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F1 World Grand Prix

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Released: 1999

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Video System

Submitted by: James Holian

This game is by far the best, Formula 1 simulator on the Dreamcast. The incredible attention to detail is something to marvel at, as well as the graphical prowess.

Any F1 fan will greatly appreciate the level of detail that each car and track sports. The game has a full license from the FIA which allows them to have all the actual team names (i.e. Ferrari, McLaren, Jordan, etc.) and actual driver names (i.e. Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, etc.) The cars obviously look like each of their real life counterparts, and the tracks are precisely configured as they are in reality. Even the backgrounds and off-track scenery is spot-on in its accuracy. For example, on the track in Austria (the A1 Ring), while driving up the straight that follows turn 1, the horizon line of the mountains are exactly like they are if you watch the Austrian Grand Prix. It's things like this that really put this game in a league of its own. Even the pit stops have wonderfully animated, polygonal crew members who take their proper positions, and carry out their tyre-changing and refuelling tasks.

The number of options in the game are very impressive. Everything from the standard fare of adjusting every possible aspect of the car (front and rear wing angles for down force, transmission gearing, tyre choice, suspension stiffness, etc.), to analysing the telemetry of practice and qualifying laps in order to improve your future lap times, are included.

You can also view the action from almost any possible camera angle. You can have views from any of the following: helicopter, front wing, rear wing, behind the driver's helmet, atop the car, and several others. Altering weather conditions are also an option. Rain effects are wonderful, and it truly alters the handling of the cars (as it should). Given that this is primarily a Formula 1 simulator, the level of difficulty is fairly high. However, auto acceleration and braking, and adjustable opponent AI (artificial intelligence) are also optional, and they work wonderfully. This makes the game desirable for any racing fan, casual or die-hard.