Laugh this off!

Nigel Mansell's World Championship logo

GREMLIN * £29.99 * 1 meg * Joystick/keyboard * Out now

Elsewhere in this stupendous issue of Gamer you will find me singing in a loud voice the praises of Gremlin's other release, Premier Manager, and vowing to collar either Biff or Ben into reviewing Mansell so I can spend as much time as possible with my beloved Wycombe Wanderers.

Well, a true indication of the authority I wield is evident in the fact that here I am, reviewing them both. Have you ever noticed how much of a miserable sod Nigel Mansell is? It is unbelievable - the guy lives in a three million pound house in tax haven, and gets an eight figure salary for doing the thing he loves most, yet the only time we see any noticeable twitch of his moustache is when Ayrton Senna spins out off the track in a horrifying accident.

All credit to the bloke though - not only is he one of the few truly successful contemporary British sportsmen, but he also has to cope with the slobbering schoolboy adulation upon him by the ever-excited Murray Walker.

In order to supplement his meagre income, Nige has lent his name to the latest go-very-fast-around-a-track-'em-up from those Lotus-like fiends from Sheffield.

Ben had a good look at the game for his review in ST User Gamer, and was far from impressed, which worried me greatly as I didn't want to believe that the game I had been looking forward to so much was a small but pungent heap of Tibetan llama droppings. Nervously, I investigated...

On loading you are presented with a generous options screen that as well as offering you the standard gear and control method choices, also enquires politely as to whether you would like to "improve with Mansell" or take lessons in "driving school" before launching yourself into the full race season.

Well I'm no nance, and was raring for a bit of real racing action, but, dedicated chap that I am, thought it only fair to explore all the avenues so to speak. Driving school was my first stop, and the concept is very simple. Choose any track on which to practice - no other cars are present, and the maximum speed of your car is restricted, the idea being that this will enable you to learn how to control the car. Come on, please - I'm sure we can cope with moving the joystick from side to side and pressing the Fire button occasionally. One visit to driving school and you'll never return - it's daft.

Improve With Mansell allows us to zoom around the track to the accompaniment of a running commentary from the man himself. This is a much better idea than the Driving School - the racing line is indicated, and in theory the comments from Nigey-babes should teach us the best techniques to use.

In practice, however, whenever I tried looking up from the track at the snippets offered ("stay on the track", "avoid hitting things"), the result was invariably my car wrapped around some advertising hording or other. It's a nice touch, but not much help at all, I'm afraid.

After dispensing with all the frills and inconsequentialities it was time to get me some action. Every track from the 1992 Grand Prix circuit is here in all its macadamised glory - you can choose to race a single circuit, in which case you take your pick, or pack some clean clothes and a couple of new engines and opt for the full GP season.

The full season begins in South Africa and culminates in Australia as does the real thing. A handy intro screen gives some indication as to which bits on your car you should tamper with by outlining the nature of the track - bends, straights and so on.

You can if you wish get straight into a race, in which race you will find yourself at the back of the 12-car grid. Qualifying is a better idea - two laps round the track with just a couple of other cars provides an excellent (and a little too easy) chance of beginning the race on the front row.

As far as the gameplay goes, NMWC is good, but not great. The tracks are well laid out but the screen updates are just a bit too slow to simulate a Formula One racing car travelling at nigh on 200 miles per hour. The miniaturized track in the top corner of the screen succeeds where "Improve With Mansell" fails in providing you with as much in-race information as you need.

All it does is tell you where the cars are on the track, but then you're not really interested in the price of mild Brazilian cheddar when your cheeks are wobbling with G-force, are you?

One element of the game, which I suppose is realistic, but annoying nonetheless, is the sheer difficulty of overtaking other drivers. The only time I won any races was when I started in pole position.

Points are awarded as per the usual Grand Prix rules, and a place in the top three in any race earns a animated sequence which takes a while to load and would be better left out.

As you would expect from Gremlin, Mansell is a polished game, not without its faults, but which should appeal to race fans due to the options it sports and the full GP season.



Nigel Mansell's World Championship logo

He suffered more than his fair share of gremlins in the past, but now Mansell is the champ, it must be time for an endorsement, then, eh?

