February 14, 2000

Monaco GP Racing Simulation - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
VMU Game Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoHard25 BlocksYesNoNone

MGPRS was one of UbiSoft's earliest Dreamcast titles in Japan with a release on 11th March 1999. The game recieved mixed reviews in the Japanese press. However, as with Suzuki Alstare Racing, UbiSoft are enhancing the game for release outside Japan. The improved game includes new background scenery, multi-texturing on the roads and grass, 19 new music tracks, a replay mode, checkpoints and a catch-up mode. Things are certainly looking bright for the title so far.

This Formula 1 based racing game includes 17 tracks with 22 drivers and 11 racing teams in total. Unfortunately MGPRS doesn't have an official Formula 1 license which means you won't be driving around in official teams such as Williams or MacLaren or with real drivers such as Michael Schumacher or Damon Hill. The substitutes are fairly obvious though with drivers having names such as M. Schmidke and R Schmidke. But as proven in the past a racing game doesn't necessarily need an official license to be good.

MGPRS has three main gameplay areas including Arcade, Simulation and the rather interesting Retro mode. Arcade mode is as it sounds. A full on arcade style F1 game where the cars aren't damaged, you don't have to worry about setups and there are checkpoints to reach before the timer runs out. The Championship mode includes a full racing season with the ability to set every little detail in your car including vertical load, under and oversteer, down force and much more. As an added bonus UbiSoft have included a very interesting, and impressive Retro mode. In this mode you can select a car from the 1950's and try to race around a circuit. To say this is difficult is an very much understatement. The cars are rather unforgiving with one mistake usually sending you into an uncontrollable spin into the wall. This isn't a result of poor programming, it's just that cars back in the 1950's were that hard to control.

Playing this game is a lot of fun. Whether you want to just pick it up and play the game for a few minutes or spend a few days and go into a full championship season you are well catered for. The AI in the computer controlled cars is fairly good with opponents often trying to block your passing move or making mistakes while trying to overtake other cars. As with most racing games, the two player mode provides the most thrills and spills.

While the game may sound great up until this point it's the graphics in this game that causes the biggest headache. The scenery around the tracks is nice and the cars look equally impressive, but there are some problems. On the Melbourne track the buildings in the distance repeat several times around the 360 degree view. But it's when turning corners that things really start to turn ugly. The frame rate chugs along, especially with several cars in view and in 2 player mode the game almost grinds to a halt resulting in you turning for too long and heading straight into a wall. This should have been fixed for the final release because it distracts from the race so much it isn't funny.

Sound in MGPRS includes the usual sounds associated with a Formula 1 game with the music suitably fast paced. The ambient sounds around the track could have been improved as they are few and far between at times.

MGPRS is a great game with one major flaw that makes it hard to recommend. If UbiSoft had fixed the slowdown problem when turning corners then this could have been one of the best racing games ever. If you want a racing game on the Dreamcast you'd probably be better off with Speed Devils or Video Systems Formula 1.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall