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I'm not a big fan of any kind of simulation (cars, planes, tanks, submarines, etc...) because you don't get the feeling of being inside. So, when I received Cyclemania, a motorcycle riding simulation, I didn't expect any major shock. Alas, I was wrong as I'm now completely addicted to the game. Cyclemania is a great success, and I'm going to tell you about.
After starting the game, a nice high-resolution graphic menu appears where you can choose between a quick race, one race or a championship. Other choices are available for loading a saved game, modifying options, and even a self running demo is included. Inside the option menu, you can select sound, music, visual effects, and configure the quick race option.
The quick race button is simply a way to play directly without having to choose a bike and a track, since it can be configured inside the option menu. When you select one race, a new menu pops up with 4 other selections. At that point, you may select: a new bike from a choice of 6; one of five courses from tree-lined back roads to mountain passes and flat desert; a new setup for your bike with different accessories that you can buy; and the race type with number of laps, grid position, skill levels and competitor agression levels.
For the championship, after the selection of your bike, you can practice if you feel you are not ready for the challenge of your life, qualify to set your grid position or you can start the race directly. You will ride on the 5 different courses included in the game and win money depending of your success.
Once you are on the road, the game takes its true dimension. The graphics are very realistic with over 400 megabytes of real road footage that give the game a stunning visual experience. (Thanks to special new video compression techniques and road-mapping algorithms combined to digitized video). If you choose an aggressive race, you will find obstacles such as police patrols, oil-slicks, planes, on-coming traffic (cars, trucks) and even cows! First, try to win the championship at the friendly level before trying out the aggressive one! In the event of a collision, you can watch a full-motion video replay of your accident. When you win the race, you are gratified by 3D rendered cinematic sequences.
After winning courses in the championship, a variety of add-ons for your bike (exhaust systems, suspensions, upgraded racing engine, tires) can be bought with the prize-money to improve your performance. The engine sounds are well done, and the music score, different for each course, is entertaining.
Accolade Europe Ltd. GRAPHICS------------------- 85% Carlton House, Carlton Drive SOUND ------------------- 80% London SW15 2TE, England. MUSIC ------------------- 80% Tel: +44-(0)181-788-0200 GAMEPLAY------------------- 90% INTEREST------------------- 75% Accolade Inc. 5300 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129, USA. OVERALL ------------------- 82% Tel: 408-985-1700 800-245-7744 BBS: 408-296-8810