colors, smooth textures and an almost cartoony appearance gives
Formula 1 Arcade a unique guise. Not Ridge Racer, more an Actua
Golf 2 look, strange as that would seem. This mode could never be
accused of being a simulation, more a out and out, tear-arse,
cut-corner, smash-your-opponent-to-oblivion racing thrash and the
appearance suits the purpose.
There are plenty of amazing effects to enjoy from the tyre marks
that burn into the tarmac (and remain there for the entire race)
and the sparks that spit from your engine, to the spectacular
collisions which on one occasion lifted my car high into the air,
over the barrier, only to land in the pit lane.
If there's one complaint I have with Arcade mode, it's the lack of
feeling any real speed. It's not sluggish by any means and
everything appears to be moving at a fair old frame rate, it's
just that travelling along the long straights of Hockenheim at
120mph feels the same as covering the same ground at over 200mph.
Perhaps it only lacks the feeling of acceleration. Against that,
it's probably fast enough for younger players, especially when you
reach the more demanding circuits, therefore we speed freaks will
have to settle for the more adventurous Grand Prix mode.
engines backed by a selection of rock soundtracks that combine
synthesizers, guitars and drums to provide an up-tempo beat at a
pace that gets the adrenaline pumping.
Entering the sound option screen brings up a tasty looking CD
player where a every conceivable effect can be tampered with,
track selection, style, sound effects and commentary. F1 '97 can
be programmed for Mono, Stereo, Q Sound or Dolby Surround.
There are two types of commentary available in Arcade mode. Murray
Walker will respond to every single mishap by stating the obvious
with quips such as 'He's into the barriers' and 'He obviously
mis-timed his braking and ended up colliding with the car in
front'. Come on Murray, this is arcade racing. There is also an
Arcade commentator who screams out a selection of one liners such
as 'Hey, watch it pal!', 'Did you get his licence number' and '
That sucks! Wipeout!' Thankfully this idiot can be switched off
completely. Be grateful for small mercies.
far we have determined that Arcade appears with a fresh new look.
So how does it play? Let's find out.
Selection of Arcade mode brings forward another menu screen where
you may select to enter an Arcade competition or test your speed
in Time Attack mode.
Time Attack is an arcade style race with no other drivers in which
you simply race against the clock and attempt to beat your
previous lap times. There are three difficulty levels which are
divided into groups of five racing circuits.
An Arcade competition features a style of racing that allows you
to simply pick up and play. The cars are more robust and easier to
handle than GP mode and you are racing against the clock as well
as other drivers. A clock counts down from the centre of the
screen with extensions awarded for good checkpoint and lap times.
Similar to Time Attack there are three difficulty levels. The
first group includes circuits that are recognized by their long
straights and high speeds which are Hockenheim, Silverstone,
Imola, Barcelona and Montreal. The medium section includes
Estoril, Nürburgring, Hungaroring, Magna Cours and Monza. The
most difficult tracks are deemed to be Suzuka, Buenos Aires,
Interlagos and Jerez. To progress within each section you must
finish in the top six where points are awarded from ten down to
one. The remaining three circuits are hidden within a fourth
section titled Epic. To gain access to these sections a player
must amass enough race points in the 3 other sections. Finish
first on each circuit and you will begin to reveal bonus tracks.
There are eleven cars to select from, one from each constructor.
Every car has different handling which is displayed in a bar
format denoting the amount of speed, grip, acceleration and
braking capacities. Gears may be selected to be automatic or
A final option screen allows you to calibrate the Analog control
pad, save your progress to a memory card, set up the CD player and
screen. Finally it's time to race. Phew!
Starting from the back of the grid you get a three second
countdown, which is just enough time to check out the on-screen
info. Race position, best time, lap time, lap number/remaining
laps, rev counter, gears and speedometer. Yep, nothing missing
As you scream down the opening straight everything appears in
order. Here comes the first corner, I'll just give the brakes a
little nudge... Weeeeey! Powerslides! Not only that but you don't
even have to time them. Just hit that brake and away you go,
cutting corners and sliding sideways through chicanes. When
overtaking an opponent just clip his rear tyre and watch him
cartwheel down the track before dusting himself down and charging
straight back into the action. It's like a scene from a James Bond
movie. Although Arcade mode is not to be taken too seriously it
will still provide a stern test to win each race to unlock the
secret tracks. Pure arcade, pure fun.
Arcade mode can also be played in the all new two player
split-screen mode. This can be viewed either horizontally or
vertically and will surely add to the lastability of the game.
Unfortunately the two player game only includes a head to head
mode and as there is no catch up option you will find that you
will probably complete an entire race before you see each other
again. That is, unless your equally matched.
many other arcade racers offer 18 circuits, 22 drivers, 11 cars,
Time Attack, Arcade Competition, 2 player split-screen and not
forgetting to mention the bonus and secret tracks?
Most people will buy Formula 1 '97 for the Grand Prix mode, but if
that option proves too stern a challenge then you will not be
disappointed with the amount of gameplay included in Arcade mode.
Value for money? You bet!
of my time will be spent playing GP mode but the kids will love
Arcade mode. Don't be fooled into thinking that this will be easy
to complete, as it will still take a fair amount of skill to
finish each course in the allowed time. The two player split
screen is more suitable to this mode as you will have great fun
smashing each other off the track, but a catch-up would have been