Cor! The lad done well, didn't he? Nigel 'Our Nige' Mansell romps home to victory in the Forrmula One World Championship, and to celebrate, Gremlin launch their much-hyped Nigel Mansell's World Championship in the same year. Luck? Or inside knowledge and a smidgin' or ESP? We'll never know, but you've got to admit Gremlin were definitely at the right place at the right time, time time.

For your money, Mansell's World Championship provides you with an arcade-style racing game with the ability to tweak the cars (to a limited extent), and two practice modes. The first is a simple drive-around against the clock, on a circuit of your choice (the full season's 16 tracks are there). It's dead boring, and there are no other cars to jockey with.

Python-esque
The other practice mode is called 'improve with Mansell' and it features a rather poor representation of Our Nige's head and some abysmal mouth animation that would have made Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam cringe. Nigel 'speaks' via lines of text which are just far enough off-centre to distract you from steering straight. There's also a full-season championship mode which enables you to save your current position and continue over a few days.

Despite the gloss and smooth presentation, Mansell's tracks are both unrealistic and unconvincing, especially after you've been playing MicroProse's Formula One Grand Prix. OK, Mansell's World Championship isn't meant to be a simulation, but still, there are too few road-side objects and the ones that exist repeat too often. Besides, they're all pictures of Zool or Lotus 3 adverts, arrows or bits of digitised Lichtenstein artwork - not really right for that Grand Prix feel. And they are far too close to the kerbside, leaving you little room for error on tight bends.

The view is very flat - the perspective doesn't seem to work properly, and this reduces the feeling of speed and stops you from anticipating the corners properly. The graphics which scroll across the horizon are only about two screens wide,a d are truly bland - you feel like you're revolving in a drum because the view in the distance never really seems to change much.

Worse, the steering seems wonky because the hands on the wheel change position according to the piece of track you're on - nothing to do with the way you're moving the joystick. The amount of steering lock you can use changes depending on whether the current track section is straight or cornered left or right. While this doesn't directly affect playability, it does seem a bit odd.

At first all you notice is that the car seems to be sliding the front-end everywhere, and it's only when you stop and see how things move that you realise it's a tick to fool the eye - one that doesn't really work and only serves to confuse. It's done to give the feeling of 'opposite lock around the corners', but it just looks like your steering rods are out of alignment.

Mansell's sound effects are, sadly, pathetic - real 1988 stuff. Sad little buzzes and rain that sounds. Like white noise on a radio is not exactly mood-enhancing stuff. The front-end music is better, but nobody's going to buy a game just for that, are they?

Crash and burn?
Racing against opponents is (as always) a lot more fun than racing against the clock. But even this isn't as good as it could be. Most of the circuits are too narrow to overtake properly, and the result is that you usually end up clipping something as you pass. For some obscure reason, your opponents have an advantage in this situation - you very often end up back in first gear with your fot flat on the boards trying to get your speed back, while the guy you hit (or hit you) goes whizzing off into the distance unperturbed.

The game could have been a biggie, (and let's face it, it probably will be, whether I get annoyed with it or not) but instead it is bland, uninspiring and a bit tedious - not really much of an accolade to 'Our Nige', the first British World Champ since 1976. Shame. He deserves to have his F1 days remembered in a better light than this. It's a real let-down after Formula One Grand Prix. OK, so maybe that's spoiled us, but it's set standards which Gremlin's offering hasn't even come close to.

Sure, you're going to say 'F1GP is a sim - not an arcade game' and that's fair comment. But it makes no difference when you find an arcade-racer, Mansell's World Championship isn't even as good as Lotus 3. This is sad, considering it's a similar game from the same software house. In fact it's on a par with the Continental Circus and maybe Super Monaco GP with less graphics. Even Vroom! is faster and smoother - and that has a two player mode, which Mansell doesn't.

Mansell's F1 chapter closes and next year he'll be racing Indy 500. At least he'll have an excuse for going round in circles. Gremlin don't, and they've brought us right back to the dawn of Amiga racing games with this one.


