F1 World Championship Edition logo Amiga Computing Silver Award

After the recent glut of overhead race-'em-ups, the 3D race simulator makes a return in the form of Domark's latest release. Gareth Lofthouse tests whether F1 World Championship Edition has got enough juice to snatch pole position.


With Skidmarks, ATR and Roadkill behind us, and Turbotrax and Wheelspin still to come, it seems Amiga developers have forgotten to program anything other than the overhead racer. Many of them boast tried and tested quality gameplay, but this constant rehash of the same product must be tiring even the most dedicated fan of the genre.

A change is long overdue, so the imminent release of F1 World Championship has raised some interest. It’s certainly not a breath of fresh air in terms of originality, but at least it marks the return of the long-absent race simulator with its realistic on-the-track view.

Power ups, wacky cars and off-road scenery have been abandoned in F1 World Championship in favour of realistic racing with pit stop tactics. The question is, can Domark make the old formula shine once more?


Racing games just don’t seem to inspire the average developer when it comes to audio effects. Providing they’ve got some impression of the roar of the engine, they don’t seem to bother with much else – the only notable recent exception being Roadkill with its more original background sound.

F1 isn’t terrible but the engine noise is more of a buzz than a ‘vroom’ and crashes sound more like a tinkle than a noise of tearing metal. Other effects include skidding and a tinny clanking when bumping into opposition cars. What is quite satisfying, however, is the convincing sound effect that accompanies a gear change – trivial it may be, but it actually makes the player feel more in control of the car.




We might have hoped that the Amiga’s capabilities would have been squeezed to push F1 to the forefront graphically – after all visuals are fairly important in such an action-dominated genre – but unfortunately, Domark’s efforts on this front are at best average.

The problem is that it all looks rather dated. In the far distance, buildings rotate as you turn through bends, and signposts and barriers rush by on the edge of the track, but it fails to give the impression of racing through anything remotely like a real landscape.

The lack of detail isn’t entirely a bad thing, however, since it’s allowed the game to run at a high speed. This means that though the scenery is rather basic, it blurs by at such a blistering rate that your attention is firmly centered on just holding onto the road.

Initially, it appears that the tracks are going to be flat, but on later levels players do get the impression of rising and falling over small hills and dips – though since these are based on proper race tracks this effect is not overly dramatic. Furthermore, because the races takes place all around the world, the developers have introduced a reasonable amount of variety from location to location.

There are also appropriate weather conditions for each of the countries, so races can take place in bright sunlight, driving rain or under overcast skies – but though this works well in terms of gameplay, it’s crudely implemented as far as graphics are concerned.

Another complaint can be levelled at the poorly detailed cars – however, at least your driver’s hands move on the wheel and it’s possible to view the action from within or behind the player’s car.

Two-player mode works using the standard horizontally-split screen and appears to maintain all the pace of the one-player challenge – a quality not to be sniffed at when you consider how important human versus human games are in the racing genre.

Other functional but effective graphic features include the track map which shows the player’s car in red in contrast to all the other cars. This facility gives drivers a good idea of how clear they are from the rest of the field – or, more usually, how much work they have to do to catch up.

The introductions, the pit stops, option screens and all the other wrapping material that surrounds the game in F1 are typically unimpressive too, especially when compared to the stunningly rendered introduction accompanying Roadkill. But then at the end of the day, it’s the game itself that counts.




No one is going to be impressed with F1 World Championship from the word go – not unless they’ve only just upgraded from a C64 anyway. It’s done nothing to build on the racing game graphics of years past. And initially it seems to offer little more in terms of gameplay either.

Despite these strong criticisms, however, F1 somehow manages to draw the player back for more, thanks to more depth in the gameplay than initially meets the eye. The fact that the tracks are modeled realistically on their real world counterparts is an attractive feature that should appeal, particularly to Grand Prix fans. Even if you’ve never watched motor sports in your life, however, the variety of challenges from simple fast circuits like Brazil San Paulo to the tortuous bends of Monaco add an extra dimension to the challenge.

