Sunday, September 19, 2010

F-1 World Grand Prix

John Marine | 9/19/2010 01:53:00 AM |
F-1 World Grand Prix for the Nintendo 64 was my gateway to Formula One racing. This game is based on the 1997 F1 World Championship and features all of the tracks and teams (except one specific driver). Here is your chance to race for the coveted Formula 1 World Championship in an intense international championship. This game was made by Videosystem in 1998. I once had this game. Unfortunately, it (along with my other N64 games) got stolen. So all I'm left with are memories of a solid racing game.

This blog entry is my review of "F-1 World Grand Prix" for the Nintendo 64. Please remember that times were MUCH different in 1997 for Formula 1 than today's F1. This is where F1 cars mostly had V10 engines rather than the mostly V8 pack in today's F1.

F-1 World Grand Prix box (USA)
^ from: (best picture I could find) - the American box art for "F-1 World Grand Prix."

--- F-1 World Grand Prix at a Glance ---
Based on the 1997 season, F-1 World Grand Prix from Videosystem (makers of the classic Aero Fighters/Sonic Wings) series. This is actually the fourth game in the F-1 Grand Prix series. The past three titles were all Japanese-only titles in top-down format for the Super Famicom. This, then, is the first 3D installment of this game series. What gives this game its challenge is in the intense racing and outstanding driving dynamics. You can race in either dry conditions up to heavy rain conditions. You can even simulate events from the 1997 season for the ultimate realism. The 1997 Season settings also determines dynamic weather conditions from the 1997 season. Realism also goes into allowing damage and flags to be used. This game will really test you.

If you feel daring, you can try to re-create or rewrite different scenarios from the 1997 season. There are three categories of Challenges in Challenge Mode: Offense (try to battle to finish strong), Defense (defend your position), and Trouble (try to finish strong after facing some sort of adversity). You can race anywhere from four laps to the full race distance. In other words, prepare to EARN your F1 World Championship because it's going to be one intense ride across 17 different venues!

The Drivers and Teams.

The 1997 Formula 1 World Championship: Drivers and Teams
Team (Engine) Drivers
Ferrari (Ferrari V10) Michael Schumacher (GER) Eddie Irvine (GBR)
Benetton F1 (Renault V10) Jean Alesi (FRA) Gerhard Berger (AUT)
McLaren (Mercedes-Benz V10) Mika Hakkinen (FIN) David Coulthard (GBR)
Jordan (Peugeot V10) Ralf Schumacher (GER) Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)
Prost (Mugen Honda V10) Olivier Panis (FRA) Shinji Nakano (JPN)
Sauber (Petronas V10) Johnny Herbert (GBR) Nicola Larini (ITA)
Tyrrell (Ford Cosworth V8) Jos Verstappen (NED) Mika Salo (FIN)
Minardi (Hart V8) Ukyo Katayama (JPN) Jarno Trulli (ITA)
Stewart (Ford Zetec-R V10) Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Jan Magnussen (DEN)
Television Cameraman (use when you want to watch an Exhibition Race)
Arrows (Yamaha V10) Damon Hill (GBR) Pedro Diniz (BRA)
Williams (Renault V10) Driver Williams* (CAN) Heinz-Harald Frentzen (GER)

The driver name with the asterisk is Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion. However, you can edit the name of "Driver Williams" to whatever name you want.

You can look up the career stats for each driver for when the 1997 season concluded. Very few of the racers in this game still race in F1 today. Few of the teams from 1997 are still around (even if some teams re-branded as other teams). You can choose the level of driving you want to use. You can race either with the N64 controller or with a racing wheel (that's if you own a Nintendo 64).

The Tracks.

Those are the teams and drivers. Now, let's look at the tracks you'll be racing on:

The 1997 Formula 1 World Championship: Tracks
Track Event
Albert Park Australian Grand Prix
Interlagos Brazilian Grand Prix
Buenos Aires Argentina Grand Prix
Imola San Marino Grand Prix
Monte Carlo Monaco Grand Prix
Catalunya Spanish Grand Prix
Montreal Canadian Grand Prix
Magny-Cours French Grand Prix
Silverstone British Grand Prix
Hockenheim German Grand Prix
Spa-Francorchamps Belgian Grand Prix
Monza Italian Grand Prix
A-1 Ring Austrian Grand Prix
Nürburgring Luxembourg Grand Prix
Suzuka Japanese Grand Prix
Jerez European Grand Prix