TALKING HEAD AND ROADS TO NOWHERE

At first glance the 'improve with Mansell' mode has a bit of novelty value, and may even be useful, but it soon gets incredibly tedious. Mansell's limited repertoire of comments just gets stultifyingly boring once you've heard it all. It's also a bit annoying when Mansell's programmed response is banal and obvious - when you've clipped a side-object for the umpteenth time and the Mansell figure says 'Do not hit objects' like you're doing it delibierately, you feel like smashing him in the face. While he does give encouragement when you're doing OK, he doesn't exactly give much warning about approaching bends - until you're already heading for trouble. He's too busy saying "well done" to warn you that the next corner is a second-gear left-hand hairpin until you've reached the apex.

There's even a dotted racing line scratched on the track surface in this mode, but I defy any real racing driver to follow it. Mansell says (in text) 'Get on the racing line' whenever you're only a wheel's-width off it, and sometimes straddling the racing line exactly means that one side of the car is running over the kerb, even on the straights - surely this can't be right?

It's fun to improve with Mansell, for about five minutes, then it gets very, very dull. You can'help asking yourself if it would have been better to have an 'improve the game' mode instead.

IS THIS THE PITS OR WHAT?

Mansell's World Championship redeems itself a little by offering you a range of car set-ups for each circuit. It's a bit simplistic, and there's none of the minute adjustments and tweaking that was the order of the day in F1GP. But that's a boon, because it means Mansell is a lot easier to set up - each part has only three variations, so it doesn't take long to try each combination ona circuit and find the best one.


Nigel Mansell's World Championship logo

Gerade eben ist "Lotus III" in die Hitparaden gerast, da schickt Gremlin schon den nächsten Boliden auf die Strecke. Am Steuer sitzt der britische Formel I-Weltmeister - und langweilt sich schrecklich.

Da mag der gute Nigel noch so siegessicher von der Packung grinsen, diesmal hat er leider auf die falschen Pferdestärken gesetzt.

Dabei fällt es schwer, hier einen Schuldigen auszumachen: Der Rennstall aus Sheffield zählt bekanntlich zu den ersten Adressen im digitalen Motorsport, der Namensgeber ist einer der erfolgreichsten Formel 1-Piloten, und das Spiel selbst weist eigentlich keine gravierenden Schwächen auf - "nur" das gewisse Etwas fehlt...

Sobald man sich durch Poster, Autogrammkarte und T-Shirt-bestellschein bis zum Vorspann durchgewühlt hat, wird man von fetziger Musik auf die kommenden Geschehnisse eingestimmt.

Zunächst darf in hübsch gestalteten Menüs zwischen kompletter Saison, Einzelrennen und ein paar Proberunden auf den insgesamt 16 Kursen gewählt werden: bei diesen Trockenübungen ertönt sogar die Stimme des großen Meisters, der einem etwa rät, endlich den nächsten Gang einzulegen.

Außerdem kann man seinen Wagen mit verschiedenen Gummis besohlen, ihnen windschlüpfriger machen und mit automatischer oder manueller Schaltung ausrüsten; darüber hinaus ist die Abstufung des Getriebes einstellbar.

Wer sich für die ganze Saison angemeldet hat, muß vor jedem Rennen zuerst eine Qualifikationsrunde drehen. Steht die Startposition somit fest, wird losgebrettert, wobei das Geschehen stets aus der Sicht des Fahrers zu sehen ist.

Auf dem Screen erscheinen die üblichen Anzeigen für Geschwindigkeit, Drehzahl, eingelegten Gang, Position und Rundennummer, dazu gibt's eine Art Radarschirm, der darüber informiert, wo sich die übrigen elf Teilnehmer gerade aufhalten. Die farbenfrohe 3D-Optik (eine Mischung aus Vektor- und Bitmap-Grafik) bewegt sich blitzschnell und auch halbwegs flüssig, soundmäßig muß man sich im Cockpit allerdings mit gelegentlichen Schepper- und Quietgeräuschen begnügen; Musik erklingt nur in den Menüs.

Ja, und die exakt arbeitende und leicht beherrschbare Sticksteuerung macht das Gewinnen fast zum Kinderspiel - wer sich einmal vom Feld abgesetzt hat, braucht eigentlich keine Angst mehr vor den lahmen Computergegnern zu haben.

