F1 logo

At long last it's the green light. The ideal opportunity to take on the mantle of Mr Mansell! Blame everybody for everything including your own mistakes and generally suffer from a strange accent...

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-spurting winner.

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-sensitive, lightning fast ones of the experts.

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.


BRAZIL - Interlagos
A demanding but rewarding circuit with two top speed straights. Spend too long having tyre changes and you'll be surprised how quickly your opponents catch up.

SPAIN - Barcelona
A hard course with corners that appear from nowhere. An important track to keep your eye on the map.

CANADA - Montreal
This Grand Prix will put tremendous pressure on both your tyres and brakes. Try to remember your braking points so you're not caught out by some of the slower corners.

BRITAIN - Silverstone
Silverstone has been recently revised because it's jsut too fast. Now the circuit is one of the most challenging around.

A popular circuit due to the precision required to hit fast lap times. However, contains a particularly dangerous first bend as the cars rush from the grid.

PORTUGAL - Estoril
A circuit of long sweeping bends. Overtaking isn't too difficult as long as you are prepared to leave the racing line.

Here's a track that will having you driving to your limit. The course is very fast, but try to remember where the chicanes are as they'll require some hectic braking.

MONACO - Monte Carlo
Probably the most famous circuit in the world. Raced on the streets, you'll find qualifications as important as the race since overtaking is really tricky.

Situated between Toulon and Marseille, Castelet has one of the most spectacular chicane sections of any motor racing circuit.

GERMANY - Hockenheim
A dangerous forested circuit which is mainly made up of straights. Your car should be aligned to a low downforce setting.

ITALY - Monza
The most incredible part of this track is the top gear Parabolica corner which leads onto the start-finish straight.

AUSTRALIA - Adelaide
A street circuit which may have you wishing you selected an auto gearbox. Setting the car is a difficult task on this course as it contains long straights and twisty sections.

F1 logo

Things get better second time around", sang ABC's Martin Fry in the Eighties, although they rarely do. F1 (that means Formula 1, as in car racing) is a revamped version of Vroom Multiplay. There are 12 World Championship circuits to race where you pit your wits against the top drivers in the Championship mode. In the Arcade mode, you are set a quota of cars to overtake which increases as you get more successful. Choose from four levels; Novice, Amateur, Professional and Expert (where the drivers are demons).

The split screen mode enables you to race a friend, and this is the best way to play. Control options include joystick and mouse and although using a mouse is initially difficult, once mastered it is an extremely effective control method. The graphics are bright and the racing is quick, and although it is not as realistic as F1GP, it is still a very playable game. Enough options to keep Murray Walker happy.

F1 logo

Tu gutes und sprich nicht darüber: Nach diesem Motto griff sich Domark das gute, alte "Vroom" von Lankhor, schraubte ein wenig daran herum und präsentiert es uns jetzt als brandneues Autorennspiel.

Lediglich ein diskreter Hinweis auf der Packungsrückseite klärt den Wohnzimmerpiloten darüber auf, daß das Gameplay schon runde zwei jahre auf dem Buckel hat: Nach der Wahl von Schwierigkeitsgrad, Bereifung und automatischer bzw. Manueller Schaltung darf man auf einem Dutzend Grand-Prix-Kursen gegen 15 Formel-I-Boliden antreten.

Im Meisterschaftsmodus wird nach den üblichen WM-Regeln gefahren, daneben gibt es das Training, den Splitscreen mit einem menschlichen oder rechnergesteuerten Gegner sowie den Arcademodus, wo eine bestimmte Zahl von Fahrzeugen überholt werden muß.

Unmittelbar vor dem Start und während des Rennens kann man in die Box fahren und dort Änderungen an Kupplung, Bereifung und Spoilern vornehmen lassen. Was ist nun so richtig neu an F1? Immerhin genug, um diesen Test zu rechtfertigen: Von den sechs "Vroom"-Strecken ist gerade mal eine übriggeblieben, auch der Splitscreen war anno Lankhor nicht vorhanden, und die Liste der teilnehmenden Fahrer wurde dem aktuellen Formel-I-Stand angepaßt.

Außerdem ist das Game (in den drei Solo-Modi) jetzt in einer wahnwitzig schnellen Turbovariante spielbar, bei der man allerdings bloß ununterbrochen im Acker landet. Auch so ist das Tempo der 3D-Grafik nämlich schon derart atemberaubend, daß man es am 1200er sogar künstlich bremsen kann!

Erkauft wird die enorme Geschwindigkeit mit verhältnismäßig kargen Landschaften - all die Boxen, Tribünen, Tunnel, Pfeiler etc. Bestehen aus schlichten, einfarbigen Polygonen, die Konkurrenz düst ebenfalls recht farbarm durch die Lande, und die paar Bäume und Häuser machen den Kohl auch nicht mehr fett.

