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Formula One '97

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Released: 1997

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Psygnosis

Developer: Bizarre Creations

Submitted by: Ian Marks

In the mid-nineties I had a period away from gaming. I know, I know, how could I… but forgive me, I was at university and having too much fun drinking, watching Countdown, and drinking a bit more. Anyway to cut a long story short this is the game that made me want to get back into games.

I remember the first time I saw it being played. My jaw literally dropped. Well alright it didn’t literally drop – but if it had I’d have needed expensive dental reconstruction it would have dropped so much.

It tied together two loves of my life – games and Formula One. Bliss.

I was spending a year training to be a teacher at the time, and I instantly did what any self respecting student would do – I took out a student loan to buy a Playstation. I’ve never looked back again, and gaming has once more been a constant in my life ever since.

What about the game. Well  in my humble opinion it was brilliant. The graphics for the day were top class. The car handling felt good, and you could make some fantastic pile ups on the track. My favourite part was how easy it was to cheat. I particularly remember Hockenheim being a good circuit, because you could cut all the chicanes by going across the grass, and gain about ten places.

The game had a real feeling of racing, and it reminded me a bit of Geoff Crammond’s earlier Formula One games on the PC/Amiga. You could play in arcade mode with all sorts of assists available to you, or simulation where you had to control everything. Being  a gaming Jessie I always played in arcade mode. I still don’t think I ever won the championship though.

Most of all the game was fun, and I’ll always be grateful to it for getting me back on track with my gaming life. Try it today and it looks a bit dated, with the graphics that looked pin sharp 12 years ago looking a bit fuzzy. But it’s still an enjoyable romp, and you can’t really say fairer than that for a decade+ old racing game.

Additionally it allows you to re-experience why Formula One was better in the 90’s than today… two words… Murray Walker… the man is a god!

P.S. they then cocked it up with Formula One ’98… which was crap.