Unlike most racing games – including the state-of-the-art arcade hit Daytona Racing – this title actually gives some sense of the tactics of motor sport. Passing cars, for example, can be a matter of bidding your time until the right opportunity arises, because on a crowded stretch the player simply won’t be able to overtake as soon as they want to.

Before the race begins, players are advised to consult the weather report and the map of the track as this will affect the way the car should be set up. Drivers can choose different tyres to suit weather conditions and varying drag-factors to trade off speed for grip on the more arduous circuits.

The handling of the car, however, is perhaps the most important matter when it comes to making a successful racing game, and fortunately F1 is reasonably accomplished in this area. Unlike some games which demand the player goes flat out round the circuit to even have a chance of winning, a driver in F1 has to get used to anticipating tight bends by breaking. Other realistic touches include the need to refuel and change worn tyres – otherwise you’ll be forced to retire.

Different game modes allow players to race in knockout contests or go for longer-term championships in which there is both a driver and a car constructors’ scoreboard. This, again, adds a touch of strategy to the action, because the thought of maintaining points will make players think twice about racing on with worn tyres just to snatch first place.

Incidentally, we actually dug out a Logic Freewheel and some foot pedals and connected them to F1. Not surprisingly this wasn’t a totally satisfying experiment, though they did work to a certain extent.




Domark would have done this game a lot more justice if they insisted on having the graphics and sound brought up to date, because deep down there’s actually an enjoyable game to be played.

Unfortunately, a lot of people won’t bother to persevere with F1 because it seems so visually slap dash. Those who are unmotivated by the gloss of most modern games, however, can find a racing challenge that holds more than average levels of tactical depth.

Nevertheless, the Amiga market needed a more rounded title to lift the standard of action gaming at the moment, and F1 just doesn’t deliver. Beating Microprose’s similarly-named racing game was always going to be tough, and unfortunately Domark just weren’t up to it on this occasion.

F1 World Championship Edition logo

First there was Vroom and then came F1. Steve Bradley straps on his seat belt to discover whether the latest incarnation takes pole position.

The racing game is serious in pace. No sooner have you leaned forward on the joystick than you’re careering past Michael Schumacher along the back straight, travelling at up to 200 miles per hour. But, hey, just a minute, haven’t we seen this somewhere before?

Disturbingly, the answer is yes. Back in May ‘92, Vroom arrived from UBI Soft followed two years later by a revamped version of said title from Domark, this time entitled F1. Both are excellent games, and F1 World Championship Edition is another fine number. Except the startling similarities lead one to wonder about value for money.

The first two versions rolled in at £26 while F1 WCE costs £30. ‘An official product of the FIA Formula One World Championship’ exclaims the packaging, and Domark have obviously invested more than a pretty penny in buying up the licence, including all the official racing teams, drivers and circuits – which explains the need to recoup cost. Sure, a different programming team have written this version, but it’s no more than a reconditioned game engine.

F1 World Championship Edition is one of the best racing games on the Amiga

F1 WCE is an excellent racing game. It’s very quick, graphically pleasant and blessed with options. Three levels of difficulty and the choice of five to 20 laps – race for any of the constructors teams and choose to be your favourite driver – you may even be yourself. How nice. And with Championship, Knockout and Practice modes, and best of all, a two-player with split-screen, you’re getting a whole load of… erm, similar options to the last version of F1.

The pits are prettier, now. You can swoop in and change tyres, fill up with juice and watch the little chaps at work. But it would have been nice to have more control options. In Automatic, you press up and down on the stick/pad to accelerate and brake respectively, while Manual calls for a tap on the fire button to change up and down the gears. Check out the options in Lotus 2, they let you dabble to suit yourself, though F1 WCE does let you use the keyboard.

