Ferrari Formula One - Grand Prix Racing Simulation
Copyright/Publisher: Electronic Arts, Programmed by: Imagitec Design,
Software Design: Rick Koenig,
Coding & Sound Effects: David Chiles, Music:
Barry Leitch, Graphics: M.Hanrahan & A.Ludley,
Producer: Jocelyn Ellis, Assistant
Producer: John Roberts, Package Photography: Paul-Henri Cahier,
Henrik Kam, Release Year: 1989, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1
Drive like Robin Hogg and not get arrested!
Ferrari makes some of the fastest and stunningly designed sports cars in the
world. The Italian car manufacturer (owned by Fiat) also participates in the
glamorous sport of Formula One motor racing.
But with glamour comes danger: witness Gerhardt Berger's horrific crash last
year, caused by a faulty steering system. It only went to prove how the life of
a driver is firmly placed in the hands of his mechanics every time he races.
However, as Ferrari's newest driver, you're not as trustful. You insist on
testing the car thoroughly at the Ferrari test track in Fiorano. Here, you can
analyse the car's aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, adjusting the front and rear
aerofoils to create maximum downforce with minimum drag.
In the dyno room you can test your engine, adjusting the revs, turbocharger,
and engine age - and monitor the effect on horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency.
Fiorano's test track allows you to measure the car's performance (and your driving
skills). There are 45 special sensors placed around the track - you are given a split
time from each sensor to compare with previous laps.
When you're completely happy with your car it's time for your first race, the
Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio. This (like the other 15 Grand Prix) comprises six track
sessions: the first and second day practice and qualifying sessions (faster lap
times earn you a better grid position for the race), and on the third day the
warmup followed by the race itself.
Each racetrack has a paddock area (shown from overhead) containing such things
as the garage, pits, race control, and transport trucks - selected by moving
a the pointer over them.
At the start of each day it's advisable to visit the garage to install a new engine
and, in the pits, adjust various parts of the car (engine, gearbox, suspension, and
tyres) to suit the track and type of session. To help you decide, your faithful
mechanic Mauro makes suggestions for the optimum settings of these systems.
Once on the track, control of steering and acceleration/braking is via the
joystick (the original Amiga version used a mouse). Changing gear is achieved by
pressing fire with up/down (this is automatic on the easiest of three difficulty
A map of the track shows the relative positions of all the cars, while another
display indicates your current race position and time. (C128 owners can turn off
these displays to make the game run slightly faster.)
Taking a corner too fast (or ramming another car) can cause you to spin off the
track - a serious crash can put you in hospital for several days, possibly causing
you to miss a race. If you're not so good behind the wheel, you can choose passenger
mode in which the computer drives the car - you just make tactical decisions such as
choosing when to come into the pits.
The default distance for each race is 18 kms (three or four laps, depending
on the track) - this can be increased up to the real-life (but gruelling!) maximum
of 315km. At the end of the race, championship points are awarded for the first
six finishers (out of the eight drivers).
After sixteen Grand Prix, the World Champion will be the driver with the most
points from his best ten races. As a whole season takes a fairly long time to
complete, there's an invaluable save game option.
This is one of my all-time favourite Amiga games, so I was pleased if a mite
doubtful about a C64 conversion. Could such a complex simulation be converted
without major omissions? I needn't have worried: all the features of the classic
original are here.
There are so many things you can do to your car, altering everything bar the
paintwork. The presentation is supern with detailed static pictures, easy-to-use icon
driven menus, very quick disk accessing, plus a neat loading screen and 'revving'
title tune (better than the Amiga's).
The only slight disappointments are the slowness of the 3-D track and the
'dying wasp' engine noise. However, these minor flaws fail to spoil the racing action,
mainly due to its ultra-realism. The handling of the car is totally authentic:
overtaking and cornering are arts to be mastered - and more often than not I found
myself spinning off the track (straight into a hospital bed!).
This toughness - even on easy level - makes winning a race a rewarding
achievement with the longer term objective of becoming World Champion offering an
irresistable challenge. No motor racing fan should be without Ferrari.
So they think these racing cars are fast? Pah! I can out-accelerate them in neutral.
But after several crates of Vim even I found it hard to stay on the track. What's
more, to get the best out of the car you have to tell your stupid mechanics what
to do with it.
This makes trying to win a race with this primitive technology as sensible as
being a kamikaze pilot. At first I simply enjoyed smashing the other cars off
the track but when Phil had the temerity to win a race I had to prove my superiority.
That's when I really started getting into the game. There's so much to it;
organzing your campaign to win the World Championship right from the early days
at Fiorano, altering the aerodynamics and engine performance, to specially tuning your
engine for qualification heats.
Not one for the typically moronic human, but those with above-average
intelligence might just be able to grasp it (Phil's winning was obviously a fluke!).
The Amiga version was (and still is) superb and here we are with a remarkably
similar 64 version, in fact it's the most faitful conversion I've yet seen.
When you consider how much there was in the original, the conversion is someething
of a miracle.
The attention to detail in Ferrari is phenomenal. Speech at the start, a useful
demo mode, the sheer quality of the graphics, a friendly icon system - this is one
classy product that's for sure! Of course, as with all car simulations the core of
the game is the racing effect and Ferrari performs admirably.
The illusion of movement is convincing, the road perspective working well with
speed kept up to match. It's not quite a Revs for realism but like Phil and me you
can have some great times trying to reach 1st position! A great game which can be
as compex, or as simple as you want it.