graphics are down right awe inspiring.

Not to be sold on just eye candy alone, this game also features some of the best AI and handling of any bike sim I've played. You can choose from Single Race, Championship, Time Trial or Multiplayer in either Arcade or Simulation modes. There is assistance available for gears, braking, leaning and opposition strength so you can really configure the game to suit your ability. One feature that really impressed me was that you can select to use front and rear brakes seperately, making the game even more challenging, not to mention fun when taking corners sideways after applying a decent amount of rear brakes. Popping wheelies is a snap and depending on how you set up the bike's engine, gearing, suspension and tires can be a regular occurance or an occasional one.

There are 6 views to choose from when playing:

1. Distant 3rd person
2. Close 3rd person
3. Fixed Dash
4. Dash with Camera mounted in helmet (My preferred view)
5. Headlight
6. TV Camera (Great to look at, not practical for racing)

Controlling the bike is a breeze and the leaning is very fluid (not jerky like some other bike sims I've played). Keeping the bike on the track however will require considerable attention to racing line, braking, and where to apply the power when exiting a corner. Apply the power too early and you'll really feel the rear end squirm and drift and if you're not careful will undoubtably result in you running wide or, worse, high siding the bike. Fans of Arcade bike racing games will not get away with just backing off the gas and hoping to make it around a bend. Braking distances are shorter when playing in arcade mode compared to simulation mode but still require the rider to keep his wits about him.

As with most racing games these days, GP500 implements a nice, easy to use replay function. Difference is, when watching a replay of a hot lap, race or Biaggi type wheelie you'll have to remind yourself you're watching a replay of a game not the real thing.

So in summary, if you're lover of motorcycle sims or just want the best of the genre "at present" then you can't go past Microprose GP500.

By Dwayne S.

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