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F-1 Race
Review By: Shane Sacobie
Developer:   Nintendo
Publisher:   Nintendo
# of Players:   1-4 (Link Cable)
Genre:   Racing
ESRB:    Everyone

For the most part, the graphics were pretty good. Though the courses were composed of flat roads with signs around them just like a lot of other racers, the backgrounds were good for a GameBoy title, as was the variety from country to country. Cameo appearances were made by all of Nintendo's big stars like Mario and Donkey Kong. I found this interesting because someone new was waiting after each victory to applaud you. The cars were done well enough, even though at times you'd think you were looking at one of those Tiger hand-helds. Also, sometimes the sides of the roads could get a little blurry, but getting used to the game and having the proper lighting and GB brightness should help you overcome that problem.

With only a few exceptions (like the beginning of the game), there's no music of which to speak. This can be annoying at first, but once you get going, the engine sounds are loud enough to drown out any music they'd have put in anyway so it's not a problem. You'll basically only hear four sounds throughout the course of the race (after the start with the countdown noise that we've seen a hundred times): crashes, regular driving, jet speed, and braking. It's enough to do the job effectively.

Perhaps the first thing that needs to be mentioned is the fact that this title can be bought with a link cable that allows up to four people to play. This is a unique concept for a GameBoy title, though I didn't have the chance to try out the multi-player mode. The ability to play with three friends is good and may influence some people to buy this title, but I've never been a fan of multi-player GameBoy games except for Tetris because you have to have multiple GameBoys and cartridges to be able to take advantage of this option.

I would've preferred more than one level of difficulty. Basically, you had to drive most courses completely flawlessly in order to beat them, and you had to place in first to advance. At times, the difficulty was increased because they would set you up to crash. (For example, level 5 would have you having to start out at a turn where you'd usually crash, whereas the person in first would be able to start out on a straightaway.) This may have been a good idea for a hard difficulty level, but having a variety of challenges would've been better (and would've increased the replay value).

I liked the ability to use the jet speed, as it makes for interesting driving and makes you think more (since it's limited and there may be a turn you don't expect). Turning was odd, though somewhat realistic, since you normally went around corners with your tires screeching, but it could be overcome by taking time to get the hang of it. One thing that I liked was that the computer made some mistakes (though the guy in first seemed nearly perfect most of the time). In a lot of other racing games, the computer goes around the track without crashing into anything (normally just going at a slower pace than your max speed). Having computer controlled cars make errors made the game more realistic and more fair.

Having two different cars to select from was a good idea. Perhaps the best part about the game is that you could change cars after every race (if you felt it was necessary), which allowed for more decision making, as some courses could only be beaten with one car or the other. These cars varied in max speed, jet speed, and jet fuel in a way that allowed each car to have its advantages.

It's safe to assume that the ability for a four player game is the most unique aspect, but in addition to that, the jet speed and the appearances by everyone's favorite Nintendo characters make this a unique title.

F-1 Race is a lot of fun. The game itself is fun, but the innovativeness of it makes for a great ride. Not knowing what country you'd race in next or what Nintendo mascot you'd see after the next race added to the enjoyment.

While you probably won't play the Grand Prix mode much once you beat it, there are also Time Trial and Multi-Player modes to keep you busy. Having multiple difficulty levels certainly would've helped out this title's replay value, but the game will last you quite a while.

Overall, this is a solid title that shines in just about every category. Anyone with a GameBoy should at least check it out, especially racing fans.

Overall: 9.1

 



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