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-
In order to supplement his meagre income, Nige has lent his name to the latest go-very-fast-
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.