Super Monaco Grand Prix

Title           Super Monaco Grand Prix
Genre           Sports
Company         Sega (Amiga conversion by Probe Software)
Players         1
HD Installable  No
Compatibillity  Not AGA
Submission      Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer

Super Monaco GP is a sprite-based Formula 1 racing game viewed from behind
the steering wheel. The arcade version was very popular during the late
eighties, and the game was converted to several formats, including the
Amiga. People were fairly impressed with this game when it was released,
but there has been a number of similar games released in the nineties. How
does Super Monaco GP compare to them?

There's nothing really special with this game. If you came across someone
playing it, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were playing Vroom, F1 or
some other 1st person sprite based racer. If you're the player, you'll
know that these games are a bit better, but this offering isn't really
that far behind the competition, both in the gameplay and presentation

The problems with Super Monaco GP are related to the fact that this is an
arcade conversion. Arcade games can't be played forever, so playing
through the entire world championship takes too much time. Sega (the
manufacturers of the Arcade) solved this by showing you the Game Over
screen if you crash your car so hard that it can't continue the race. This
isn't realistic, real F1 drivers crash relatively often, but yet they
usually come back to race the next circuit unless they get seriously
injured. Also, Sega made the game harder by denying you the possibillity
to continue to the next race if you don't do well in the current race.
This is far from the situation in the real world (imagine Hakkinen being
kicked out of the world championship if he placed 8th in one race!).

Once Super Monaco GP was transfered to a computer, the need for quick
games disappeared. You would think that Sega had enough sense to throw
away all the qualifying nonsense, but no such luck. They could have made
the game more player friendly by providing passwords, but they didn't.
This is my biggest problem with the game. There are so many games which
will allow you to play proper championships, and that is so much more fun
than always having to qualify for the next race (unless you can save the
game between races or receive passwords). At the very least the game could
have been more forgiving when dealing with those crashes. It just gets so
frustrating, having to restart the whole thing over again whenever you
make a small mistake.

As I said, there's nothing special about the actual gameplay (as long as
you don't crash). The controls are ok, and the action is fast enough to
satisfy most of us. The biggest problem here is that computer cars can
drive straight through you from behind. Not only does this prevent you
from preventing them to pass you, like a real driver would be able to
(within reasonable limits), but it also increases the chance of you
crashing into them. When a computer car has passed through you, he'll be
very close, and you'll often end up bumping into his rear end before you
get the chance to react, something which I find really annoying.

You can choose if you want to play with a mouse or a joystick, and you can
also alter the mouse/joystick sensitivity. There are three "difficulty
levels" (automatic transmission, 4 gears or 7 gears). This only affects
your car, so you'll have to drive very well if you want to keep up with
the others if you've selected automatic transmission. The graphics are
nice (but, again, very similar to most games of this kind). There's no 3d
objects, everything is sprite-based. I don't mind this, but I know others
do. The sound side is rather boring, with engine noises and other
neccesary sounds, but not more. The title tune isn't too bad, but it's not
really good either.

As a conclusion, I'll say that this is an okay game, but the fact that you
can't play proper seasons and the lack of a two player mode ruins a lot of
the fun. When there are so many games without these problems, there's no
reason to buy Super Monaco GP, especially if you allready own some driving
games (and if you don't, there's other alternatives which are much better,
you can probably find some of them reviewed elsewhere in the Amiga Games
Database). Having said that, the game is addictive for a while, so if the
game is cheap enough, your money won't be totally wasted.

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