It's a strange old world isn't it? How many times punters, have you had deja vu? I'd guess probably a few times, but not as many as yours truly, who sees replicas of the same game ideas repeated several times a week. Oddly enough, the most common clone of all is the racing game. After all if you make a bog-standard platformer, at least the character can look slightly different from the last you saw. But in the racing circuit, there's only one definitive set of tracks, one set of cars with the same markings and one set of named drivers.
As a rule, car races are the type of game I've always revelled in and enjoyed, but there does come a time when a genre becomes "tyred" and the proverbial "exhaust" becomes exhausted.
That's not to say that there hasn't been a boot-load of classics along the way. You've only got to take a little look at the likes of Formula 1 Grand Prix or Vroom to appreciate what a classy racing game's driving at.
Uncanningly enough, the link here is that Domark's latest offering to the games world is programmed by non other than Lankhor, the people behind Vroom. I don't know how may of you remember Vroom, but let me tell you it was a classic. French software house Lankhor worked wonders and probably produced the fastest Formula 1 racing game ever for the Amiga.
Well, now they're back with their second offering with the full and unadulterated approval of the motor racing sports governing body, the FIA. What this means is that the game can feature all the official tracks, drivers, constructors and advertisers.
Someone please correct me, but bar the odd name, everyone's used all of the above without the official recognition of their product, so I don't think it means that much. However, it's a nice touch I suppose, and will no doubt help F-1 to sell a tad more easily.
That said, the proof is in the pudding and it's the play and look that will determine the success of this release. So with his in mind let's don our overalls, walk gingerly over to the pits and find out whether F-1 is a bow out on the first lap, or a model snogging, champagne-
Playwise everything begins in the Options menu, wher eyou determine the type of race you want to run. You can decide to train on any of the 12 tracks that form the world championship, to familiarise yourself.
You can also select an arcade version of f-1 which puts you on the self same tracks, but as you to overtake an increasingly larger number of cars to qualify for the next circuit. Last but by no means least is the full blow World Championship mode. This puts you up against all the top drivers vying for points over all the worlds top circuits, or allows you to choose an individual track to compete on.
Success, as usual means points for prizes, with a win giving you ten points towards the drivers championship and the same quantity to the constructors in their battle to be the best. As usual in this style of title you can adjust the skill level to render it playable in the early stages and to give you some challenge once you've mastered the control and courses.
Skill levels can be adjusted between the indestructible cars that the novice drives, right through to the hyper-
You also have the option to alter the wings of your hot rod, and much of this depends on the track on which you are competing. For example, setting your wings ina low position gives you less drag giving you a higher top speed, whereas a high setting operates in reverse and makes you stick like the brown stuff.
You also have the opportunity to change your tyres, the gearbox and just about everything else conceivable. In fact, one of the only thing you can't change is your underwear after you've careered into an ad hoarding. Once you're on the grid you can elect to qualify or go straight into the actual race. Attempting to qualify is probably the best policy as you have a chance to improve your position on the starting grid, rather than the default position to the rear of the grid.
After all the preparation work, it's finally time to test your skill and nerve in the race. Graphically, f-1 is very similar to its older brother Vroom, and has the same feel as it.
This is by no means a bad thing as Vroom not only looked good, but moved at a tremendous rate of knots. If you'd like proof of the speed of f-1, just select the Turbo mode and watch your car fly around the track.
If you have any trouble during the course of the race then you can enter the god old pit lane. Here you can get your mechanics to break into a sweat, changing your tyres or refueling your sporty motor. However, time being of the utmost importance in the high tech world of motor racing, you've no time to get yourself a nice munchy bar or glance at the overpriced tapes, it's straight back into the race.
Perhaps the best option of all is the two player split screen game. This allows you to race against not only the other competitors, but also one of your mates. To a large extent F-1 is very similar to its older brother Vroom with a few alterations. This said, it's a quality product and runs extremely smoothly on the Atari. In fact, I'd go as far to say that F-1 could become the definitive arcade racer on the Amiga.