Saturday, July 17, 2010

F1 Circus


How these F1 Circus racing games managed to do so well in Japan is quite beyond me. It's true that F1C action is incredibly fast--but far too fast for the games' own good, as they provide views extremely limited in scope. This first episode doesn't boast the variety in visuals that later ones offer (and bear in mind that even said later ones are dreadfully bland), leaving a driver to traverse graphical doldrums as his nigh-uncontrollable vehicle hurtles up the road.

Don't expect even intermittent aesthetic highlights. Option, celebration, and setup screens are presented in utilitarian fashion--to put it nicely.

The course designs are also very basic, as even the "toughest" segments of track are nowhere near as horribly difficult to navigate as the insane twists and turns prominent in later F1C episodes '92 and Special. And as you're zipping along on the surprisingly straightforward speedways, you'll notice that opposing drivers typically take it easy on you, content to mind their own business or blunder off the road as you breeze on by.

Of the PCE F1C games, this is definitely the ugly one (perhaps I should say "ugliest," as its sequels are visually grotesque in their own right), and it's definitely the "easy" one (though it's still challenging and frequently irritating). It's an unalluring but sensible place to start if, for some reason, you're interested in the series; if you can't make headway in this one, you'll have no shot in the other episodes. I recommend saving yourself the trouble and avoiding the lot of them at all costs, but rabid Circus fans would gainsay me with claims that hours of practice ultimately prove worthwhile. It should cost you only about three bucks or so to find out for yourself.

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