This has turned into a bit of a whinge, but I don’t mean to be rude. F1 WCE is one of the best racing games on the Amiga. The cars corner and straighten superbly, tracks are abundant and in two-player mode it’s a real blast. No, the real problem is the cost. If you have the last version of F1, then don’t bother with this. Is you’ve yet to discover the delights though, F1 WCE won’t disappoint, though one would delight at a price of £20 and under.

F1 World Championship Edition logo

Umweltschutz ist gewiß auch im Motor-sport ein wichtiges Thema, aber zuviel Recycling schadet dem Blech: Hier schickt Domark die alten Lankhor-Boliden aus "Vroom" nach "F1" nun schon wieder an den Start!

Zwar heißt es ja, daß aller guten Dinge drei seine, doch kann das kaum für die Drittauflage eines Rennsiels unter jeweils neuem Namen gelten – und wenn sich, wie hier, die Nachzügler nur marginal vom Pace-Game unterscheiden, dann macht alsbald das böse Wort "Etikettenschwindel" die Runde...

Im Vergleich zu de Vorläugern finden sich nämlich kleine Präsentations-Retuschen wie verschönerte Zwischenscreens, im Sichtfeld integrierte Anzeigen (Tacho, Reifenzustand und Benzinpegel, nicht aber Stopp-uhr und Pistenkarte) und flottere Titelmusik nebst überzeugenderen Sound-FX, doch ist das letztlich alles nur Oberflächentünche, weil in sachen Gameplay alles beim alten blieb:

In einem Flitzer der Formel 1 sind wahlweise Solorennen gegen 15 Computergegner oder Splitscreen-Läufe gegen einen Mitspieler bzw. CPU-Lenker zu bestreiten. Wegen des monumentalen Scoreboards und fehlender PAL-Ausnutzung bleibt die Sicht dabei gerade in den Duo-Modi arg beschränkt, zudem wurde an der unausgewogenen Steuerung wenig getan.

So drosseln schon wieder selbst leichte Rempler gegen Bäume, Häuser oder anderes Straßenbeiwerk das Tempo oft gnadenlos auf Null, beschleunigt wird anschließend stets per Stick, statt optional mit dem Feuerknopf. Und weil die Konkurrenzfahrzeuge zu groß geraten sind,w erden Überholungsmanöver vielfach zum Glücksspiel.

Fairerweise sei gesagt, daß die karge, aber auf jedem Amiga pfeilschnelle 3D-Optik in Bewegung deutlich besser aussieht als auf den Fotos, zudem verstehen die drei Spielmodi auch langfristig zu motivieren. Hat man nämlich erst Übungsrunden auf den 16 realen Pisten (Monaco, Spa, etc.) gedreht, wartet der komplette WM-Zyklus inklusive zweier Qualifikationsrunden zwecks Bestimmung der Startposition – oder man geht in die Knockout-Competition, wo sich nur die jeweils ersten acht Fahrer im Ziel für das folgende Rennen qualifizieren.

Generell sind dabei die Anzahl der Runden und das Können der Gegner variabel, man darf sich seinen Rennstall aus acht Angeboten (Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Etc.) aussuchen, in der Box zwischen Automatik und Schaltgetriebe wählen, tanken, den Spoiler justieren oder bei Bedarf die Slicks gegen Regenreifen eintauschen.

Doch bis auf das aktualisierte WM-Teilnehmerfeld, vier zusätzliche Strecken und eine optionale Heck-Perspektive (statt der üblichen Cockpit-Kamera) kennt man das halt alles schon: im Gegenzug stornierte Vorgänger-Features wie der Turbo-Modus oder die Maus-Steuerung werden kaum vermißt. Für Neulinge ist das aufgewärmte Game somit durchaus eine Üerlegung wert, Rennveteranen sollten es aber weiträumig umfahren. (rl)

F1 World Championship Edition logo

Brrrrrrmmmmm. Brrrrrrmmmmm, brrrrrrmmmmm, brrrrrrmmmmm (deep breath), brrrrrrmmmmm! Yes, it's car racing time. The best thing about playing this is that you can sit in front of the monitor, turn the sound off and make car engine noises yourself. If you should want to. And providing nobody's watching, of course.

I’ve played F1 quite a lot you know. I can even remember back a number of years to an occasion when a friend of mine brought around a copy of a game called Vroom to play on my A500. And although F1 WCE is an extension of F1, which is (more or less) an update of Vroom (see The More Things Change… boxout), it’s a bit different.

You see there’s a new graphic thingummy to improve the look of the game. Vroom and F1 were never the best looking of games (although I was always too polite to tell them to their faces) and although F1 WCE isn’t going to win any awards for looks, it’s a definite improvement.

Ah, but what about the actual driving bit? I hear you ask. What’s all this world championship business? Well, I’m getting to that. I just thought you might like a bit of background to kick things off and break you in gently. Bloody readers.

The reason for the WCE tag is simple. Do you wanna win the World Championship and ‘be’ the best F1 driver in the world… ever (part 1)? Then now’s your chance. You start the proceedings by picking one of top eight teams to drive for (you know, Williams, Ferrari, Benetton, etc.) then you can either enter your name or stick with that of the ‘real’ driver and then race. This fairly simple theme is carried on throughout the whole game.

Once you’ve got your car and name sorted out, you then go into the Championship. Before each race you’ve got two laps of the circuit to get your best time to see where you line uip on the starting grid and then it’s the race.

Before the qualification or the race though you’ve got the chance to exploit the set up screen, where you can alter the settings for the gearbox, wings, tyres and fuel. You really do have to pay attention to these and respond accordingly to the length of the track, weather reports and all that sort of information that you got from the map showing you the course at the beginning of the round. With all that out of the way, you’re then on the grid, engine revving away and waiting for the light to turn green.

And boy is this fun. It’s brilliantly fast and amazingly exhilarating. The control of the car is light and flimsy, and ‘gives’ just enough to throw the things around corners at 180mph. But eventually you’ll come across corners that you try and take at 200mph+ because you’ve just come off a long straight. And this is why you’ll need to brake. A very understated term in driving, braking. But F1 WCE calls for, and rewards it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to act like you’re being followed by the rozzers, you’ve just got to be careful you don’t overdo it and have a surprise meeting with one of the delicately placed advertising boards or something a lot more painful.

Thankfully, o matter how poor your road holding ability is, there’s no way you can crash your car out of the race. You’re simply penalised in terms of time and can do nothing about it as (unless you’ve built up a big enough lead) the rest of the field catch you up or even pass you by. Dam. All that hard work wasted. Come back ‘ere, you lot.

Reading through that you might think that the game is worse because of it. Wrong. It’s better. This isn’t a simulation and no matter how realistic the game tries to be, it doesn’t forget that it’s a no-holds barred speed-freak racing game. Unfortunately, in all this neck-breaking, adrenaline-pumping action, there’s something missing.

Kick things off and break

Options. These may be considered niggly points by some, but to me they’re a near-fatal flaw. The most obvious is the lack of any control options, and given that you’re forced to use Up on the joystick to accelerate, I would have thought the chance to nominate a different control system, or at least configure the joystick, would be a must.

ON top of that, there’s no save game option. No password either. And with sixteen races in a season, it’s going to take a while to complete. Oddly, you can save out your lap records and keep some sort of challenge going, but it’s not a patch on being able to save your season. (Stop press. See the news section for an exciting update. - Ed)

There’s also a couple of little presentation problems. For instance, if you’re racing around the track, don’t make it round to the pit stop in time and run out of fuel, you retire. But select the retire option from the in game pause menu and you don’t just lose the race, you quit the entire game and go back to the main menu. And remember you haven’t had the opportunity to save the game, so you’ve lost how ever far you’ve got. And I was only four races from the end with a massive points lead in the championship. Nngh!

