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This review of F1GP appeared in the December 1998 issue of Ultimate PC Magazine.

By Ultimate PC Magazine
1 December 1998

Retro Respect

Grand Prix Legends might be wowing the office folk at present with its dazzling graphics and incredibly realistic handling, but where were they - or you, for that matter - back in 1991?

Geoff Crammond, I can reveal, was beavering away putting the finishing touches to an Amiga game that was to stand up as a landmark by which all others would be judged, and it was a long time before anything came close. In fact Formula 1 Grand Prix remained in a class of its own until Geoff himself surpassed it with GP2 some five years later, such was its blend of playability, realism, excitement and attention to detail.

All the teams could be edited, whilst each of the 16 tracks feature in the 1991 championship was accurately reproduced in full un-textured polygon glory. This was before gouraud shading, real-time light sourcing or 300 000 polygons running at 60fps yet it remains - its own sequel apart the most accurate Formula 1 racing simulation available. You could take part in a full Fl season, complete with driver and constructor championships. Races included practice and qualifying sessions, plus the actual race that could be anything from five-percent distance to a full length Grand Prix. Comprehensive set-up options allowed for gear ratios, brakes and wing, front and rear, to be adjusted to suite each circuit, and experienced drivers would have individual set-ups saved for each track.

Driving aids such as braking assistance, correct racing line markers and suggested gear be toggled on and off, and the toughest of the five difficulty settings was enough to give experienced driver a real race. Yet despite being strictly a simulation, it was easy enough to get into and incredibly addictive once you did. It didn't have the advanced physics model of many modern games, but you could drive as if you were in a real car. The satisfaction to be had from putting in a fast lap was unsurpassed at the time. When you got good it came down to 100ths of a second, just like the real thing.

So next time you're staring in awe at the latest PC racing game - some miracle of 3dfx technology - remember the playability, and remember the lowly Amiga was doing it eight years ago.

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This article was written by Ultimate PC Magazine.

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