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F1 World Grand Prix

by Mark B.

Ladies and GentlemenůStart your engines. Racing has become one of the biggest spectacles on this planet. In Eidos' Formula One World Grand Prix you become a driver in the Formula One racing series. Aside from just driving the racecar in 3D on very accurate race circuits, you can even take control of the actual set up of the cars; everything from height of the wings to the gear ratio.

The 3D graphics are amazing and very realistic. I just sat there drooling as my tires turned green from my car running off the track and onto the grass, or brown as my car hit a sand trap. The green or brown even slowly disappears as you burn off rubber back on the asphalt. To complement the graphics, some outstanding camera angles can be found within the game, including one through the helmet of your driver.

An easier view for racing was found just above the driver. There you have a better view of what is coming up next on the racetrack from the next turn to the other drivers. Also you have a good view of your car in which you can see your driver controlling the steering wheel. While the graphics were great, one option did frustrate me-turning on the rear view mirrors. I did find that the rear view mirror when it was in the middle of the screen was quite large and blocked so much that I ended up just keeping the rear view mirror option off.

The sound in the game is as good as the graphics. Aside from just the regular sounds in a racing game which are the engines and the tires squealing, the 3D sounds from cars behind you gaining on your car made it very easy to know where the competition were. With the rear view mirror turned off, this was a great help. I had no problem with hitting other cars when they were in my blind spot because of the very accurate sounds.

The game offers two types of game play for when you are racing. You can either race in arcade mode or simulation mode. Arcade mode allows the player to race around the track with very little consequences when you take a turn too fast. Simulation mode is more realistic in that you can spin out on a turn or lock up your brakes even if you make a small mistake. This mode is very challenging and can be quite aggravating until the player learns what speeds and set ups work well for different turns and tracks. The worst part of the controls is that if you loose control or mess up on a turn, it was very hard to gain control of your car and get it back on the track.

I found that my car would do an instant 180-degree spin as soon as I would touch the grass. After watching the Montreal Grand Prix on TV and seeing Michael Schumacher control his car without any problems while cutting across the hair pin turn I couldn't understand why this portion of the game affected me differently. Namely, I ended up spinning out of control while Schumacher drove away without any problems in real life. This situation should have been mirrored in the game.

As for the AI of the computer-controlled drivers, they reacted very well to the other cars that were passing them. They would even screw up from time to time and go slightly off course as they gave other cars too much room. The biggest down point with the AI is that it always seemed to be the same drivers in the lead during the qualifying session and the race. It would be nice to have seen certain drivers doing better on certain tracks, or at least seeing different drivers in the lead.

The other poor quality of the computer AI is that it never made a mistake in certain situations. I never saw a computer player mess up on a turn and spin off, or braked wrong and hit the car in front of them.

Even with the problems with the computer AI, I still found the game to be very challenging and fun to play. This has to be the best F1 racing game for the PC right now. Hopefully Eidos will create a sequel to this game with more realistic AI, smaller mirror and more realistic control when you lose control of your racecar.


FINAL MARK

very challenging and fun to play

graphics and sound are well done

problems with the computer AI

86%