Formula 1 Grand Prix

Reviewed by Ron Stewart


Issue 32

Mar/Apr 88

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Digitised strains of Fleetwood Mac's `The Chain' welcome you to 'Formula 1 Grand Prix', a Pole Position clone with added frills.

After the opening titles comes the menu. Options on the screen include the choice of track, car and number of laps. You can also, if you wish, elect to run a full season using all the tracks. There are six tracks available, from the French Paul Ricard circuit with its long, fast straights to the twisty Detroit street circuit. Each circuit has different background scenery, Silverstone, though, only has very low cloud!

You are given a choice of five cars. They all have different characteristics but are all supposed to be competitive. The Williams is fast, whilst the Lotus
handles well but is slow. My favourite car for best all round performance is the Benetton. The selection screen shows the cars in colourful profile. Obviously you will need to choose your car with care if you are going after lap records, it's no use trying to get the fast Ferrari around the tight Monaco streets, better here to choose the Lotus. Finally, you can choose the number of laps you wish to race over, either one, three or five.


Using the timed practice option you can test to see which car performs well on which circuit. If your timed practice lap is within two seconds of the lap record you will get pole position in any subsequent race on that course. Racing is very similar to Pole Position. The car is moved about the track using the joystick. Pushing it forward accelerates the car, rearward decelerates. Pressing the fire button will move your car through its six (count 'ern) gears. Most of the time you'll only be using fifth or sixth. Points are awarded for distance driven and the number of cars overtaken and deducted if you are overtaken. As well as the score, the engine revs, time and selected gear are shown at the top of the screen. If you are nearing the rev limit of your car the rev counter will flash, too much will blow the engine. Do this too many time or hit too many other cars and you will be disqualified for dangerous driving.

I have only one complaint and that is that the motion is shown by flashing the track. The strobing effect is quite wearing and after prolonged playing I usually ended up with a headache. I would have preferred some form of wheel movement.

As a basic racing game this one would be my choice over Pole Position. There are more complex simulations coming but Formula 1 Grand Prix is a game and not a simulation and as a game it comes out quite well.