Dafür ist das obere Bildschirmdrittel ebenso hübsch wie informativ ausgefallen: neben einer Übersichtskarte findet man dort Angaben über das gefahrene Tempo, die Rundenzahl, die verstrichene Zeit und den momentan eingenommenen Platz.

An der Optik hätte man bei der Überarbeitung ruhig noch ein bißchen feilen dürfen, auch wenn das Tempo darunter gelitten hätte. Dasselbe gilt für die nach wie vor fehlende Speicheroption und die nicht hundertprozentig geglückte Kollisionsabfrage. Die Steuerung (Stick oder Maus) der Boliden klappt dafür in der Praxis ohne größere Probleme - wie gesagt, wenn man den unglückseligen Turbomodus ignoriert.

Am Sound hat dagegen unüberhörbar der Zahn der Zeit genagt, inzwischen klingen Formel-I-Renner am Amiga einfach ganz anders. Unter dem Strich kriegt man hier also solide Raserkost, die in erster Linie durch ihr fulminantes Tempo besticht.

Schlecht fährt man damit bestimmt nicht, zumal "Vroom" ja seinerzeit ein Highlight des Genres war. Wer das Original jedoch bereitst besitzt, kann sich das Startgeld für F1 getrost sparen, sooo aufregend sind die neuen Features nun auch wieder nicht... (mic)

F1 logo

Racing games. The battle is well and truly on if it wasn't on before, and it certainly was.

Here at the AMIGA POWER starting grid, we're putting F1 from Domark through its paces. A Game absolutely unique, except for Vroom before it, which was virtually identical.

Yup, that's right, with the exception of a few additions and tweaks, F1 is basically a re-release of Vroom. Domark have rather sportingly said so on the back of the game box, "Important notice; an early version of this game has already appeared as Vroom Multiplay".
What is it with driving games this month? Is the repackaging a marketing ploy? Are they trying to rip us off? Have they run out of ideas? Thankfully, the answer to all of these questions is a resoundingly raucous reverberating no.

Vroom sold very few units. The biggest tragedy ever in gaming history, perhaps. Domark, sensing that justice had not been done, have taken the basic game engine and tuned it (This better not be the start of a series of excruciating car puns or there'll be trouble. Ed). Made it more accessible, given it more options and playability than before. And oh my, golly gosh and other euphemistic statements of incredulity and wonderment, they really have constructed a championship winner.

If you've read the review of Vroom which appears in AP12, please excuse me for repeating the following, but it's important that you get an idea of what makes F1 so good; it lies somewhere between the simulation of F1 GP and the arcade play of Lotus 1 and 2. with a few exceptions, it manages to synthesize the best parts of both these games and present them in a new and exciting manner. Feel your joystick fingers twitching yet? I certainly hope so.

Unlike F1 GP, with F1 you can dive straight into the cockpit and starting racing. Options-wise, everything's there: joystick selection, level of expertise, type of race etc. But you'll find that out for yourself when you by the game. Listing everything would take up valuable game criticism space, after all. Just take it from me on trust that the options screen is comprehensive and easy to use, okay.

The first thing to smack you in the windscreen is the speed that F1 runs at - it's truly breathtaking. And that's just the A500 in normal mode. There's also a Turbo mode which, when running on an A1200, is so fast it feels like a high impact collision in the solar plexus. Hhhhhnnnngggghhhh. The real beauty of all this speed is that control of the car is not sacrificed.

Okay, rather disappointingly, it's up-to-accelerate only, no choice otherwise. Sad really, too - look at Lotus 2's control options for example. After a while, up-to-accelerate starts to get very painful with a wrist controlled joystick (RSI anybody?). This is offset, slightly, by a really nice touch which I haven't seen in any driving game other than Vroom. The nice touch? You want to know what it is? Oh alright then.

One of the annoying things about driving games, and this hold true for F1 GP as well, is that when using a digital joystick and driving round a large curve, you have to keep compensating for it with the joystick. You know the sort of thing; full lock on, off, full lock on, off etc. Hardly conducive to the 'feel' of driving. Happily, this isn't the case with F1.

If you're on a long or moderate curve, so long as you've chosen the correct line, the car will follow that curve and automatically straighten up when you hit a straight. 'Fantastic!', (and other sycophantic adulations of praise), I say. It's like having the precision control of an analogue joystick without that type of joystick's potential sluggishness, and it's a real boon, especially when overtaking. It also eases the extra strain that having to steer while accelerating extracts from your wrists or thumb.

