Grand Prix Challenge
Only last month we were tearing down the track in Sony’s new racer and once again another Formula One game arrives in the office for a test drive. Grand Prix Challengeis, in essence, another season-long arcade-style racer, but with a few nice additions to spice up the action a little. Of course, all the teams and drivers are present and every course on the circuit has been included to test your racing skill. There are three difficulty levels to choose from and these offer a wide range of differences when playing the game.
In Beginner mode there is an auto brake system that helps you to get to know the course, whilst on Expert mode the race is purely down to your own driving skill. Among the other ideas incorporated is the special Challenge mode of the game’s title. This pits your skill on different tracks with the bonus of opening new courses as you progress. The one thing that really stands out about Grand Prix Challengethough is the quality of the graphics and the amazing frame-rate that makes every course look sublime. Even the surroundings look amazing, particularly the Monaco track where boats can clearly be seen in the harbour. The action is fast-paced and easy to control although the steering is a little twitchy to begin with. This becomes easier with time and after a few races, you’ll feel right at home zipping around the circuits. The Challenge mode is a reasonable alternative to racing the full season for the cup and the unlockables do make the experience rather rewarding.
To view the action there are five different camera angles that any racer will easily become comfortable with, including an incar view that is perfect for playing with a steering wheel. Although the sound is not quite as good as Sony’s recent effort, the graphics and playability are equally entertaining and better in some places. The quick fix of the Challenge mode, though not particularly original, does offer non-F1 fans a way into the sport.
Essentially there isn’t a lot to choose between the Sony’s title and Infogrames’ game apart from perhaps the depth afforded by the official licence. Though with great graphics, speed and an instant appeal Grand Prix Challengejust edges in front.