A number of afflictions plague the hardened gamer. Over-developed thumbs, poor eyesight and manic behaviour are all-prevalent amongst members of the gaming community. Of all such conditions, however, perhaps the most embarrassing is the nervous lean.
At times of heightened tension, the gamer will attempt to physically bond with his/her computer-generated spaceship/racing car/buggy by actually leaning bacwards/forwards/left/right when it comes to performing particularly demanding manoeuvtres in the vain hope of influencing the action on the screen. The condition is rife, and racing games are some of the most dangerous catalysts.
Now, while conducting your racing game in the privacy of your own home you've got nothing to worry about. But should you find yourself afflicted on a portable gaming system in a public place then you've got a problem. F1 World Championship Edition on the Game Gear spells big trouble for the world's commuters...
Another racing sim, with the emphasis on accuracy above all-out action.
Adopt the mantle of one of the world's top Formula 1 drivers. Choose your track, practise and compete.
This being the World Championship Edition of F1, you get the chance to compete within, er, the world championship. As you race around the world's grand prix circuits, you can check on your league position and keep tally on how many points are keeping you from the coveted pole position, and the title or world champion.
One of the strengths of this version of F1 is the great degree of freedom and choice you can exercise over your game. A lengthy selection process is worth enduring, as it gives you the chance to choose the number of laps you'd like to race, the track you'd like to race on and the driver you'd like to race as. Familiar names such as Hill, Schumacher, Alesi and Berger suggest themselves as your alter egos.
This reminded me a lot of the earliest home computer versions of Pole Position that Atari put out in the early Eighties. While quite playable on a basic level, the shortcomings of attempting something with the depth of a racing simulation (as opposed to a straight game) on modest systems became apparent all too soon.
Sadly, the same applies here. Sure you can select tracks like Silverstone and Monaco to race on, but aside from the basic track construction, very little else varies about each screen. Scattered palm trees and rearranged skylines don't make up for the fact that you can accurately predict when the likes of bridges and lampposts will show up on different tracks after only a few games.
And the novelty of blocking similarly predictable opponents to maintain your lead soon wears thin.
The Game Gear's limited resources would have been better spent on something with more imagination and less compromise.
Basic is the word that springs to mind. You can't really blame the Game Gear for that, but some games like Sonic Drift 2 have got around the technical shortcomings by incorporating a little fun into the proceedings.
By trying to be too close to the original, Domark seem to have neglected that quality. The titchy screen can't really convey a sense of speed, and although the movement is reasonably smooth. This isn't the way for Game Gear games to be going, trying vainly to recreate the flories of games they are unsuited for. Take the recent example of Jungle Strike and the promising Return Of The Jedi as guides for the most rewarding use of time and money for the machine.
F1 isn't badly programmed. Just disappointing.
P. Stretches this type of game as far as it can go on the Game Gear.
N. Too formulaic.
P. The feeling of forward motion is smooth.
N. You appear to 'drift' slightly at high speeds.
N. The opportunities for entertaining prangs and mishaps aren't taken.
P. Initially, it's quite good fun.
N. It's too easy to learn winning methods.
N. Unlikely to offer much long-term appeal.
Fairly entertaining, within its limited scope.