Now that the intuitive control system has been dealt with, how does the game play, what are you meant to do, why would you want to do it and when are you going to get fed up of playing it? (who says we don't ask searching questions in AP? I'm not going to answer them, but at least I know how to ask them).

The original Vroom had six tracks to race on. F1 is twice as good in this respect - you get 11 tracks to race on. Ho, ho, my little joke (I think). No, you do indeed have 12 tracks to race on. I'll not list them (check the boxout) because that caused me all sorts of grief when I wrote the preview in AP32. What's more, you can enjoy driving on these tracks in any of three modes.

In Arcade mode, you have to overtake an increasing number of cars in order to qualify for the next race. The first quota is seven cars over seven laps, the next is ten over seven laps and so on.

The speed that F1 runs at is truly breath taking

Try the Arcade option out first. Unless you're some kidof ballistic autistic statistic, you probably won't get too far on the first couple of shots. Do not worry, Domark is here to help. Thoughtfully, they've included a training mode. Do I need to expand on this one? Good., I didn't think so. Use it for practising different tracks. Especially useful when preparing for Turbo mode, which narrows the screen down a bit but bumps the speed up from 'frightening' to 'OhmyGodit'scorningrightatme!can'thandelitHELP!'

Lastly is the meat and two burgers of the game - the GP racing section. Again, the helpful options screen thrusts in with a supercharged fuel injection of choice and user selectivity. You can save the game after any race using the function keys. Pretty useful, if only to impress your friends with your top qualifying times and performance.

Now, as it stands, you may just have picked up the vibe that I think this game is rip-roaringly funky. You'd be right to think so too. The real cream on top of the pie however has yet to be mentioned. It's not startlingly innovative or even original, but it is an inclusion of a function which was conspicuous by its absence in Vroom. Yup, it's that all enjoyable split-screen mode enabling you to take on your mom, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, dog, cat, budgie, granny etc etc.

Let's not to be unfair to Vroom however. It did include an option for linking up with another Amiga. While in my opinion this is undoubtedly the best way to experience race games (you don't have to huddle around a single monitor and the screen isn't reduced in size), it isn't always practical.

Therefore, overall, the split screen is the better option. Sadly though, for reasons known only to themselves, Domark have dropped the link option in F1. Two's fun, but four's a crowd (or something like that). Knowing that you're racing against someone competitively always heightens the senses. Imagine racing against three other people at the same time; sensory saturation overload, competition heaven and, well, you get the idea, er, don't you?

Before I start winding up, drawing a comparison analogy and giving you my final conclusion on F1, it's compulsive that some more space be given to the Turbo feature. ('Compulsive/> - Ed). It runs about 33% faster than Arcade mode on the standard A500 giving a full 25 frame update rate. The cost, of course, is some slight graphical loss, i.e. they've compressed the screen a bit and cut out some of the extraneous scenery (but not so that you'd notice).

Even more impressive is the fact that you get a full 50-frame update from an A1200. I defy anyone to say that Turbo mode racing is easy and mean it, especially if Expert has been selected form the difficulty options. Yes, this racer may be the only one you will ever need. The competition looks decidedly pale beside F1.

As you'll have guessed by now (and if you haven't you must be pretty stupid), this is a three page review. 'Fantastic!' is said when given the orders by Stuart (it pays to sound enthusiastic). Three pages means that there's plenty of room for some hard information and quite a bit of trite as well. You'll never guess where we've reached now; Ha Ha Ha.

In my virtual life, i.e. the one outside of AP towers (sometimes, in lucid moments it seems almost real) I hard a 750cc powerhouse of a motorcycle. It's destroyed now, unfortunately. It had identical performance statistics to a Lotus Esprit Turbo. Big deal? Stay with me - this is important if I'm to convey just how good F1 is compared to competition.

You know the kind of guy who drives an XR3i, XR2i, or a Peugeot 205 or whatever (usually it's their dad's car as well?) These guys think they're ast. Quite frankly, they're not. They're boring. They think that a slight compression of their body into a bucket seat is tantamount to acceleration. They're slow in the head as well as dangerous. 'Contemptible' and other adjectives of snobbish biker in-the-know derision apply.

My bike's performance was like a retro-thrust afterburn kick in. It could accelerate so hard that I had to use all of my physical strength in a kinaesthetic depletion exercise just to hang on. Frightening slightly, exhilarating definitely. Now I'm not going to dwell on this too long. After all, acting like that all the time on a motorbike is neither big, hard or clever (Natch. - Ed). But it's fun.

