F1 World Grand Prix
With the Grand Prix season now a constant blight on m/'s schedules, Eidos have thrown their helmet into the ring with this advanced simulation of... last year's action. This is an anomaly that seems to only affect Grand Prix games and, as has been mentioned before, the long-awaited GP3 is a further year behind, being based around the 1998 season. With F1 2000 bang up to date, what this means is that the devout Grand Prix fan (with more money than sense) will soon be able to play the last three seasons in chronological order. Obviously, you'd have to be sick in the head to do this, but if you're not arsed about the latest teams and tracks, F1 World Grand Prix is a perfectly good simulation. In fact the game incorporates data from last year's season to determine how competitiveness the respective teams are, although this can be randomised if desired.
Graphically, FIWGPmay lack the almost perverse authenticity of Geoff Crammond's GP titles, but at 200mph you're hardly going to notice if a piece of brickwork is the wrong shade. F1 is more about handling, and the F1W GP cars move in a particularly satisfying manner. Taking a very televisual stance, there are a host of camera angles to choose from, including the third-person view preferred non-drivers. Unlike F1 2000, this works perfectly well, although for more in-your-face action, a variety of cockpit modes are included, probably the most manageable being above the helmet, thus enabling you to see your driver's head bucking about violently. Although for absolute authenticity, there is also a visor view with a blue filter, which is frankly terrifying.
In a man's life, it is said, he will only play six proper games of Monopoly. The same can be said about Grand Prix races on the PC. There is so much tweaking to be done before you find a level that suits you, it can often be easier to switch the PC off and go and do something less boring instead.
Also, if the race is too long, you'll give up; if it's too easy you'll get bored; if the damage mode is too sensitive you'll get sick of constant pit stops, and so on. However, when it all comes together, it's a beautiful thing, and F1 World Grand Prix is more than capable of capturing the drama of what is allegedly the world's most glamorous sport.
It's not perfect by any means. There's no information from the pit crew as to who is ahead or behind you - you're pretty much left to your own devices, with the radio only crackling into life when you've broken a lap record.
In F1WGPs favour, there are some superior elements to F1 2000, although an argument for the opposite could also be upheld. Both are perfectly playable F1 games, although we suspect that the best is yet to come.
Download F1 World Grand Prix
The first thing I’ll tell you is that I’m not a Formula 1 racing fan. While I do enjoy racing and I’ve enjoyed playing many, many different racing games, this is the first time I’ve ever laid my hands on a truly good Formula 1 racing game. I must admit, it has its charms.
Tight control, excellent attention to detail, and entertaining tracks combine to present perhaps one of the best and most realistic racing games on the market today. F1 World Grand Prix is simple to play, difficult to beat, and hard to master. A rich and invigorating change of pace for real world racing games, F1 World Grand Prix gives you player vs. player, practice, and tournament options, as well as the choice of nearly twenty different teams from which to race, all taken from the real world racing circuit.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
I cannot emphasize enough the level of control this game allows you to have over your vehicle and racing capability. To be fair, you really need to think of the game as being two parts. First, there’s the part where you select your car, tune it, adjust the way it handles airflow, and decide which track to race on. Almost equally as important as driving the car, this aspect of the game gives you minute and fine control over the car and its handling characteristics. If you want to handle the turns better, you might want to tweak the suspension and adjust the steering. Should you wish to go faster on the straight-aways, consider reducing drag by adjusting the airfoil angles.
The second part of the game is where you actually get to drive. You’ll be racing a fully functional F1 Grand Prix racer, tweaked to your personal settings, hoping for a new record. You’re given the chance to do single races, racing a single track as many times as you’d like. Or you can enter the Championship, where you’ll get to participate in the full 1998 championship circuit, facing off against AI controlled drivers that simulate the actual F1 drivers, all the way down to their preferences for handling each track.
The game also gives you the ability to race every F1 racing track (save Malaysia, which opened in 1999) and to race for all 1998 season teams, from Benneton to Ferrari. If there is one drawback to where, how, and with whom you can race, it would be the lack of 1999 circuit participants. However, for a game that does pretty much everything else, so that's forgivable.
Simply put, F1 World Grand Prix’s graphics are top-notch. They’ve taken the ability of the Dreamcast, and the precision design of F1 Grand Prix racecars, and combined them into a kick-ass title. Each car is highly detailed, right down to sponsorship stickers and angled airfoils. The tracks themselves are equally well designed, with cheering crowds and an animated pitcrew.
Finally, the world has a true F1 racing simulation. The gameplay, graphics, and utter control you have in this game make it well worth buying for the die-hard F1 racing fan. A solid sense of design and an obvious attention to detail make the game amazingly realistic. On the down side though, F1 is a sub-genre of racing and while it is just as good as others, doesn’t have the same widespread acceptance as other styles of gaming, such as first person shooters or action/adventure titles. My conclusion is thus: if you’re a fan of F1 racing, don’t miss this title. Should F1 racing not be your cup of tea, I’d just rent the title or perhaps pick up a used copy. Either way, playing this title will be well worth your time.