1 broke all records when it was released last year to become the
fastest selling title of 1996. Not only was it hailed as the best
racer available on any console, it also proved to be the most
controversial. Following the initial euphoria created by the
superb graphics, multiple options, excellent commentary, smart AI,
amusing secrets, not forgetting to mention the abundance of racing
circuits and drivers, Formula 1 came in for fair amount of
criticism as a few cracks began to appear.
Gameplayer's took to their soap boxes and proclaimed that the
game was bugged.
During a full Grand Prix some drivers began to pit-stop after
every single lap, while others appeared to have been charged with
a Duracell battery and just kept going on... and on... and on,
therefore reducing the challenge.
There were other minor irritations concerning the lack of a
visible fuel gauge and lap counter, an unpredictable replay mode
and the fact that when cars sustained damaged they became easier
Psygnosis responded to these accusations by stating that
Formula 1 was always meant to be an Arcade racer with a wide array
of simulation elements.
My opinion of these concerns is that although Formula 1 was
not perfect, it still stands as the best racer on the
Playstation.... that is, until now.
Psygnosis and Bizarre Creations have taken the original game
and stretched the gap between Arcade and Grand Prix mode so far
apart that an Indy 500 race could easily slot in the middle.
Arcade mode now allows your car to power-slide around the
corners, while collisions will now result in spectacular crashes
that will see vehicles upended and sent performing cartwheels down
the racing circuit.
Simulation mode will take an age to master with the inclusion
of engine fires, axle wear and mechanical failures, while careless
drivers will see track marshals raising their flags to disqualify
them from the race. Collisions with opponents must now be avoided
as the loss of airfoils will greatly reduce the handling of your
car making a pit-stop essential and no longer improving your
In effect Psygnosis have provided us with a Formula 1 racing
game that seems to say, 'you asked for it... you got it... now
get on with it'.
The build up begins with an opening FMV that shows a F1 car
tearing through a street circuit with blinding sun beams
flickering over the paintwork backed by a haunting orchestration
that builds to a crescendo. Short but effective.
All 17 racing circuits that make up the 1997 Grand Prix
season are present and accounted for plus one bonus track. This is
due to safety regulation work being carried out at Estoril,
Portugal, therefore an alternative venue, which has not held a GP
since 1994, has been included and is one of the 'never seen
before' tracks, Jerez in Southern Spain. Other new tracks are
Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia and the A-1 Ring in Austria.
The '94, '95 World Champion Michael Schumacher returns behind
the wheel of the Ferrari, while last years champion Damon Hill
seeks his 22nd GP win in the Arrows Yamaha. Jacques Villeneuve is
conspicuous by his absence and is named as 'the Canadian' or 'the
No.1 driver' for last seasons winning constructor, Williams
Renault. Following a poor performance in this years Melbourne GP,
the Lola Ford team has pulled out of the competition for financial
reasons and is reflected by their omission from F1 '97, leaving
only 22 drivers to compete.
Formula 1 '97 is compatible with the new Sony Analog joypad
and will work with the Mad Catz steering wheel for both modes of
play. The two modes are Arcade and Grand Prix which could easily
have been released as separate games, therefore I will treat them