Super Monaco GP
Copyright/Publisher: US Gold/Sega Arcade Hits, Arcade Game Created By: Sega,
Programmed By: Grant Harrison, Graphics By: Nick Cooke, Music By: Jeroen Tel
(Maniacs Of Noise), Release Year: 1991, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1

Another Sega coin op classic gets the US Gold treatment. Our reviewer takes up position on the grid and aims for the chequered flag. But does it end in the pits?

There's more to formula one than polluting the atmosphere and looking cool in a balaclava. You've got to be hard, you've got to be tough and, when it comes down to it, you've really got to be able to drive. If one or all of these sounds just a touch too darn difficult or your mum won't let you out, don't despair - Super Monaco Grand Prix is here.

As a matter of fact the coin-op's already been around for yonks. What with it being a great big spanking machone, with mega-realistic graphics, shiny pedals, furry dice and a Sharon and Dave sun visor, it didn't need more than the one Grand Prix circuit.

Because the 64 isn't quite capable of the same stonking graphics, the conversion comes with not one, not two, but four brand new tracks. Your reward, if you do well enough in France, Brazil and Spain is a chance to have a go at the Monaco track. And all the courses can be driven in the dry or the wet.

Transmission is manual or automatic by choice and there's a qualifying stage before each circuit. At this point your main task is to secure a decent starting position for the race itself - anything from pole position, right down to number 11 on the grid is possible - and as there's no real opposition, you should be able to do reasonably well.

The races proper get distinctly tougher as you go. You have to finsh in at least 7th place in France, 5th in Brazil and 3rd in Spain, so cruising the Monaco strip might take longer than expected: failure to make the grade in any race and it's right back to qualifying for the very first track.

Annoyingly there are no circuit maps to look at either during or before an event but you do get a rear view mirror to keep an eye on what's coming up behind. And boy, do you need it: the only way to stop the opposition from overtaking on the straight is to get in their way! For your part, you can only overtake on bends. Depending on how you look at it this either makes the gameplay pleasantly hard or blimmin' difficult. Either way, it's frustrating to have the slowest car on the grid.

If you're looking for frills, forget it. Unlike the coin-op, there's nothing in the way of gizmos to keep you entertained - just racing. The presentation is minimal, the title drone consists of a loop about two bars long, the in-game sound is negligible and the graphics are functional, if a little sparse.

However, if it's racing action you're after Super Monaco Grand Prix does deliver. And if you must buy it, buy it for the speed and the lastability, not because you fancy a copy of the coin-op - you'll only be disappointed, especially in the face of competition like Turbo Out Ryn or Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge.

Prix Fax
Grand Prix races cover a minimum distance of 186 miles and a maximum of 199 miles within a time limit of two hours.

Formula 1 cars are single-seaters with up to 3000cc or boosted 1500cc engines.

The petrol tank capacity of a Formula 1 car is limited t0 48 gallons.

Turbos were banned from World Championship Grand Prix racing in 1988.

The fastest overall average speed clocked up in a Grand Prix race is 253,42 km/h.

The fastest qualifying lap was completed in 1 minuter 05.59 seconds by Keke Rosberg at Silverstone UK.

The closest finish to a Grand Prix race occured when Ayrton Senna beat Nigel Mansell by 0.014 seconds.

The man with the most Grand Prix points and the most Grand Prix victories is Ayrton Senna.

Ferrari have won more Grand Prix World Championship than any other car manufacturer.

Crude background graphics.
Lack of on-screen course maps is a bit disappointing.
A bit tough to start with, and the sudden death system is annoying.
Tough courses guarantee lastability.
Good choice of manual or auto gear system.
Computerised opponents are hard nuts to crack.
Smooth road movement and 3D update provide a good sensation of speed.
More circuits than the original coin-op.
Rear-view mirror adds atmosphere to the action.
Great tunnel effect.

Friendly she may be but this poor girl looks like she used to work as a crash barrier at Brands Hatch. She's got a few dents that could do with knocking that, that's for sure. As you can see from this control screen, you're not stuck for joystick options when you play Super Monaco Grand Prix. Your every whim is catered for. Here we are qualifying for that all important French Grand Prix and, would you believe it, the road is as wet as a two-hour old baby's nappy. Never mind, we get the green light and give it everything we've got. Of course, once the weather improves every Tom Dick and Ayrton thinks he's a world class formula one driver. These Sunday drivers won't last the distance. This is what it all comes down to. Play the game a couple of times and you'll be cursing that tenth of a second you missed. Only 23,42 seconds into the first lap and we've already reached a 102mph. Oh, if only motorway driving was always like this. Aren't we on a motorway. Oh, er... apparently we're in Brazil. Brazil eh? No problema. One of the finest features of Super Monaco Grand Prix is the data that appears in your view so you don't have to glance down the screen. Mind you, that rear view mirror is distracting.