Review by: Scott Steinberg
Published: December 9, 1999
Highly detailed vehicular simulations may lack the widespread appeal of their less realistic compatriots, but as titles such as Microsoft’s CART Precision Racing prove, there’s still a market for them. Aside from a few offerings such as Ubi Soft’s brilliant Monaco Grand Prix, until now this type of game has for the most part been the exclusive property of the PC platform. With the release of the immensely powerful Dreamcast console, however, opportunities have been created for developers to step in and set the record straight. And who better than Sega themselves to take the first, brave strides toward filling such a void in the marketplace with the release of their latest title, Flag to Flag.
Aiming to protect their interests in the mass market, Sega offers us the option of playing Flag to Flag as either an arcade style racer or detailed simulation. Those looking for a quick romp will likely choose the arcade mode, which offers high-speed antics with little in the way of realism to cramp their style. Velocity is the name of the game here, so you’ll be thankful that any worries about wear and tear have been eliminated using this play option. If instead you opt for the simulation mode, expect to micro-manage details such as equipping your vehicle, making efficient use of your gas supply and watching out for the effects of damage. Be forewarned: The two experiences have been specifically tailored to suit casual gamers and simulation enthusiasts, so you’d do well to know which side of the fence you’re sitting on before making this selection.
While the development team was laying the finishing touches on the gameplay, it’s obvious that the suits were working overtime as well to add some flair. Not only has Flag to Flag been fully licensed by CART and all the drivers and teams that come along with it, it’s also bursting with corporate sponsorship. Big names adorn every facet of the presentation, whether they are Rahal’s or Andretti’s teams or corporations such as Toyota, Coca-Cola and Firestone. Suffice it to say that if you’re familiar with the sport in any way whatsoever, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail.
As far as options go, get ready to be loaded down, because you’re able to modify just about any imaginable setting, including the race options and the car itself. A mere sprinkling of the touches that can be made to the vehicle itself include adjustments to the suspension, transmission, tire compounds and fuel. Still more settings can be manipulated to change variables such as vehicle damage, signs, the race length and weather conditions. From this standpoint, things might seem a bit bleak as there appears to be a great burden of little details to be managed by the player, but rest assured that from here on out, the only thing that matters is the race itself.