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Game Over Online ~ Official Formula 1 Racing

GameOver Game Reviews - Official Formula 1 Racing (c) Eidos Interactive, Reviewed by - Jube

Game & Publisher Official Formula 1 Racing (c) Eidos Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 133, 32 MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 72%
Date Published Thursday, June 3rd, 1999 at 07:14 PM

Divider Left By: Jube Divider Right

On the eve of the North American release of Monaco GP 2, Eidos Interactive has come out with its own take on the F1 racing genre. Official F1 Racing, as the name implies, is one of the few games to carry the F1 license. It features all of the drivers, courses and teams that participated in the 1998 FOA season. Whereas this area was one of Monaco’s biggest weakness, OF1R uses the full license to its advantage, producing an extremely solid first effort which no doubt will build into a successful series of games. Though OF1R has its flaws, it certainly will give Monaco 2 a run for its money once both are distributed in North America.

The graphics engine is substandard. There is really no other way to put it. In an apparent attempt to push framerate over graphic detail, OF1R offers a somewhat dull visual experience. One unique feature, the pop-up window, displays the action around the track in a small window to the upper right of the screen in TV like format. This feature will no doubt receive mixed reviews among gamers. I liked it at first, but it quickly became a distraction during the race. The best usage the TV popup is in multiplayer, where it provides updates of the location of other racers. However in single player it is best to turn it off. Another groovy feature unique to OF1R is the helicopter tour of each course. A small helicopter takes you on a short but informative tour of all the tracks in OF1R. This provides an excellent top down view of the entire layout, which helps incredibly when you finally get racing. The rest of the graphics in OF1R are substandard in comparison to Monaco 2. The effect used for rainwater thrown up by the cars is terrible. The race menu both looks poor and is badly organized. Another glaring flaw is the relatively small amount of usable racing views available. There are over 10 in-game views, but they are more for show than for actual racing. Whereas Monaco 2 spoiled gamers with 6-8 usable views OF1R only offers 2: the cockpit and behind the car. The other angles, ranging from helicopter to stationary track cameras, while good for replays are useless during the race. If Eidos is thinking sequel for this title (which no doubt they are) improving the graphics engine should be the first order of business.

The in-game audio is adequate at best. I was slightly disappointed with the high-pitched engine whine. Designers take note; this single aspect defines the audio experience of your game, so crank that sumbitch up. I did like the English race announcer’s speeches during the helicopter tours, it was both convincing and helpful. While racing I found it difficult to easily locate cars behind me by the sound of the engines, a feature I had grown accustomed to in Monaco 2.

Gameplay itself is divided up into the usual Arcade/Realistic modes. The Arcade mode is where OF1R outshines Monaco 2 in a big way. Probably the worst feature of Monaco 2 was the extremely poor attempt at Arcade racing modes. Instead of altering the physics or increasing wheel traction Monaco 2 used a variety of speed and turning guides that essentially drove your car around the track for you. This "auto-pilot" was neither fun nor effective, and it forced gamers to move directly into the Simulation modes. The result was a learning curve so steep that few people, except for the really hardcore F1 gamers, could master. This is definitely not the case with OF1R. The Arcade modes are both forgiving and semi-realistic. You can bump and nudge other cars on the course with totally wiping out, but you must brake and steer heavily to navigate successfully around the tracks. I was very pleased to see OF1R’s obvious attempt at providing what Monaco 2 could not, a gradual learning curve. Once into Simulation mode the difficulty of driving increases substantially. A racing wheel is all but required to compete with the aggressive AI. Though good the Simulation play in OF1R is not great. Monaco 2 has a heavy advantage in terms of quality of gameplay and replay value.

Multiplay is offered through Eidosnet, Mplayer and direct tcp/ip support. Here is another area that OF1R comes through with that Monaco 2 totally fell flat on its face. You have the choice of taking on a friend directly or hooking up to Eidosnet and racing against a bunch of jerks you never met. The latency is fine, just be sure to setup the game properly before you connect. Any changes during the game will boot your machine out of the game, and force you to reconnect.

So without the mind-humpingly good graphics and a sub-par simulation mode is OF1R worth the ride? Yeah, pretty much. If you were frustrated with Monaco 2, go ahead and try this one. It is worth a few laps around the track, if not for the pretty eye candy but the thrill of passing Team Ferrari on the last lap at Monaco. The ball is in Monaco’s court now to repair the damage they’ve and get competitive in the areas that OF1R exceeds in.

What Official Formula 1 Racing (OF1R) got that Monaco don’t got:

  • Official F1 License
  • Well Implemented Arcade Mode
  • Gradual Learning Curve
  • That Sporty Helicopter

    What Monaco got that OF1R don’t got:

  • True Balls Simulation Mode
  • Excessive Attention to Detail
  • Career Modes/Replay Value
  • Excellent Graphics


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