Genau das ist denn auch der wunde Punkt, denn eingebaute Boxenstops hin, fehlender Zwei-Spieler-Modus her: Bei Nigel Mansell will einfach kein rechter Spielspaß aufkommen. Die durch die Bank geglückte technische Umsetzung ändert daran genau so wenig wie die beigelegten Gimmicks oder der Trainingsmodus, der hier sinnigerweise "Fahrschule" heißt. Man fährt halt so vor sich hin, doch die Spannung und Dramatik eines Formel I-Rennens, bei dem es auf jeden Millimeter und jede Zehntelsekunde ankommt, sucht man vergebens.

Schade, denn sowohl Gremlin als auch der Weltmeister wären ihrem guten Ruf eigentlich ein bißchen mehr schuldig gewesen... (C. Borgmeier)



Nigel Mansell's World Championship logo

Formula One Grand Prix champions are few and far between, but Gremlin have found themselves one.

Aah yes. The thrill of the race, the heart-pounding rush as you take a competitor on the inside of the chicane, the grim determination clouding your face as you zoom up the straight. We are in the motor racing world, and I love it. Now, I will have to admit right away that I do not know a lot about this sport, but maybe there is not that much to know. I mean, isn't it just a load of people who like to drive cars very fast getting together and, er, trying to drive faster than each other? I mean, that is right, isn't it?

The game bears Nigel Mansell's name, and it is going to be popular because he is. It has got his picture on the front and everything. But a lot of people have been waiting to see what the game is like. Thus starts the controversy, because most people in the office who copped a look while I was playing expressed disappointment, some quite violently, and came out with some very valid reasons why it is noth worth buying. Somebody chucked a copy of Vroom at me to prove the point, and it all started to look a bit inevitable. But then comes the big question - why did I have so much fun playing it? Why is it that I am going to sneak it out of the office so that I can play it at home? These questions need to be answered.

All right, let us talk about the game. It is a bit of a halfway house, being a cross between a simulator and an arcade game. You play Nigel Mansell, although you can change your name if you want, and you take part in the full 1992 Grand Prix season. As well as going for the full season you can also choose to race one circuit, from any of the Grand Prix tracks, in a one-off. If you are new to all this, like me, then you get a chance to practice a course without the hindrance of other cars, and there is also an option to improve your driving with Nige himself. Unfortunately, this is a bit crap. You go round the track and a picture of Nige appears on the screen to tell you what you are doing wrong. There is a track line to give you an indication of where you should be on the road, which is very handy, but Nige's comments are mainly restricted to completely obvious things like "keep on the road" and "go on, speed up". Thanks, Nigel.

This aside, you really want to get stuck into the races and start enjoying the game itself. If you are doing a single track race, you are given a choice of where you want to race first of all. The tracks are not completely accurate representations of the real thing (for some reason the Silverstone is two years out of date, so I am reliably told), but they are fun anyway and they all vary in difficulty and require different driving skills. The weather conditions during the race depend on where you are racing (obviously, it is not going to be anything but sunny in Mexico). Sometimes there might me some rain or threatening clouds, and all this combines to give you a lot of variety in the races you will be running.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING
Before you start you can set up your car using the Tuning Your Car option. Here you can choose what type of tyres you want to use - hard, soft, wet (that is worth an 'ooer', I think). Obviously, if it is raining you want to choose wet, but if the rein stops you might want to go into the pits and change them, as they wear out quicker. Soft tyres improve the grip and make cornering easier, but need changing more often (maybe twice in the race).

In this section you also choose your gear ratio between low, medium and high - low gives you good acceleration but reduces the top speed, medium has a balance of speed and acceleration and high gives top speed with less acceleration. You pays your money, you makes your choice. You can choose between automatic and manual gears, but I prefer auto because you do not really want to be bothered changing gears while you are roaring round a track. But you do get more control with manual gears.


I got completely hooked on this

OZONE FRIENDLY AEROFOIL
Finally you can choose how your aerofoil is positioned, which affects cornering and all that stuff. I left all these setting on default, except when the weather conditions looked a bit menacing.

