Possibly the best (and maybe only) cycling management simulation ever made, Super Tour 3 is a very comprehensive and feature-rich freeware sport simulation for Windows 95 and above. Coded entirely by one designer, the game is the latest release in the Super Tour series that dates back to 1996. You control either one rider in an individual time trial (ITT) competition, or the whole team in a team time trial (TTT) competition. Up to 22 teams with nine riders each can compete in three of the world’s most prestigious tournaments: Vuelta a Espana, Giro d'Italia, and Tour de France. If you prefer, you can also create your own personalized teams and seasons, complete with transfer market and qualification rounds. |
Your goal in the races is, of course, to be the first rider (or team) to reach the finish line. But in contrast to a typical cycling game like Motocross where you need only good reflexes to win, Super Tours 3 is a true sport management sim that requires good strategies that best suit the situation. As in real cycling races, you can gain points for reaching certain mountain passes, as well as for regularity. Since time trial stages of ITT are scored differently from TTT, the orders you can give your riders are also different. Typical orders range from attack (i.e. break away from the team at increasing speed), fall behind, pursue a specific rider, carry another team member (i.e. ride in front of them), or lead the group in an attempt to change the team’s rhythm. The riders also have an A.I. that will sometimes disobey your orders for a variety of reasons: either being exhausted, or the order making no sense.
As in in real life, striking a balance between speed and energy is key to success. Thanks to the game’s handy interface, it is easy to monitor your riders’ status: a horizontal bar shows the energy level, a heart icon shows the pulse, a test tube the hydration. If you don’t plan your strategy well, the rider will be so exhausted he will retire from the race completely.
The game looks pleasant in SVGA resolution, with good details of the different teams and background scenery – which is all the more amazing considering this is all coded by one man, and is a freeware game. The computer opponents are quite competitive and challenging, requiring you to be on your toes at all times. The strategy component of the game is considerable, because each new stage requires a different strategy from the last, due to different route, terrain, wind, etc.
Overall, Super Tour 3 packs enough gameplay value to entertain any cycling fan for a long time. It's good enough to qualify as a commercial game, so it’s a big bonus that the designer released it free of charge. Two thumbs up, way up.
Reviewed by: Underdogs