Total time played: 10 Hours
Short review: Billed as a racing simulator it is more of a generic racing game with simple controls.
Interesting links related to Ferrari Grand Prix
There isn’t one. But, I’ll make one up.
You are the new guy on the track and have to prove yourself in your rookie season over 16 courses around the world to win the most points at the end of the year and be crowned the F1 champion.
The controls are simple. A goes, B stops and the D-Pad steers. If you really want to torture yourself you can select to play with a 3 speed manual transmission where Up and Down shirt gears. There is an advantage of the car’s top speed being 10km/h faster if you select the manual transmission but it isn’t worth the headache.
Also, you can forget about braking with the B button as I never once used it in the embarrassing number of hours I played this game. In fact, it wasn’t until today (8/25/19) when my daughter woke up from her nap and came into the living room and saw me playing the game and wanted to play that I noticed the car had a brake light. Instead of racing the track she was obsessed with hitting the B button and saying “ray uh uh bake ight” (red circle brake light) and driving the car in the grass. She didn’t care about winning a race.
Before each race you must do a single lap around the track to prove you are worthy to drive in the race. Before the race begins you will see the track record and the slowest time needed to qualify. Qualifying is a joke. Of the 16 races (and dozens and dozens of attempts) only 3 things happened during the qualifying lap.
- I barely let my tire run into the grass for a split second somewhere on the lap and did not qualify for the race.
- I qualified for the race but start in 26th position (last place)
- I raced a near perfect lap, cutting corners, never letting off the gas and was fast enough to start the race in 18th place.
Seriously, those are the only 3 scenarios, in fact, I would venture to say it is impossible to get the pole position on any of the qualifying laps. If anyone has a video of someone doing this I’d love to see it.
To Rub Is To Race
Your car is red, the other racers are red, blue or yellow. There doesn’t seem to be any other distinctions between the cars. The goal is to finish in first place, or as close to first as possible. The first 6 place finishers earn points toward their season total with first place being 10 points, 6th place being 1 point and 2nd-5th place getting some number of points between 1 and 10.
Of the 16 courses in the game I finished first in exactly 1 race. I’m honestly not sure if this is because I’m just not good at this game or if it is rigged like qualifying where you just aren’t capable of winning sometimes.
Pretty much every track looks just like this.
Ahead of Its Time
While racing there were a couple of neat little things that were pointless, but inventive.
First, there is a rearview mirror where you can see behind your car. This is the earliest game I can remember having this feature. Unfortunately it is very small and only shows a car for a split second before it blows right past you. It is pretty pointless, but still cool to have.
Below the rearview mirror is a radio which displays text of hazards on the track such as oil, lets you know if your tires need to be changed and congratulates you for making a good move by passing a racer or scolding you for making a bad move.
There is also a map of the track that shows where on the map you are as well as the 3 racers in first second and third place. Using this map is crucial to know when sharp turns are coming or if you are getting close to finishing on the podium.
You start each race with a new set of tires and can basically floor the gas pedal and still easily go around each turn. As you run off the track, hit oil spots or wreck into other cars your tires begin to wear. This happens quickly and you will notice that it is much harder to control the car which requires you to make a pit stop. The pit stop is a mini game where you alternate between the A and B buttons as quickly as possible while 8 guys remove and replace your tires.
Just like a real pit stop the other racers keep going and you will lose a few places while you pit. I read online of a guy who could get through the pit stop in about 2.5 seconds. I averaged 4.5 and was as slow as 6 seconds. I guess my reflexes just aren’t what they used to be.
The good thing is, the more you play the better you get at the game and the better you get the less you have to make a pit stop. In fact, on my final run, most races I never once had to pit which meant I saved several seconds and usually finished in a higher position.
That Yellow Car!!
I never found a rhyme or reason, but, every few races one of the yellow cars that was around position 10 would randomly burst into flames and wildly ping pong back and forth across the track. If you touch this car you also catch on fire and the race immediately ends. The car isn’t usually on fire as you approach it and when it bursts into flames you have less than a second to maneuver perfectly. More times than not I failed and this ended the race for me.
Thank Goodness For The Password
After each race you get a password that allows you to restart the game from that race and ranking. If it weren’t for this I don’t know if I could have finished the game. Much like in Prince of Persia I used the strategy of practicing a race until I mastered it and then capturing the password. I would then do the same with the next race using the password to restart when needed. This way I could practice each race multiple times without having to start over.
The one headache with the password is that it doesn’t save your name. So, each time after entering the password you have to re-enter your name.
The Final Standings
A perfect score would be beating all 16 races in first place and earning 160 points. I finished the game 57 points. Thankfully the game is forgiving in this way as I don’t know how long it would have taken to win all 16 races. At least one race ended because I caught fire and at least one race I didn’t qualify so didn’t even get a chance. Yet another race ended when I was too far back to win so the race ended.
That is another interesting feature. Every time you would hit a checkpoint your radio would set a race position limit, if you dropped below that limit at any time the race ends. I’m not sure why this feature existed, my guess is because of system limitations. The game may not have been able to have 26 finishers and record their times and position, this way the game only has to display the top 6 finishers of each race.
As far as racing games go this one is very mediocre. The music is subpar and the action isn’t nearly as good as a game like R.C. Pro Am or Rad Racer. I did like that you raced through an entire season and your results were cumulative, but it wasn’t enough to save the game.
The graphics were pretty bland with only the top half of the screen really changing between races. sure, I saw the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa and some bridges throughout the 16 levels but 80% of the screen never changed.
It may be worth racing once or twice just to say you did but I wouldn’t bother trying to complete the game unless you are a glutton for punishment.