March 5, 2001
F1 Racing Championship - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players RRP

Click To Enlarge ImageThere is some great news for Formula One fans, especially if your planning on purchasing a Playstation 2 in the near future, and who isn't? Ubisoft's F1 Racing Championship is actually on of three Formula One titles expected on the system this year from different developers. Electronic Arts set to release the impressive F1 Championship Season 2000 while Konami are preparing F1 World Grand Prix for release at launch. The only problem that you will have to face is which game to choose. All three are graphically impressive and the gameplay should continue each companies fine traditions. Ubisoft, with help from Video System, believe that F1 Racing Championship will be the best option.

Click To Enlarge ImageThe game modes present in Ubisoft's game do no disappoint. The developers have included 7 different modes from a single race in arcade mode to a full eight-month championship season. One of the most useful features is set to be the Driving School mode where you can learn to drive the cars on each circuit. Another of the impressive modes is the Scenario where you can select from a famous event from the 1999 season to compete in. For example at Monza you can drive as Takagi who had to overtake Badoer with only 3 laps remaining in the race. Ubisoft have also included a 2-player split screen mode while the practice mode now has a ghost car so you can see your progress compared to your best lap.

Click To Enlarge ImageUbisoft's Formula One title includes all 16 circuits from the 1999 FIA Formula One World Championship (erm why not 2000 guys?). Each of the 11 Formula One teams is represented in the game with realistically modeled cars and paint jobs to match. Ubisoft have included all 22 drivers from the series with Schumacher (both Ralph and Michael), Hakkinen and Coulthard all making appearances. As with most racing games these days it is possible to change the settings of the car. From the wing angles, suspension, tyres, brakes, steering, body height, fuel levels or camber. Even your opponents' AI is adjustable to several levels in the hunt for glory and to suit your gaming skills. The developers have also included a damage mode for the game, which can be turned on or off depending on the realism and difficulty required.

Click To Enlarge ImageEach track in F1 Racing Championship is built using over 100,000 polygons to retain a realistic look however it's the other effects such as bump mapping, environmental mapping and multi-texturing that give this game such an amazing look. The developers have modeled the tracks directly from survey data to ensure that every bend, elevation and chicane is accurate to the real tracks. The actual effects in the game are stunning with flame emitting engines, sparks, sand flying, heat haze, lens flare, authentic vision blurring, waving crowds, and amazing reflections occurring during races. The music in this game is provided by Garbage while all the sound effects have been recorded from actual vehicles.

Formula One Racing Championship certainly looks impressive. I was a little disappointed with Ubisoft's Monaco GP Racing Simulation on the Dreamcast, but this game seems to have so much more. The added power of the Playstation 2 will hopefully remove the slowdown the plagued the Dreamcast game. The number of options in this game looks far greater then those in EA's or Konami's Playstation 2 titles and Ubisoft have been producing quality titles over the last year. Formula One Racing Championship looks like a winner.