F1 Championship Season 2000
Of all the sports in the world there’s none which is faster, more adrenalin-pumping, dangerous, or well paid than Formula 1; thus making it the ideal candidate for numerous videogame spin-offs. Even as far back as 1982 (which witnessed the insurrection of the now legendary Pole Position) gamers were getting their knickers in a twist over F1. But now, with 128-bit hardware the order of the day, it’s all more advanced, technical, real and, most importantly, loads faster. Welcome, then, to the speed-obsessed world of F1 Championship Season 2000.
The gameplay of F1 Championship 2000 is a bit of an odd one as it tries to amalgamate the precision action of F1 with mass-appeal arcade accessibility, which it does, for the most part, fairly successfully. So depending on what sort of a racing experience you’re after – a quick bash or an exacting challenge – F1 Championship Season 2000 accommodates it with the quick adjustment of the various ‘Assists’ that are available. Either way you look at it, this in turn lends itself to some thrilling, adrenalin-pumping high speed action which will keep you coming back for more. Whether it’s to drive the perfect lap or just fill a spare five minutes depends entirely on your motoring whim. With arse planted firmly above the ground, and with the trackside hoarding and grandstands literally flying by, it really doesn’t matter. It’s fast, it’s fun, so just hold onto your seat. Even then, the speed of the game comes at the expense of the overall graphical quality. To say that the cars and tracks lacked any detail would be a bit harsh but there is a noticeable dearth throughout all aspects of the game leaving it rather bland to say the least. More worrying though is the distinct lack of driving sensation between driver and car when viewed from any of the external viewing options. It’s here that the game suffers most as it seems as if the car is nothing more than a model being propelled along by some mysterious force meaning it hardly looks the part, let alone feels it. But then what kind of pitiful driver doesn’t race from the cockpit view anyway? Keep it real and you’ll have a damn fine ride. SO FIA SO GOOD Still, as good as the gameplay is and however fast it might be, there’s one major bone of contention that we have with F1 Championship 2000, a problem which is fundamental to the game’s audience. Generally people buy F1 games not just for the opportunity to drive around with their arse millimetres from the track, but for the chance to totally immerse themselves in the whole F1 experience. It’s not just the driving that they want to be part of, but the whole technical side of the sport too and F1 Championship Season 2000 just doesn’t offer this in the depth that the real hardcore F1 fans would expect. Sure you can mess around with the suspension, tyre compounds and gear ratio but that only scratches the surface and even then you can only choose from three different settings per variable. There’s no telemetry readings, no engine tweaking and no aerodynamics fiddling – in other words it’s not much of a garage.
Season 2000 is a bit of a conundrum in that it doesn’t quite know which side of the racing market to affiliate itself with. On the outside it’s very much an F1 game, but without all the trimmings at heart it seems to be more of an arcade racer than a hardcore simulation. So it’s time to decide what you want out of an F1 game – you’re either going to love this or be left, disappointed and stuck in the pits.