September 22, 2000
Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 is the first game to appear on the Dreamcast based on the Formula 1 style of racing. Although UbiSoft don't have and official Formula 1 license, which means you can't race as Damon Hill or Michael Schumacher, they have included all 17 circuits from around the world.
This game is pretty much a direct port of the PC version which was released almost a year ago now. The Dreamcast version was released on 11th March 1999 in Japan and received good reviews from the press, but UbiSoft are improving the US/PAL version further. Background scenery is being enhanced with more detail and the roads/grass areas now include multi-texturing for a more realistic look. There will be 19 new music tracks when the game is release this October. A replay mode is also being added in the game as well as checkpoints during races and a new "catch up" mode to help new players.
Unsurprisingly, UbiSoft have included both simulation and arcade styles of gameplay. The arcade style is very forgiving with the emphasis on action packed racing. The simulation style of racing takes a more serious approach with real world physics models. There are 3 levels of difficulty to choose from in the simulation mode.
The detail in the racing is superb. The cars in the game can crash, flip and spin out during the race and there are problems to overcome such as overheating brakes and oil or water spills on the track. It's also possible to set up your car for the races to suit your own style of driving. Add in changing weather effects and this is one seriously detailed game.
One of the great things about MGPRS2 is that it includes a retro mode where you can race cars from the first Formula 1 series in 1950. Of course the cars are a dog to control and the roads a little rougher but that was racing almost 50 years ago now.
Although Video Systems are rumoured to be releasing an official Formula 1 racing game early next year they'll have a tough job matching UbiSoft's impressive effort. MGPRS2 looks like one of the best racing games in years.