It’s not that these points ruin the game, they just ruin the interest and excitement. After playing it for a couple of hours, checking out all the options, getting to grips with the car and all that, I was seriously enjoying myself and thinking about marking this quite highly. But then as I got more involved, I wasn’t getting what I asked for.

And I was really more than a little bit annoyed at the way some of the bits of the game worked. This could be considered pettiness on my part, but don’t forget that if this game is out to give you the chance to play in the grueling world of Formula One, then it should at least give you the chance of a small rest. And it doesn’t. And that’s bad.


Number 1: Poor old Nige. All ready and waiting on the starting grid. And he forgets to press up on his joystick. He sits motionless (and probably more than a little bit upset) as the other cars mockingly pass him by.

Number 2: Using the supreme driving ability and tact for which he has become rightly world-renowned, Mr Schumacher gently 'persuades' the other cars to move out of the way. See it's that simple.


Progress can be a good thing. And as these pictures show, you don't need to invent new technology and put loads of people out of work to do it.

The old, the very fast and greatly playable, Vroom. A classic, I'd say.
The new, improved and stupidly fast (with Turbo mode on) F1. Whoosh!

F1 World Championship Edition logo

█ Price: £29.99 █ Publisher: Domark 0181 780 2222

The popular console racing game has finally made it over to the Amiga with a few extra features too.

With the Amiga conversion of the console favourite F1, Domark are the latest software house to return to the Amiga fold. OK, F1 may have been kicking around on the consoles for at least eighteen months now but it was well received there and should be more than welcome among the Amiga racing fraternity, who have been starved of a decent racing game for some time now.

F1 Championship Edition is a first person perspective racing game which throws you into the glamorous world of Formula One racing. Glamorous, Isupporse, to those who actually enjoy the prospect of being severely mangled ina claustrophobia-inducing sardine can on wheels.

In F1 you can rub shoulders with the likes of Damon Hil or Schumacher amongst others depending on which team you join. The teams include Ferrari, Benetton, Williams, Jordan, Minardi, Tyrrell, McLaren and Lotus.

After a few laps in the practice rounds you can either enter a knockout tournament or a world championship competition. In the knockout tournament you must make into the top eight otherwise you do not go on to the next round. The Championship runs over up to 16 circuits. Choosing from tracks such as Montreal, Australia, Germany and Brazil amongst others, you get to pick which ones and in which order you will race them. You can also set the number of laps per race (5, 10, 20).

Before you start the championship races you’ve got to qualify. Building up a fast lap time in the qualifying round ensures you a good position on the grid. Before each race you’re informed of the best lap time and the weather conditions so you can nip into the pits to make any adjustments necessary. Then you’re off into the race, trying to get ahead and stay on road despite twisty bits and adverse weather conditions.

Control is simple enough – a light touch to the joystick to the left or right should keep you on track if you’ve selected auto gears. If you’ve chosen manual gears then pressing fire and the joystick either up or down will move through the gearbox.

Personally, I prefer first person perspective racing games to the overhead variety. There is more a sense of actually being in the car than overhead racing games and this is certainly true of F1. The smooth control and road handling also gives the impression of total control over the car.

The graphics are fairly good too, with each track having its own unique graphics (mountains for Montreal and so on), but don’t expect to drive past the casino at Monaco. Most of the scenery is of the standard scrolling horizon type. However, unlike the original F1 there are more track-side objects which also add to the overall racing experience.

The sound effects, however, are quite tame. Crashing headlong into a track side hoarding (I was only testing I swear) produces a pathetic puny pinging sound – disappointing. Also, timing a pit stop can be incredible difficult. The handy map at the top helps you memorise where the pit stop is but it doesn’t seem to help you pull into one smoothly. I’ve often pulled into a pit stop and shot straight through into the barriers at the end! I hear the doubting Thomases of ou murmur. Perhaps. Why not try it out for yourself and see.

Racing fans should be satisfied by the speed alone and even non-believers would do well to take a look.