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Eidos Interactive, the company behind the immensely successful Tomb Raider, are yet another games company to have gained an official F1 license from FIA. By my reckoning there are presently three such licenses for the Playstation system, with the other two currently held by Psygnosis and EA Sports.
Competition is certain to be fierce as Psygnosis already have a four year track record behind them and continue to hold the trump card with the excitable tones of race commentator Murray Walker.
EA Sports may be new to Formula 1, but their curriculum vitae of racing titles would impress the best. Their launch of F1 2000 is set to coincide with this game, so make sure you check out both of our reviews this week to avoid any confusion.
F1 World GP has been developed by Lankhor (Paris) who created the Mega Drive racer that was the first Formula 1 game to hold the official Fuji licence. The fact that they have already been involved with another F1 title should hold them in good stead. Let's see if it does.
Sound and Vision:
As far as intros go F1 World GP has nothing to worry about. It comfortably nestles up there with the best of them and duly sets the scene perfectly. At times you could easily become confused and think that you are watching real live footage, only to suddenly spot a few tell-tale signs that give the game away. This only goes to raise your expectations higher... so you know a drop is coming, but just how far?
The option screens certainly have depth and will take an age to plough through. Perhaps this is to push home the point that F1 World GP probably has the most realistic set-up system seen in any PSX racing game as most things can be tweaked and tuned. But it's not all facts and figures... visually a lot of effort has gone into the presentation with fully animated garage sequences and a 3D showroom. Sadly longish loading times must be endured should you choose to browse through them.
So with things looking good at the opening we head off down to track side and prepare for the real action. Before a race begins the camera rolls over then entire starting line up and finally settle behind your chosen driver. So far... so good. From this point there are four choices of viewing angles. When driving with the camera set to the in-car mode the drivers hands can be seen steering the wheel and you can visibly watch the non working, blank instrument panel. Wowee! I find this first person perspective slightly daunting and recommend it only be tried after many, many hours of practice. The reason being is that the tracks have many humps and hollows, which distort your view ahead and make cornering difficult. The two outer views were my preference.
Once again all of the circuits that make up the Formula 1 racing season are remarkably realistic, featuring every straight, corner and bump of the real tracks. They have supposedly been modelled to the finest detail using official surveyor maps, where there is a camber at Silverstone, there is a camber in the game. Who am I to doubt?
First impressions visually, I wasn't too disturbed. However, it's worth pointing out that the scenery is quite grainy and the corners are not entirely rounded. Also, the vehicles look way out of proportion, seeming much too long in relation to the track. The effects from skidding (which happens often) are a little over exaggerated, but there are a few nice touches following an accident where sections of the bodywork begin to fall off and dangle dangerously as you limp around the circuit.
There's not much to mention regarding the sound effects as there is no commentary during the race. What you do get it occasional calls from the pit crew and a bundle of tried and tested sound effects such as roaring engines and screeching brakes.
I would say that graphically I have seen worse. It's the gameplay where the real problems begin....
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