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Electronic Arts broke all of the rules when it was the first developer to release an accurate Formula 1 game at the start of a season, rather than (as with Psygnosis efforts), waiting until its almost over. Six months later they are back with an update of this racing simulation that incorporates a sack full of extras, sure to keep petrol-heads happy during the winter months.
For those of you who already own F1 2000, you will want to know what's new... Basically the only major additions are the TRAINING and SCENARIO modes. To save you a little time, we have summarized every single enhancement in the FEATURES section below.
The graphics in F1 Championship Season 2000 are exceptional. All 17 tracks that made up the 2000 Formula 1 racing season are remarkably realistic, capturing every straight, corner and bump of the actual circuits. From the ever-popular streets and tunnels of Monte Carlo to the new Indianapolis circuit, all of the grandstands, advertising hoarding, even cities on the horizon have been carefully recreated.
There are five selectable viewing angles ranging from first person to above and behind vehicle. What is immediately noticeable from the out of car view is how realistic the vehicle looks. Everything from the deep groves in the tyre grips, right through to the team logos and coloring has been perfectly replicated. The in-car view shows the drivers hands steering frantically at the wheel, engine revs rising via five small LEDs and two rear view mirrors. Regular updates of race position, lap times, gap times, speed and gear shift appear on screen in whichever viewing angle you choose.
Weather effects are remarkably realistic, which range from bright skies to overcast and rain. On wet circuits the glow from the rear of the car reflects across the shiny surface, while spray from the car in front is visibly lifted and thrown back into your drivers face. On the grid at the start of a race the heat from the engine actually distorts the view presenting a wavy heat haze through the center of the vehicle. Accidents are usually spectacular with heavy smashes displacing sections of the car onto the track and even removing a wheel. Limping back to the pits in such a state is not only a chore but also highly embarrassing.
During the race all you can hear are the realistic engine noises and voices from the pit-crew relaying key information about the state of your car and racing strategy. And it works!
Players are offered the opportunity of entering a Quick Race, Time Trial, Race Weekend or full Championship. Inner options allow the race to be finely tuned to your personal preferences. This means you can switch off all aids and virtually thrash your way around the tracks almost arcade style. However most gamers will want to enjoy the realism of Formula 1 by changing the weather to realistic, difficulty to expert, laps to half or full and switch fuel, flags, tyre wear, failures and damage firmly on.
Each racing event includes the options of a test day, practice, qualify or race. You can even customize your own grid positions slotting your most hated drivers right to the back of the grid. Before heading off trackside your race strategy must be set up. Tyre compound and number of fuel stops may be judged against a three-day weather forecast.
Qualifying takes place in real time within a one hour session, but the clock can be speeded up to the last ten minutes where all the real action happens. Within the pits most parts of the car can be adjusted to hopefully improve performance. This includes front and rear downforce, gear ratio, steering lock, front and rear suspension, brake balance and ride height. To help keep the car balanced each adjustment is shown on an acceleration, grip, speed and braking slide-scale, summarizing just how the general performance is being affected.
At the start of the race the adrenaline really starts pumping whether you are situated in pole position or right at the back of the line. Both have their pressures. On pole it is important to hold your line until reaching the first corner. Meanwhile at the rear weaving through the customary pile up is a skill in it's own right.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LIST REPRESENTS ALL OF THE ENHANCEMENTS MADE OVER THE F1 2000 GAME RELEASED EARIER THIS YEAR BY EA SPORTS
· SCENARIO MODE - You are placed in actual situations from the 2000 season and must complete a specific objective to move on to the next test. The first one has you playing as Villeneuve in the B.A.R car - Starting from 8th position you must finish within the first four places in a 16 lap race around the Melbourne track.
· TRAINING MODE - This wonderful teaching aid is almost worth the price of the game on its own. You will be shown the optimum way to race each track and then advised on how to master it using both visual aids and a rolling commentary of your performance through each corner. At the end of a session you will be graded on how well you have done.
· Faster, smoother single and 2 Player modes - including full driving assist options
· Handling Improvements & Modifications - 'real' suspension model allowing cars to leave ground over bumps and in collisions
· Dynamic Camera Views - Subtle forward & backward movement in chase/tail cam to emphasise braking/acceleration
· Additional Failures and Car Damage - e.g. oil leaks, punctures, loss of gears
· Changeable Weather - e.g. starts dry, but rain occurs mid race
· Improved Slipstreaming - Both Player and AI cars benefit from a 'tow'
· New graphical effects - e.g. smoke turbulence, dust clouds, reflections on wet track, moving flags and camera flashes in crowds
· New Cockpit models
· Interactive pit-stops and reactive pit strategies
· Improved telemetry with full onscreen action replay in background
· Revised difficulty levels with automatic level of difficulty balancing
· Improved engine and ambient SFX
· Full tyre wear effects - Flat-spots, temperature/wear rate
· Expanded reactive AI controlled commentary
· Post race & season performance graphs
· Fully updated cars & tracks e.g Last minute 2000 season track alterations and track-side advertising hoardings
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 3
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): Yes (2)
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes