Grand Prix Circuit
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade/Distinctive Software Inc., Designed By: Don Mattrick & Brad Gour, Art By: John Boechler, Programming By: Frank Barchard & Kevin Pickell, Sound &
Music By: Kris Hatlelid, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1

The company that gave you the fantastic presentation behind Test Drive doesn't hold back in Grand Prix Circuit.

And with six laps to go, it's Nelson Piquet in the lead, closely followed by Mansell in the McLaren, and Arnoux just behind him - they're a good forty seconds in front of the rest of the pack. But what's this? That's incredible! Nigel Mansell has just taken the lead and is roaring away from the champion. And it seems...'

Well, we can all live in hope, can't we? Anyway, there's nothing more exhilarating than hurtling round a race track at 180mph, with the wind whistling through your ears. And wouldn't you just know it, now you can experience the thrill of Formula1 motor racing in your own home. Yipee.

You begin by selecting the type of race you wish to take part in, from the options of Practice, Single Race or Championship Circuit.

Practice has you driving around the track by yourself, getting used to the vehicle, trying out your balaclava and looking important. Single Race and Championship Circuit give you the option to drive in one race only, or participate in the entire season. There are eight courses to choose from and the Circuit takes you right around the lot.

Having selected your particular style of competition, and the vehicle you wish to compete in, the time comes to get down to the business of winning a race.

In Single or Championship Circuit you've got to drive a Qualifying lap against the clock to determine your position, if any, in the starting line-up. From your cockpit, indicators show your location on the track and current position in relation to the other drivers.

There are wing mirrors at either side of your vehicle, useful for spotting any of the opposing racers behind you, and laughing at the ones you have overtaken. If there's a collision between you and another driver, there's the option of entering the pitstop for repairs, and general recuperation.

After each contest, the results screen shows the placing for each driver in the contest. The winner of the Championship Circuit gets to win the coveted title of Formula 1 champion when the season draws to a close.

I would have really enjoyed Grand Prix Circuit, if I hadn't spent such an incredibly long time waiting for the thing to load. The graphics looks great, there's plenty of slick presentation and the 3D effect actually looks like 3D! Amazing!

In fact, I don't think I've been as enthusiastic about this style of race game (apart from Buggy Boy which has to be my all-time favourite) since Pitstop II and that's really saying something. OK, so the engine noises weren't up to much and the title tune did get on my nerves after a while, but when you've got such excellent gameplay, who cares? Well, you will if you hate multiloads.

Sections of Grand Prix Circuit reminded me very much of Test Drive, also from Accolde: the brilliant car selection sequence, for example, and that little spot on the wheel to indicate steering. But don't start cringin, because thay haven't just reused the same ideas - they've improved on them so you end up with a much smoother, faster and much more professional looking racing sim.

Movement is slick, and the 3D works well, although sound is mostly limited to the usual 'buzzing fly posing as engine noise' sort of drone. The rest is very impressive: a cross between the simulation qualities of Revs and the action of Pitstop II.

In fact, the only thing that really bugs me is the tape loading system - if you're an extremely impatient person, it won't be good for your health. Still - the disk loader should be better.

A test of concentration: long straights with sharp twists and one severely serious hairpin bend.

Possibly the 'easiest' track of the lot: plenty of clean straights with only a couple of tricky bends.

You'll have to keep your wits about you; this is packed with twisting, tortuous turns.

It looks easy, but a difficult bend right at the end of the course could cause you plenty of trouble.

Again, deceptively easy: watch out for some quick directional changes.

Medium difficulty: a couple of sharp twists, and plenty to keep you occupied.

Concentration is vital here: lots of sharp turns requiring multiple gear changes. Not quite the hardest, because...

...will definitely keep you on your toes. Survive this and you'll survive anything.

Cassette version only reviewed. The disk version should be available soon - hopefully with a less irrating multiload. There are no plans for an Amiga version.


Comprehensive manual and simple option screens ruined by slo-o-ow multiload. Ability to choose difficulty level, number of laps and variety of cars.
Pretty front-end graphics and realistic in-game 3D effects.
Bland engine noises and a fairly jolly tune which soon starts to aggravate.
The multiload and the complexity are deterrents to your fun.
If you can put up with the multiload, you're going to keep coming back.
An excellent racing simulation, its only real failing being a diabolical loading system. Check out the disk version.