Before racing you can also change the control method between mouse, joystick or keyboard. Go for the joystick, it is more exciting. While we are on control, you can also use the FreeWheel joystick. This looks like a steering wheel (actually I suppose it is a steering wheel) and you hold it in mid air and steer it to control your car. It is not supplied with the game, so I did not have a chance to use it, but it undoubtedly makes you look a complete floppy brain while you are playing.

You can go straight to the race, but you won't be positioned very well on the starting grid. Instead, you can choose to qualify, where you have to do one lap and the time you take determines where you are on the grid. There are a couple of other cars which you have to avoid, but you are not actually competing against them. Once this lap is done, you are ready to go. The first thing you notice is that the graphics are rather smart. The backdrops look attractive and atmospheric, and the cars themselves are impressive.

The sound effects are a bit weak though - acceleration sounds more like an electric shaver. Still. You get used to it quickly and it is good to have the sounds to give you some impression of being on the circuit. And the racing itself? Very exciting. I got completely hooked on this, mainly because after a few races you really start getting the hang of the controls and actually doing well.

It is not as smooth as Vroom, but it looks a lot nicer, and there is more excitement generated by the Grand Prix atmosphere and the fact that you are Nigel Mansell. It is not as thorough a simulator as F1GP but its arcade feel makes this unimportant. It is how much fun you have while playing a game that really counts and I had loads. If you have got Formula One Grand Prix or Vroom and you are happy with those thank you very much, then you probably won't need this.

But if you are looking for your first racing game, and you fancy soaking up the atmosphere of the Grand Prix, then you won't be disappointed with this game.


GO ON NIGEL, GIVE US A TUNE
Nigel Mansell's World Championship

Tune your car to improve your performance. If you have no inclination to get bogged down in all this, the defaults will do the job.


Nigel Mansell's World Championship logo

Battling for pole position in the increasingly competitive motor-racing simulation market is Gremlin's new big-name game. Steve Prizeman donned his car coat and took it for a spin...

PEDAL TO THE METAL...
Get your motor running, as Steppenwolf said, but don't head out on the highway - try Silverstone, or Monaco, or any of the 16 Formula One Grand Prix circuits where the world's top drivers put their pedals to the metal in pursuit of the coveted title of champion. Gremlin's new driving sim is as straightforward as the curves and chicanes of the race tracks are complicated.

Putting you behind the wheel of Mansell's distinctive blue and yellow Williams-Renault, it lets you play the part of the laid-back speed-king and face his formidable rivals. Each race includes 11 entrants in addition to Nigel, who, like our hero, have genuine drivers' names and car colouring. The drivers and cars have distinctive characteristics, rather than being a uniform army of automate, so some pose more of a threat than others. If you wanted to reach the bend before Ayrton Senna, overtake Riccardo Patrese, or pass Martin Brundle on the straight, then you've got your chance. The circuits also copy the real-world tracks they represent, with to-scale twists and turns occurring in all the right places.

PRACTICE CIRCUIT
Naturally, you need to develop your skills before facing the challenge of Formula One, so you can begin in the driving school. There the circuit may be tackled with the vehicle in successive gears and a 'racing line' on the track shows the best position to take up. There is also an 'Improve with Mansell' option in which the world champion's head appears on screen to 'talk' you through a circuit, with advice appearing as written text at relevant moments. Gremlin has worked hard to make the face look like the moustachioed Mansell - earlier versions bore an unfortunate resemblance to Saddam Hussein.

Your car may be tuned prior to the race, with three types of tyre, aerofoil, and gear ratio, and the option of having automatic or manual gears (the latter providing a real challenge). If you don't feel up to entering the World Championship after this preparation, with all 16 races occurring in order, you may pick and choose your Grand Prix's one race at a time. Before a race you may drive tow qualifying laps, if you choose, on order to try and win pole position with a scorching time.

There are four levels of difficulty in the game: at the Championship stage, the highest circuits amount to approximately 10% of the real track, so that, for example, you would race seven laps instead of 70. At each course there is a variable chance of rain occurring during a race, hence the need for a wet-weather tyre option, but there are no cross winds, or other elemental hazards to face.

