SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
Psygnosis

PUBLISHER
Psygnosis

RELEASE
12/99

Formula 1 '99 Review

By: Dave Mitchell


Formula 1 '99 is one of those no-nonsense racing games, which follows quite a rigid physics system, and tries to capture the realism of racing to a T. But does it offer anything special to set it apart from a crowded racing market?


Highs:
Lows:

Graphically, this game isn't anything special. The somewhat "blocky" looking cars really aren't very easy on the eyes, and the backgrounds are mediocre at best, with quite a rigid character to them as well. And the spectators of the races look like one big blob. The track surfaces look quite nice and realistic, with good attention to detail. Overall the graphics are just slightly better than average.

With respect to music and sound effects of the game, you only get half the package: For some reason music is not present in almost any races. This may be an attempt to preserve the stone-faced seriousness of Formula 1 racing, but frankly, I would have rather heard at least some music, and I suspect most gamers would. Exciting music in a racing game really adds more energy to the race, but here its been left out entirely. Another strike against the game in the sound department is that the sound effects don't seem very realistic; they just don't put you in the game like they should. And as for the announcer in the game; he's downright irritating. The announcer's repetitive quips really get at your nerves fast. Thankfully there's an option to turn him off.

The control in the game is somewhat questionable as well. While small steering adjustments and turns are easy enough with the d-pad or analog stick, sharper turns take a lot of getting used to. The difficult steering system often just makes playing frustrating. The button set-up is fairly simple, with the standard buttons for acceleration, braking, gear shifting, view shifts, and a button configuration in included in case you aren't happy with the current set-up.

The gameplay of Formula 1 '99 is just like the graphics, sound, and control: quite mediocre at best. The game offers three modes of play, which are Time Trial, Grand Prix, and multiplayer. On the positive side, many realistic elements are included in all the games modes, such as weather controls, steering and parts adjustments, and car alterations. This is different from many racers on the market. But on the negative side, the game gets boring fast. This game really doesn't have much to hold your interest for more then 15 minutes at a time. To me, this game seems like racing that's trying to be overly realistic, with not enough emphasis on fun. And the two-player mode really isn't much better. While its good that there isn't much appreciable slowdown or degeneration of the graphics, the game is just as boring as it is in 1 player mode as it is with 2 players. Two player mode really gets old fast as well, making you want to shut off the game in no time flat.

Overall the game doesn't do a very good job in almost all elements: It has mediocre graphics, a lot to be desired in sound (or lack their of), difficult steering control, boring gameplay in all modes, and overall just not much to be excited about. Compared the glut of racing games out there, this game doesn't do very well. I certainly can't see myself recommending this game for purchase, as it really isn't even worth renting. There's probably a shelf full of much better racing games out there on the PlayStation.

OVERALL
5.5

GRAPHICS
6.5

CONTROL
6.0

MUSIC/FX
7.0

FRUSTRATION
8.0


Second Opinion

By: John Doe

I think Formula 1 fans are going to dig this one. Arcade racing fans should approach with caution, as there is a lot more to this game than just racing; you have to love to tinker and you have to understand the sport. If you keep the cars "as is" without tweaking them in Grand Prix mode, you aren't going to get very far as altering the right element such as suspension, gear ratio, braking and tires often means the difference between first and second place. If you choose to play in Quick Race mode an appropriate setup for the track you want to race will be setup automatically. Remember, and I can't stress this enough, this is a Formula 1 game, not Need For Speed. Comparing this game to an arcade racer or a rally game is like comparing Get Bass to Metal Gear Solid.

As far as I'm concerned this is the pinnacle of Formula 1 games on the PlayStation. Featuring a current roster of drivers (and substitutes), 16 real-world Grand Prix tracks and all of the official rules of the sport, Psygnosis really came through with this years installment. If you are a fan of Psygnosis' series or just an F1 fan in general, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

OVERALL
7.5

GRAPHICS
7.5

CONTROL
7.5

MUSIC/FX
7.0

FRUSTRATION
6.0

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