Reviewed by Dominic Cote
For the most part, the graphics in this game were pretty good. While the courses
were composed of flat roads with signs around them just like a lot of other racers.
The backgrounds were good for a Game Boy title, and the variety of them from country
to country was good. Cameo appearances were made by all of Nintendo's big stars
like Mario, Donkey Kong, and more. I found this interesting because someone new
was waiting after each victory to applaud you. The cars were done well enough,
even though at times you'd think you were looking at one of those Tiger hand-helds.
At times, the sides of the roads could get a little blurry, but getting used to the
game and having the proper lighting and Game Boy brightness could help you overcome
With only a few exceptions (like the beginning of the game), there's no music to
speak of. This can be annoying at first, but once you get going, the engine sounds
are loud enough to drown out any music they'd have put in anyway so it's not a
problem. You'll basically only hear four sounds throughout the course of the race
(after the start with the countdown noise that we've seen a hundred times): crashes,
regular driving, jet speed, and braking. The sound in this game is enough to do the job
effectively but is nothing stunning.
Perhaps the first thing that needs to be mentioned is the fact that this title can be
bought with a link cable that allows up to four people to play. This is a unique concept
for a Game Boy title. I didn't have the chance to try out the multi-player mode. The
ability to play with three friends is a good idea and may influence some people to buy
this title, but I've never been a fan of multi-player Game Boy games except for Tetris
because you have to have multiple Game Boys and cartridges to be able to take advantage
of this option.
I think I would have preferred multiple levels of difficulty. Basically, you have to
drive most courses completely flawlessly in order to beat them, and you had to
place in first to advance. At times, the difficulty was increased because they
would set you up to crash. (For example, level 5 would have you having to start out
at a turn where you'd usually crash, whereas the person in first would be able to
start out on a straightaway.) This may have been a good idea for a hard difficulty
level, but having a variety of challenges would have been better (and would have
increased the replay value).
The control in this title was good. I liked the ability to use the jet speed, as it
makes for interesting driving and makes you think more (since it's limited and there
may be a turn you don't expect). Turning was odd, though realistic, since you normally
went around corners with your tires screeching, but it could be overcome by taking
time to get the hang of it. One thing that I liked was that the computer made some
mistakes (though the guy in first seemed nearly flawless most of the time). In a lot
of other racing games, the computer goes around the track without crashing into
anything. They normally just go at a slower pace than your max speed. Having
computer controlled cars make errors was a good idea and made the game more
realistic and more fair.
Having two different cars to select from was a good idea. Perhaps the best part
about the game is that you could change cars after every race (if you felt it was
necessary). This allowed for more decision making, as some courses could only be
beaten with one car or the other. These cars varied in max speed, jet speed, and
jet fuel in a way that allowed each car to have its advantages.
It's safe to assume that the ability for a four player game is the most unique
aspect of the game, but in addition to that, the jet speed and the appearances by
everyone's favorite Nintendo characters make this a unique title.
F-1 Race is a lot of fun. The game itself is fun, but the uniqueness of it makes for
a great ride. Not knowing what country you'd race in next or what Nintendo mascot
you'd see after the next race added to the enjoyment.
While you probably won't play the Grand Prix mode much once you beat it, there are
also Time Trial and Multi-Player modes to keep you busy. Having multiple difficulty
levels certainly would have helped out this title's replay value, but the game will last
you quite a while.
Overall, this is a solid title that shines in just about every category. Anyone with a
Game Boy should at least check it out, especially racing fans.