PIT STOP
As you might expect of a game that has not only garnered approval from Mansell, but from Renault Formula One and FOCA, the Formula One Constructors' Association, NMWC is an enjoyable and reasonably realistic simulation. The downside to such endorsements, however, is that Gremlin have been obliged to recognise the sensitivity of these groups (and individuals) to the portrayal of crashes and damage. In short, there isn't any. Trackside signs, bridges, bollards and haystacks may be struck, and other cars nudged, with no visible effect - at first. This is probably fair enough - after all it is Formula One, not a demolition derby.

All damage is converted into symbolic 'tyre wear' (as is tyre wear, of course). A set of tyres in the top right of the screen change colour as damage mounts up. Then they start to turn red it's high time to enter the pits and trust your team to make speedy repairs and tyre changes. Careless driving, such as hitting signs, slows you down and can even cause you to stall, allowing your rivals to zoom past.

If you get too close to walls, and clip them with the side of a wheel, an atmospheric shower of sparks is raised (and heard) - a nice touch.

Graphically, the game is well presented, but unremarkable. The car sprites, track, and backdrop are all convincing enough, but the ground surrounding the track is somewhat lifeless. One particularly impressive effect, however, is the inclusion of working wing mirrors, accurately showing the position of cars chasing your tail. The game is introduced by a pleasant funky tune, but what you heat is mostly dominated (unsurprisingly) by the whining of engines straining away at top speed. Sound effects indicating collisions and falling rain may also be heard.

So, if you want to find yourself on the winner's rostrum, spraying champagne over an adoring crowd, this may be the place to start.


PERFECT FORMULA

The Williams and Renault teams encountered many ups and downs in their different histories before hitting on the succesful partnership which provided the basis for Mansell's dominance of the 1992 World Championship.
Although Renault won the first ever French Grand Prix, way back in 1906, it left Grand Prix racing two years later and didn't return until the 1970s. Renault achieved several high positions in the Constructor's Championships of the early 1980s (2nd in 1983, and 3rd in 1981 and 1982), but, on the whole, its performance was less than might have been hoped for and its team did not contest Grands Prix after 1985. In 1989, however, Renault returned to the Formula One scene by supplying engines to Williams.
The first Formula One Williams car was sponsored by an Italian model company named Politoys. Politoys FX3, as it was known, suffered the ignominy of crashing after only seven laps in the 1972 British Grand Prix, staged at Brandis Hatch. Williams' perseverance was rewarded in time, however, with the company winning its first Constructors' Championship in 1980 - an achievement it has repeated in may subsequent years.
This season has seen their best achievement yet, with bot the teams' drivers, Mansel and Patrese, coming first and second in the Drivers' Championship and the team itself winning the Constructor's Chamionship.


Nigel Mansell's World Championship AGA logo AGA

Nigel's done a runner, but his memory lives on for the Amiga aristocracy.

Mansell's scored 79 per cent in February's Gamer - not bad by any means, but certainly not indicative of the type of product we've come to expect of Gremlin over the last couple of years.

The main reason for this relatively low mark was the speed and smoothness of the racing - always an important factor in a racing game - or rather, the lack thereof. With the difficulty set as it was, the updates were too slow, and therefore too jerky, to present an accurate simulation of high speed racing, and consequently Mansell found itself lacking in the excitement department.

The first noticeable improvement is the speed of loading, which is only to be expected when you consider the capabilities of the A1200.
Once loaded the game offers exactly the same as did its multi-compatible counterpart, as it is of course nothing more than an enhanced version.

Scenery-wise is no change - or at least, not in the way it looks. The speed it zips by at though has changed dramatically. Gone are the jerky updates, replaced by moderately fast, smooth 3D scrolling, improving control over the car a great deal.

Difficulty in overtaking other racers is still there, but now instead of being frustrating it makes play more challenging due to the overall improvements in gameplay.

Disk swapping is minimalised thanks to your 3Mb of RAM, and even the winning sequence I complained about originally takes much less time to appear at the end of the race.

Whereas the mass market version of NMWC is nothing more than a good quality racer in a large field, the A1200 promotes this attempt to the front line of the starting grid with the likes of Lotus 3 and Jaguar XJ220. I still don't believe Gremlin have gone as far as they can with the A1200 however, and look forward to testing out the first specific race game for the machine.



