~ F1 CIRCUS '92 ~
At first glance, F1 '92 looks pretty damn similar to the earlier episodes in the series, with tiny cars racing at searing speeds on dull-looking courses.
And, well, that's pretty much all there is to it, but '92 is by far the toughest chapter of the Circus saga, due not only to tricky track layouts but also to opposing racers who actually handle themselves well out there and do all they can to thwart your efforts. Sometimes, one's best hope is not to drive well but to bump an adversary off course and cause a huge wreck that takes out a bunch of the bastards at once.
Blinking-arrow warnings of curves yet to come pop up early in '92, giving you a better chance of actually staying on the trail, and the usual setup screen offers an "auto" option that has the computer do all the selection work for you. (It's worth noting that while these elements served to further separate this entry from its HuCard predecessors when it was released, they were also already present in the superior CD title, Circus Special.)
In addition to boosting the level of difficulty, Nichibutsu pushed themselves to do more with pre- and post-race screens, though the results obviously can't measure up to the amusingly goofy intermission shots in Special.
But whatever; interludes aren't what Circus fans play the games for. They play them because they love the feeling of achievement that is attained after hours and hours of practice and course memorization. Indeed, once you do arrive at that level of Circus proficiency (if you ever do), you might be amazed at how active the game keeps you on the pad and surprised by how many seemingly impossible maneuvers you're able to pull off. Still, when it comes to hammering away at boards that require practice and memorization, I'd rather have a go at Rayxanber II or Valis IV or Nexzr... you know, games that're actually enjoyable.