Formula 1 97 (known as Formula 1 Championship Edition in the United States) is the second game in the Formula One game series. This games was more of an evolution of the original Formula One than a brand new game. However, it had several new features, including a cockpit camera view (complete with dirt and flies hitting the visor, with the player having to remove the driver's tear-off strips), if playing on the Play Station, the use of the joystick and the introduction of a co-commentator (in both the U.K. and U.S. versions, this was Martin Brundle). Setting up the car became more intricate. Formula One 97 was developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Psygnosis.
The game was the first in the series to have a specific driver on the front cover, Michael Schumacher appearing on the front of the '97 cover, however the Prost car of Olivier Panis appeared instead on the cover of the French version, with Jean Alesi's Benetton appearing on the Japanese cover.
Formula 1 97 contained an "arcade" mode which felt like a completely separate game. Handling was totally different, with the emphasis placed on powersliding. In the simulation mode (or "Grand Prix" mode as shown on the menu), it also saw the introduction of more realistic elements such as flags and car failures.
It is seen as having achieved the best possible balance between realism and fun. Some still say that it is the best Formula One game to date. However, this was the last Formula One game to be made by the Bizarre Creations team, who moved on to create the highly successful Metropolis Street Racer and Project Gotham Racing.
The game was hit by legal wranglings with the FIA (Formula One's governing body) objecting to the use of the FIA logo on the game's packaging. The game was withdrawn from the shops six weeks after its release. It was re-released without the offending logo, but the FIA were still unhappy. However, the FIA lost this court case, and the game continued to be sold without the logo.F1 Racing magazine, December 1997 issue, page 20, British edition as imported to America Another problem faced was the use of the name and image of then Williams F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve, after he had copyrighted both. The game listed him (and Murray Walker calls him) "Williams Numberone", and had simply a silhouette as the driver's image (this problem however was easily sidestepped by the addition of a driver name edit function, this idea proved popular and re-appeared in Formula 1 98, but unfortunately was not used for any of the following games). The driver name edit function is also used to enter cheats, such as unlocking 4 extra tracks (60's Silverstone, back-to-front versions of Adelaide and the TI Circuit at Aida and a made-up track called Sunob (bonus spelt backwards). Other cheats are raining frogs and the cars having the ability to hover.
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