Nigel Mansell's World Championship AGA logo AGA

Gremlin * 0742 753423 * £25.99 * Reviewed AF42 55%

The regular version of this was a disappointing retreat into the ancient domain of games such as Pole Position. Needless to say, it didn't drive like the real thing. The A1200 version, on the other hand, has a significantly improved frame-rate and a slight graphics enhancement to its credit.

Driving in the game is now smoother and faster and there's even a new sequence to amuse you when you're waiting for repair in the pit-lane. What hasn't changed is its terrible playability. The lack of a decent mouse steering system means you're stuck with the digital input of a regular joystick. That's unless you've got an analogue model, but buying one for the sake of Mansell's World Championship would be ridiculous.

To top it all, Mansell's digitised grin has been slightly enhanced. This gives him the chance to put you off your driving even more by interjecting during practice with peals of wisdom such as: "Avoid objects" and, "Try keeping on the road." Thanks for those, Nige.


Der Turbo-Turbo

Nigel Mansell's World Championship AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Auf Standard-Amigas führ der Formel-1-Weltmeister der Konkurrenz ja eher hinterher, doch nun legt Nigel den 1200er-Turbogang ein - und holt tatsächlich auf!

Wie im Testbericht der Januar-Ausgabe nachzulesen, könnte die PS-Hatz am A500 kaum überzeugen. Zwar würden und werden so ziemlich alle erdenklichen Racing-Features (Qualifikation, Fahrzeug Tuning, komplette Rennsaison, 16 Kurse etc.) aufgeboten, doch die Spielbarkeit kam dennoch nicht richtig aus den Startlöchern.

Anders bei der speziellen 1200er-Version; Die Computergegner sind zwar kaum intelligenter und das Fahrverhalten des eigenen Boliden auch nicht realistischer geworden, doch die merklich buntere 3D-Grafik flutscht nun deutlich williger über den Screen, endlich gibt's richtiges Strassenbeiwerk zu sehen, und bei Boxenstops wieseln neuerdings gar animierte Figuren um die Karosse herum.

Musik und FX würden überarbeitet, und dank optimierter Diskroutinen fallen die Nachladezeiten jetzt deutlich kürzer aus.

Die erste Startreihe mit "Lotus III" und "Formula 1 Grand Prix" bleibt freilich trotz des tunings ungefährdet, bloß lauft Gremlins Serien-Renner am A1200 ja gar nicht erst an, und die Microprose-Raserei ist doch eher was für Simulations-Freaks.

Und damit ist Nigel Mansell die eigene Fan-gemeinde sicher: Raser mit 1200PS und Hang zu schneller Bildschirmaction kommen am englischen Champion kaum vorbei! (rl)



Nigel Mansell's World Championship AGA logo AGA

World Champion he may be - but can Nigel be overtaken?

The A1200, eh? (etc) More colours, more memory, faster processor - all that's fab stuff to be sure, but the very best thing about it is that it gives us the chance to review everything twice. Tim's already seized the opportunity to say that he didn't think Zool 1 was all that good actually, and now I'm going to do much the same for Nigel Mansell's World Championship.

Our original review (by the self-same Tim, in fact) gave this 78% on the grounds that it was "good fun to play", which is a good enough reason in my book, but the fact is, it isn't. Sorry, Tim.

Y'see, for a game to be fun (in my opinion) there has to be some sense of achievement as you play through it, and for that you need some kind of challenge. I played the original version of the game only very briefly,. So, I was expecting a fairly tough time when I loaded this up, driving games not really being my strength (I'm morally opposed to the concept of having to slow down sometimes for the tricky corners - that's not what games are about, mate), but at first I thought I'd accidentally started the game on 'Junior Beginner Idiot' level.

Without turning my car, doing any practice or having a go at 'Improve With Mansell' ("Drive Faster! Do Not Hit Things!"). I dived straight in, got a pole position qualifying time despite spending most of the qualifying lap driving cross-country, then proceeded to win each of the next three races by at least three-quarters of a lap (which isn't bad in a three-lap race) without really trying. I got bored after that.

Even if you're really crap, though, this still isn't any fun. If you do manage to get yourself stuck behind some opposition, you'll be alternately frustrated at how difficult it is to pass cars which are half the width of the track, and surprised at how if you hit them hard enough you can go straight through like they weren't there at all.


