F1 World Championship
- Manufacturer: Sega of America
- Machine: Sega CD
This is just like learning to drive for real. If you don't master all of the moves and put in a lot of time on the tracks, you're not going to win. Great introductory scenes undercut the so-so game graphics.
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- Theme: Driving
The whole title is Formula 1 World Championship 1993 Heavenly Symphony. Whew, that's a mouthful. Sega's new F-1 CD puts you right in the cockpit of a hyper race machine. There are two modes, the GP Mode in which you take on the world's best, and the '93 Mode in which all the races of the '93 season are played back with all the crashes and incidents. In the '93 Mode, the vantage points of the game change for close-ups of the spectacular crashes. There are also cool digitized clips from the real '93 racing season. This is definitely the racing game the Mega-CD has long been needing.
Taking the green flag this fall is Formula One World Championship, a strategic Sega CD game that immerses you in the racing world but lags behind in one key area -- game play.
Nuts and Bolts
All the standard features of Formula One racing games are here. Choose from 13 different race cars (such as McClarens and Fer- raris), 26 F-l drivers (including Michael Andretti), and 16 international Grand Prix tracks ranging from Monaco to Japan. You customize everything on the car from the tires to the tranny and race in a variety of weather conditions. Three modes enable you to practice, compete in a full Grand Prix season, or join a specific 1993 Grand Prix race.
- Hone your skills with practice laps at Sega Park. This track offers a good mix of turns and straightaways.
- Take notes as you customize your car for the different tracks. This strategic game really pays off for those who carefully fine- tune their cars after each race.
The strategic aspects of this game push it into the limelight. Like real-life racing, your car responds to how and where you drive it -- for instance, if you drive on the dirt too much, the car overheats. If you enjoy figuring out the right tires for the right track and tackling the challenge of finding the perfect moment to pull into the pit, then Formula One is your game.
Slow yourself by cutting across corners but don't cut too much, or you'll bounce off some immovable obstacles.
If you want intense racing, however, you won't find it behind the wheel of this car. The lack of two-player head-to-head competition deprives you of one of the best features of racing games. Touchy controls make your car too squirrelly, and you'll often struggle just to stay on the track.
Through the Visor
The graphics contribute to these problems. The cockpit view puts you so low to the ground that it's almost impossible to anticipate upcoming turns. With no onscreen map, it's hard to maintain a smooth racing line. Other graphical deficiencies include the lack of damage or spinouts, too many gauges to look at quickly during a race, tiny rearview mirrors that are virtually useless, and the standard Sega CD pixelization that pops up when you get too close to anything. At least the full-motion video before the race is good, and the set-up screens are sharp.
Follow the skid marks as you enter turns; they usually show you the best racing line.
The sounds, though, aren't sharp at all. There are no voices, and races are dominated by revving engines that obscure tire screeches and collisions. Only the hard-drivin' tunes during the video warrant your attention.
On the Grand Prix circuit, the Barcelona course has the longest straightaway, while Suzuka is one of the twistiest tracks.
Into the Pits
Formula One World Championship tries hard to recreate the racing world, and in that it mostly succeeds. But as for revving your adrenaline into high gear, this game needs a tune-up.
There's lots of good advice in this game -- follow it!
Rounding the curve into a packed field of Genesis racers comes Domark's Formula One World Championship Racing. Although it features Formula One cars and 12 international race circuits, this game doesn't bring in anything out of the ordinary
ProTip: As soon as you see the pits, slow down and move into the entry lane. You must be completely within the lane and make a complete stop, which activates the pit crew.
Nuts and Bolts
At first glance, World Championship Racing features an interesting, behind-the-wheel, first-person perspective and good forward-scrolling action. The graphics seem sharp and detailed until you actually start to race. On-screen readouts and maps are awkwardly positioned, making them hard to read at a glance. Vital speed and gear information is tiny and blurs into the background. While the actual cars, backgrounds, and forward-scrolling driving animations are well-rendered, the shortcomings of the visuals you need to race ultimately hinder your ability to compete.
The solid animation, however, delivers fine control and handling. The manual transmission offers one of the smoothest interfaces in driving games. Unfortunately, the tracks and backgrounds quickly become repetitious, and it's difficult to find the pit crew. The tracks are narrow, and passing is hard to judge.
There's not much room on these roads. Forget about passing if your opponent hogs more than half the track. Wait for a better opening.
The sound in World Championship Racing is also rather limited. A sharp opening soundtrack gives way to somewhat unrealistic, tinny effects.
- When you're going downhill, make your move and pass the pack. Only then do you have a long, clear view of the traffic ahead.
- Drive off the course to slow down without applying the brakes.
Despite its limitations, Formula One World Championship Racing is a solid racing game with plenty of good features and intentions. However, it just doesn't have what it takes to break away from the pack.
Wow, it is a very serious game! A racing simulator! The brake pedal is good even in the hard mode where the dynamics of machines is as close to the reality as possible. But in mode Easy a beginner may easily go to the finish - without releasing the gas pedal.
The game opens quite a good opportunity for training and self-improving. Three game modes, from the championship to the "knock out" races allow for one or two player participation due the competent division of the screen. However, computer contenders are so strong, that you will hardly manage to find a worthy replacement among your friends.