Grand Prix
Copyright/Publisher: D & H Games, Release Year: 1990,
Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1

And it's over to Andy for the start of this epic formula one race. They're lined up on the grid, tension is mounting, and they're off... or are they? Steve? Er, it's hard to tell. It's awfully quiet. Odd isn't it? The crowd doesn't seem to have turned up either.

That's right, technology has come a long way since the screeching, roaring days of formula one to give us the soundless engine. Or so it would seem judging by this latest game from D&H. Still let's not be too harsh. The sound effects may be conspicuous by their absence but that doesn't automatically mean the game's crap.

Grand Prix (as you've probably already gathered) is a formula one management simulation with arcade race sequences to boot. You get to be team manager and, from the outset must make decisions which will, with luck, get you through the 16 race season and, with even more luck, win you the championship.

The main decision menu contains a variety of options. Practise Lap allows you to experiment with tyre and fuel combinations in order to get at close to the lap record as possible before the real race begins. Race, as the name suggests, plunges, you into the actual competition (more on that later).

The next five options serve only to provide you with information. They are Next Race, Fixtures, Constructor's Table, Driver's League, and Management Status. Using these you can keep tabs on how well your team is doing (your team consists of two drivers). They also help to show the depth of the game which is otherwise belied by the poor presentation.

Finally you can access Management Options which are; employee pool (for buying new drivers, mechanics and so), crew (from which you can fire your employees), bank loans, development costs (you can choose to invest more money in your team), bonus pay and bookies with which you can place bets on any driver (including your own) in the championship.

The race itself is the worst aspect of the game. The graphics are crude - a simple overhead view of the start/finish line - and you must sit through the 50 or so laps watching your position (relative to the other cars) change. Sadly there is no way to skip this so it can all become rather tedious.

Grand Prix isn't a bad management game but I can't recommend it with it's current limitations, namely high price, poor presentation, dire visuals, lack of sound and noticably dated gameplay.

THE DOWNERS...
Absolutely no sound whatsover.
Horrible screen display. It looks like an aged Spectrum game.
Gameplay, while complex, is dated and user unfriendly.
Instructions are woefully inadequate: trial and error is the only way to learn this one.
Lack of 'skip race' option means long and tedious waiting times.
Visual presentation of races is... well... pathetic.
No joystick control option.
...AND THE UPPERS
Plenty of depth for those prepared to stick with it. Management decisions have a marked and appropriate effect on races.
Time-dependent pit-stops are well implemented.

INTRO SCREEN
The presentation may be a bit scabby, but from the main menu you can access a horde of options which, if used wisely, should help you survive long enough to win the racing season.

POWER RATING 40%


Five laps down, 43 to go... I can barely contain myself. I'm driving the blue car that's typically nowhere to be seen.
The weather's taken a slight turn for the worse. So being a bit of perfectionist it's off to the pits for a quick tyre change.
In the pits. Here you can carry out a multitude of minor repairs and adjustments. Then you can re-enter the race and lose anyway.
At any time during a race you can open up the Positions Menu. This shows how well or how badly you are doing. As you can see, our reviewer has scorched into er, last and third to last places.


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