Pro Cycling Manager is not just a sport management simulation. It offers a truly unique experience at the heart of the wonderful sport of cycling, faithfully reproducing the intensity of a magnificent cycling season. In the management section of the game the player takes on the day-to-day role of the manager of a professional cycling team, looking after contracts, transfers, sponsors, training, ....
During the numerous 3D real-time race sequences the player must micro-manage team tactics and control the actions of each individual rider, looking after energy levels, feeding, placing attacks at the right moment, protecting a team leader, sprinting for the line,..... While all the time keeping an eye on what the competition is up to. In this way the player will learn all the ins and outs of cycling tactics and, hopefully, place his team on the top rungs of the cycling's hierarchy.
Pro Cycling Manager - Season 2006 allows players to take part in all the major international cycling races at the head of a professional cycling team. In this year's edition, such well-known teams as T-Mobile go towards making up a sizeable peloton of 50 professional teams. Moreover, for the first time Pro Cycling Manager bears the prestigious Tour de France label, meaning that gamers can compete for the much sought after yellow, green and polka dot jerseys (whose capture is often seen as the sign of a successful season for a top team). In all Pro Cycling Manager offers 160 races (tours, classics, regional races,....) for a total of 465 real-time, playable stages.
In 3D real-time mode Cyanide has made significant strides to further increase player immersion. Countrysides and decors are richer, more detailed and varied. Spectators run along side riders, encouraging them, and the crowd spreads apart as the riders struggle up mountain climbs. New cameras have been introduced (motorcycle, helicopter, finishing line, ...) and race highlights are shown in slow motion from a variety of angles when all riders have crossed the line. In Pro Cycling Manager - Season 2006 the gamer is literally in the thick of the action, wheel to wheel with the other riders in the peloton.
From a gameplay viewpoint, the much vaunted AI governing the behaviour of opponents during a race, is even more formidable. Especially in the management of stage races. Opponents now create new strategies depending on how they are placed on the overall table. A good climber, well behind on the leader board, can attempt a long distance breakaway so as to gain the maximum number of points towards the king of the mountain jersey. Overall, the game's AI is far more realistic and effective as it takes into accounts more parameters, such as the various in-race rankings, the status of riders, their specialities,...
It will also be possible that during breakaways, riders will demand that each plays his part in relaying. Failure to do so on the part of a rider will see the others doing their best to lose him.
The management side of the game keeps very much the same look and feel as previous versions, although the manager must now be continually on the alert to react to day-to-day events. This means that, in addition to the usual management of contracts, riders, training camps, equipment,... the manager must now handle the media, who are always on the look-out for a story. The player must handle questions with the press latching on to every event. However, the manager's answer will impact on a rider's morale or that of the team. It may also affect the confidence level of sponsors. As in real life, sponsors are key to the sport and the goals that they set at the start of a season must be fulfilled. These goals depend on the level of a team as well as its nationality, but if a manager wants to keep his job he cannot lose sight of his objectives. Failure to achieve goals, as well as bad financial management, will result in the manager getting the sack. Success will enable the manager to negotiate a bigger budget for the coming year(s). For certain sponsors, getting good results in the major tours or classics is a sine qua non condition of a successful season. For others it is just the icing on the cake. Whichever it is, success breeds sponsor confidence.
The training system has been fully reworked, making it both more realistic and easier to handle. The player must find a balance between training and warm-up races. Rotation of riders is also important so that team leaders are saved for the big events in the cycling calendar.
It is rare now that a gamer plays alone. Games have entered a new dimension thanks to multiplayer modes. Pro Cycling Manager has been multiplayer for several years and its on-line ladder system is a hotly disputed ranking system. Players from across the world can compete against each other on Cyanide's GameCenter and then be ranked in real-time.
Three modes of play are available :
* Race mode : a one-off stage or race.
* Tour mode : races that comprise several stages, with objectives and rider effort levels coming into play.
* Season mode : this mode is destined for those who enjoy playing in groups or leagues. Players don't have to worry about raining or team finances. They score points depending on race results across the season.
For this new version of Pro Cycling Manager the GameCenter server has been fitted with a module that keeps an eye on those hosting a game. If a host regularly quits games he has organised he will be given a bad rating on the server.
* Take part in the biggest competitions in the international race calendar, with the high point being a faithful 3D rendering of the Tour de France, with all its stages, jerseys and rankings.
* More than 1200 riders, 160 races (tours, classics, one day and stage races) for a total of 465 races (compared to 250 in 2005).
* Management of a career over several seasons with routes of the major tours changing from season to season.
* 465 races playable in real-time for the 2006 season with another 280 for future years.
* Manage the top teams in the world of cycling. 50 teams are available, including T-Mobile, Rabobank, Quickstep, Cofidis,…
* New tutorial mode that allows players to understand both the basics of the game as well as cycling tactics.
* More realistic opponent AI. Riders adapt race strategies depending on their position on the overall table as well as on rider status.
* Individual and team time-trial gameplay made easier (without losing the tactical nuances).
* See race highlights once the finishing line has been reached and save a whole race so that exploits can be shared with friends.
* 3D stage editor to design custom stages.
* Playable in solo or multiplayer modes (up to 20 players) with single race mode, tour mode and season mode.
* Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP
* 800MHz processor
* 256Mb of RAM
* 32Mb DirectX (Ver. 9.0c or above) compatible 3D video card with TnL support (NVIDIA GeForce / ATI Radeon 7200 or above)
* 1.2Gb of available disk space
* DirectX compatible sound card
* Mouse or similar pointing device