Every time theres a major sporting event taking place, its likely theres a video game based on it in the pipeline. Well, to coincide with the 2002 Tour de France, Konami has released the Xbox version of the video game version.
Le Tour de France showcases both the skill and endurance needed to succeed in the quest to secure the Maillot Jaune the yellow jersey awarded to the winner of each stage - and truly conveys the stamina needed to complete the gruelling competition. The official game of the world-famous event, Konamis virtual bicycle effort adheres to all the rules, whilst faithfully recreating the many towns and locations the racers pass en route.
This level of detail also extends to the gameplay. Players can opt to participate in training sessions, short arcade races or the long haul of the actual Tour. In this mode, the players begin the tournament as a novice competitor, gradually building their pace and strength via local training sessions and races in preparation for the main event. As players finish first in these trials, points are awarded that allow them to upgrade their bike or even transfer to a more dominant racing team.
Naturally, as the worlds most powerful console, the Xbox's PC-like hardware offers the best in visuals, though the improvements over the PS2 version are minor. But it is a little more polished, and as a whole, the improvements are noticeable.
Tour de France also offers a strong strategy element. Players must ensure their rider is kept refreshed with drinks during a race, and they must also master using bursts of speed and freewheeling rests. The endurance of the player is marked via a bar shown in the corner of the screen, and pushing the rider too hard will see a noticeable reduction in speed until the bar is replenished. Use the terrain to your advantage in order to maintain stamina.
With a complete listing of official teams, bikes, unpredictable weather conditions and fully customisable cyclists, Tour de France is the definitive cycling simulator.