Drive faster! Do not hit things!

What's really odd is that this game has achieved the level of success it has when there's obviously superior stuff out there. F1GP shouldn't need me to tell you how good it is by now, but Vroom looks lots nicer than Nigel's (there's more varied scenery for a start), it sounds far better, it's just as fast, it's got more depth and there's a lot more opposition to battle with. Yet it sold nothing at all. Life, eh?

But hey, maybe all this isn't going to persuade you. Maybe you're a NMWC fan, just bought an A1200, and wondering if it's worth buying this again. After all, Gremlin claim "enhanced graphics (additional pit animation not featured in original Amiga version!), faster frame rate and greatly improved disk management".

For confirmation, I checked with Tim, Tim? "Hmm, I'm not sure if those clouds were there before, I think that might be now. It's not significantly faster, as far as I can tell. Off the top of my head, I can't really see ay noticeable improvements."

I'm with Tim on this one. While I'm quite prepared to be proved technically wrong (scientific tests clearly showing 55 rather than 50 frames a second, a man with a stopwatch pointing out of a three-second decrease in loading times, that kind of thing), the simple fact is that this doesn't feel at all different to the original game. And I think we've covered that pretty adequately already.



Nigel Mansell's World Championship CD32 logo CD32

Gremlin * £25.99 * Out now

Nigel Mansell's World Championship is an arcade-style race game with 16 circuits from around the world to tackle. You can get started straight away by racing a single circuit. There is a car tuning section which can be ignored but if you like a tune, you can make adjustments to the aerofoil and such like.

Racing itself is simple enough. The control is intuitive and the joypad works better than your average joystick. The CD version is similar to the A1200 game, although it's slightly quicker and eight audio tracks have been added. Believe it or not, they're not bad.

This is not the best racing game around (F1 Grand Prix is, of course) but it's by no means the worst you'll play, and at least Gremlin have seen fit to charge less than £30



Nigel Mansell's World Championship CD32 logo CD32

Während es mit den "richtigen" Neuerscheinungen für Commos CD-Konsole immer noch recht zäh vorangeht, können wir Euch hier schon vier brandneue CD32-Versionen von älteren Amiga-Titeln (Arabian Nights, Deep Core, John Barnes European Football & Nigel Mansell's World Championship) präsentieren!

Gremlins sowieso schon recht hübsche Formel-I-Raserei wurde gegenüber der A1200-Version grafisch und akustisch nochmals aufgebohrt! Vor dem Start sucht man sein Gefährt in der gewünschten Ausstattung aus, anschließend hat man die freie Wahl zwischen 16 Grand-Prix-Kursen, wobei die mit fetziger Musik und Motorengeheul unterlegten Strecken aus einer farbenfrohen Mischung von sanft scrollenden Vektor- und Bitmapgrafiken bestehen.

Einziges, aber gewichtiges Manko der 59 Ölflecken teuren Rennzirkus ist sein viel zu harmloser Schwierigkeitsgrad. Nach dem Absenken der Zielflagge leuchten daher auf der Anzeigetafel doch wieder "nur" 70 Prozent auf. (md)



Nigel Mansell's World Championship CD32 logo CD32

Gremlin, £29.99

I'm beginning to get a bit worried by the way that old Amiga games are getting re-released for the CD32 in basically unaltered form, but having their prices hiked up by four quid. A CD costs less to make than 2 floppy disks (which is how many the £25.99 A1200 version of Nigel Mansell's came on), so what's the excuse for a price increase when the game (in this incarnation) is now seven months old?

You'd expect it to be ready for a compilation/budget outing, not to be getting more expensive as time went on. And don't tell me the CD soundtracks cost a fortune either, because I won't believe you.

Anyway, this is more or less the same game as the A1200 version before it, but with better (sound-quality-wise, at least) music, and as such I don't particularly like it. It's very fast and the graphics are impressively big, but it's miles too easy and it's got no character about it at all.

This month's F1 outstrips it in pretty much every department, but Nigel's is more or less the only CD32 racing game out right now so if you really can't wait for some driving action, I suppose it's your best bet.