Here is a brief preview of each course. Remember, this game was based on the 1997 season, so the info here is based on the configurations in 1997:
* Albert Park - a very technical temporary road course in Melbourne.
* Interlagos - a punishing Brazilian road course. Most of the second half is a high-speed thrill.
* Buenos Aires - a course with a combination of technical corners and some high-speed straights.
* Imola - a technical course in the city-state of San Marino.
* Monte Carlo - a super-slow romp through the streets of Monte Carlo.
* Catalunya - Spain's imposing Grand Prix course will test even the bravest of drivers.
* Montreal - a high-speed road course on a man-made island. Some challenging corners await you here.
* Magny-Cours - a rhythm race track with a blend of technical corners and high speeds.
* Silverstone - the classic and quintessential grand prix course with tricky corners and high speeds on a mostly flat course.
* Hockenheim - the fastest and most dangerous course in the game. A knife-like configuration boasting intense speeds.
* Hungaroring - Hungary's premier road racing course with some technical corners.
* Spa-Francorchamps - the longest and most exciting race course in the game. Easy to learn, difficult to master.
* Monza - a high-speed thrill ride with a few intense corners. A real test for your engine.
* A-1 Ring - a medium-speed course across the beautiful Austrian countryside.
* Nürburgring - an imposing and challenging German race track. Can you find the best racing line?
* Suzuka - one of the world's most rewarding race tracks to race on. Master this Figure-8, and you'll do just fine.
* Jerez - a popular race track with a unique bunny ear-like layout.

These tracks all present their own unique challenges. Make sure you're ready for all the challenges that await you in the course of the championship.

Car Setup.

As any racing gamer knows, the important thing to remember is that setup is as important to winning as simply racing to win. Make sure your car is set up properly to take on each race of the championship.

You get a default setup you can use for each course based on the track being raced and the conditions of the race. You have seven default settings to choose from based on the kind of track raced. You can also customize your setup for the track being raced. If you are customizing your car's setup, you have no precise control over every nuance of your car's setup. For example, you can't precisely set options such as damper settings, brake balance, etc. Here is a look at the options you CAN set up:

* Fuel - add as much or as little fuel as possible. The amount of fuel may impact the weight of the car. Before the fuel rules of today, teams would start on a light fuel load to try to get up through the field properly.
* Tire/Tyre - change tire types for all four tires. There are two slick and three rain tires. Options: Soft Slick, Hard Slick, Intermediate Rain, Rain, and Heavy Rain.
* Front Wing - modify the front-end downforce of your F1 car.
* Rear Wing - modify the downforce at the rear of your car.
* Gear - select the range of your gear ratio. Shorter ratios are good for short tracks while longer ratios are better for high-speed courses.
* Suspension - modify the suspension of your car. Elevation changes can play a big role as to what suspension setup works best.
* Steering - modify the degrees of steering to be able to steer your car properly. A steering angle too high can increase the likelyhood of a spinout.

--- My Outright Opinion ---
F-1 World Grand Prix is one of the best simulation-type racing games. The racing action is intense and unforgiving. This game plays a huge role in my education of Formula One racing. Without it, I wouldn't have been exposed and a fan of F1. Today's F1 is MUCH more different than the 1997 season here. There are few flaws, if any. It is about as solid of a racing game as one can find. It may even be the best simulation racing game ever for the Nintendo 64. Maybe its only weakness is some of the music and some of the sound effects.

--- A Sequel (Bonus Section) ---
F-1 World Grand Prix II box
^ from: - F-1 World Grand Prix II. ONLY available in Europe.

There was a sequel to this game called "F-1 World Grand Prix II." Unfortunately, it was NEVER released to the United States. It was released in 2000 and only in Europe. The only difference is that the sequel doesn't include Jerez. It also had a nice electronica-style soundtrack as well as a detailed point-by-point overview of each track. The sequel was based on the 1998 Formula 1 World Championship. Different teams and drivers were also featured. It was a shame this game never got to be released in the United States because it would have picked up where the great game I blogged about here left off.

That concludes this blog entry. This game is available to buy on Amazon if you have a Nintendo 64, but if you don't have a Nintendo 64, you can visit Old School Gaming Consoles on John's Shop Space to buy a Nintendo 64 and Nintendo 64 accessories I've found for you on Amazon. Click on the item below to buy "F-1 World Grand Prix" (or learn more about it) on Amazon:

Don't have a Nintendo 64? Visit Old School Gaming Consoles on John's Shop Space to shop for a Nintendo 64 and accessories for it.

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