Pages: 1 2
Review by: Emil Pagliarulo
Published: August 31, 1997
Your car rounds the hairpin turn at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit. Tires screeching, engine straining, the Formula 1 racer threatens to break apart under the pressure. But the machine manages to hold on, and you kick the accelerator to the floor to gain some valuable ground on the straightaway. Things start to look up — but wait! Who is that pulling up on the left? It’s Damon Hill! The closer he gets, the more you can feel victory slipping through your fingers. So, you do what any self-respecting driver would — you give him a friendly little sideswipe and send him careening into the barrier. Now it’s just you and an open track….
Okay, so maybe the above example is a little over-the-top, but it does illustrate the blood-pumping, Grand Prix racing action of Psygnosis’ Formula 1. An arcade game at heart, Formula 1 may not be the best racing simulation around, but it definitely succeeds at its goal — providing the gamer with white-knuckle racing action, and gorgeous 3D accelerated graphics.
Formula 1 offers quite a few different playing options, depending on just how detailed and realistic you want the races to be. For a little quick and easy spin around the track, the Quick Race option is the way to go. The player is given no choice of car, driver, or track — Michael Schumacher is the only racer available, and a circuit is randomly chosen by the computer. A Quick Race lasts only one round, but is a great introduction to the full game, and perfect for blowing off some steam.
For those looking for a little more depth, Formula 1 presents the gamer with 2 more modes of play: Arcade and Grand Prix. Both allow for full exploration of the game, with the obvious differences. Arcade mode greatly simplifies the physics of driving, and “extensions” are used to prolong a race if the player passes checkpoints on time. Grand Prix mode is the real deal. Cars are much tougher to handle, but can be modified before a race. The player can choose to race as one of 35 different drivers from 13 teams, and each performs based on actual 1995 Formula 1 Association statistics.
After beginning a new game and selecting a mode of play, the prospective driver is then given a choice of what type of race to engage in. A Single Race is just as the name implies — a single race against the entire field, or a one-on-one duel against another driver. A Championship allows the player to go for the gold and compete in an entire racing season, comprised of up to 17 interconnected races. Probably the most interesting, and exciting, race option available is the Ladder match. The player must finish ahead of a particular marked car. After that opponent is defeated, the match continues until hopefully one driver from each of the twelve teams is defeated.
Formula 1 can be tweaked even further, regardless of type of race or mode of play. Weather conditions, tire wear, season order, race length, and car damage can all be adjusted depending on player preference. There are just enough options to make gameplay interesting without overburdening the player.
There are 17 tracks in Formula 1, from Barcelona Spain’s Catalunya Circuit to Monza Italy’s famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza. They range in length from 3.328 kilometers (Monaco’s Monte Carlo Circuit) to 6.974 kilometers (Belgium’s Francorchamps). Each track presents the driver with its own unique challenges, and because Formula 1 is based on actual racing statistics, expect certain drivers to dominate the different tracks.
Formula 1 may not be the perfect computer game (see Interface section on the next page), but it certainly remains true to itself. It is an exciting and accurate representation of Formula 1 racing, and provides some seriously intense gameplay.
Pages: 1 2