So now to the point. F1 is a real performer. Just to make sure my conviction was 100% behind what I have to say about F1, I pulled out a whole load of other racers and played them again. Among them were go-faster stripes like Nigel Mansell, Lamborghini Challenge Lotus 1 & 2, Crazy Cars 3 etc. Now, I'm not going to name names, but truly Domark's F1 is a Formula One game. The rest verge on being XR3's to plain old 100 Fiesta's. There were even a couple of Fiat 126's in there, as well as a Sierra Cosworth 24 valve (Stop this now. - Ed). Not one though was capable of matching F1's performance. The same story applied with my bike when people in cars thought they could race me. Eat my diesel, encrusted tarmac slacker.

Hopefully, I've conveyed just how good F1 is. Don't make the same mistake that people originally made with Vroom. Buy it now, if not sooner.

On the starting grid of disks in my disk box, F1 GP is 0.9 of a second behind. And as they say, that's less than one second.


It's fast. It's not slow. It's Brazilian which means it isn't Argentian.

Okay, okay. I can't match the pattern of this one with those in the manual.

It's Spanish, Freddy Mercury sand about it. It's Barcelona Ole.

Fast tricky street circuit. Look out for any stray Princess Stephanie's.

It's so boring it could only be from Canada. Whaddayaknow, it's Montreal.

No, it's not Immac-Rollon. It's Castelet in France, which means its French.

Silverstone, and I've suffered an anxious moment among many here.

Hockenheim. I'll never race there again unless I race there again.

Spa in Belgium. Apparently they're Belgian from their feet to their hair.

It might look rude, but then again it's Italian and they like funny shapes.

In Portugal, the racing carries on very much as normal; TV cameras blazing.

Adelaide. Believe it or not, going fast here can make a difference.

F1 logo

Lucky for us, Tony Dillon hasn't passed his driving test yet. If he drives anything like he does in Domark's new racing game, he'd probably rack up more points than the entire Death Race 2000 team!

I've been a fan of racing games since I loaded up Chequered Flag on my trusty ZX Spectrum almost ten years ago! Recently, we've been a little dry of third-person perspective games (with the exception of F17 Challenge), instead being flooded with top-down racers. Not to worry, though, as Domark have come to the rescue with F1, Lankhor's extension to the Vroom series of games.

You see, F1 has been released before, albeit without all the flashy 'Official' badging. It was released in France, two years ago, under the name of Vroom Multiplayer. If you remember Vroom, you'll know that it was a simple but stylish race over a selection of courses that leaned away from realism and more toward sheer 'seat of your pants' driving.

It was constantly mourned for its lack of a two-player option. This is where Multiplayer came in, but for some reason was never released in the UK. So when Domark needed a game to tie in their official F1 license, all they had to do was buy up the rights to Multiplayer, give it a fresh lick of paint and design some new courses.

Playing F1 is almost exactly the same as playing Vroom. It's still fast, it's still wildly unrealistic and it's still the smoothest racer around. Looking at the screenshots, you might think it looks a little sparse. That's only because Lankhor threw roadside detail out of the window in favour of speed, so although there isn't much roadside detail on the screens, you don't really notice because it isn't there for long anyway.

As you have probably guessed by now, speed is what makes F1 such a playable game. With a blend of polygons and sprites it looks the business, but running it on a faster machine and the game comes into its own. It's so fast and so smooth on the A1200 that you are given the option to slow down the update, making the game run at the same speed as the A500!

But any driving game soon becomes dull when you can win on all the courses. Computer drivers soon become predictable and the game loses its edge. Unless it's a two-player game, though. Ever since Pitstop 2 was released on the C64, publishers have strived to create the perfect two-player driving game and it looks like F1 could be the one.

The screen is split horizontally, with each player taking up half the screen, as usual, with no loss of speed. There's nothing like racing against someone of similar skill, screaming 'round corners while screaming at each other. I'd go as far to say that if you have ready access to two joysticks and a large group of friends, then this is a game you should not miss.

If you're going to be playing it alone most of the time, then it's worth getting, but nowhere near as addictive. Of course, the question still remains as to whether or not you should buy it if you already have Vroom. It's a tough one. There's the big difference in that it's a two-player simultaneous game, which always ups the playability stakes of any game, and is a welcome addition to Vroom.

On top of that, there's the championship league, a host of new tracks and a slight speed increase. Whether or not that's enough to make you rush out and buy it is down to you.


One of the most charming and, indeed, one of the irritating points about Pitstop 2 was the pitstop itself. Pulling into the pitstop lane and breaking brought up a screen showing a top view of the car and two mechanics, which changed tyres and filled the tank under direct joystick control. F1 pitstops are almost as charming, with similar little men running out and doing repairs in real time, but you don't get to control them directly. Instead you press a key and the respective task is carried out. Somehow it just isn't the same.