When Papyrus, the creators of the NASCAR series of car simulations decided to create a historical Grand Prix game, people were confused. "How could a game modeled after a 1967 racing league be fun?" they asked. Well, to put it bluntly, it's fun because it is harshly, brutally realistic. With few of the safety features and engine restrictions required on today's race cars, the 1967 Grand Prix season was the deadliest in history. Horsepower was maxxed out, extra fuel tanks were put right in the cockpit with the drivers, and seatbelts... what are those? By the end of the racing season, fully half of the original drivers were dead.
Cars slide, drift, bounce, and skid in what can only be called the most realistic simulation ever. They also crash, and oh do they crash - Grand Prix Legends has some of the most explosive crashes in the racing genre. Unlike some great racing games like Gran Turismo, you are not artificially stuck on the ground. Cars can and will flip over, explode, and send tires flying in all directions. Just watching the replays of you killing your car is terrific fun.
Papyrus has taken a nontraditional game idea and has created something that has more depth and is much more fun than the rank and file of racing games. While most racing simulations skimp on the graphics in favor of realism, Grand Prix Legends rejects this stereotype with some great three-D acceleration. By using either a 3Dfx or Rendition card, you'll see some beautiful visuals. All the cars were meticulously recreated from their original counterparts, featuring the real racing teams such as Ferrari, Brabham, and Lotus-Ford. The models are also incredibly detailed - you can see the suspension moving independently up and down, springs compressing, as you take the bumps. The wheels are actually round (this has plagued so many racing games it's not even funny) and you can even sometimes see the words "Goodyear" on them.
The tracks have been created with equal attention to all the little things. They are all modeled to scale from the original eleven Grand Prix tracks of 1967. All in all, Grand Prix Legends has the best graphics in racing simulation history.
And just because the graphics are good doesn't mean that Papyrus skimped on the realism. Grand Prix Legends requires incredible patience to climb the steep learning curve. If you are looking for an arcade racer, let me stress that this is not your game! It may take you a couple of days to even be able to keep up with the computer racers.
Not that this is a bad thing - once you learn the basic physics of the cars you'll understand a lot more about driving. And then you'll start winning races.
If you want to get even more out of your car you can head to the garage, where you can modify everything from tire pressure to camber and timber. Car enthusiasts may have just as much fun messing around with their cars as actually racing. It takes nearly all the skill of actually being a mechanic and also gives you a test bed to see if your modifications made a difference.
Since all the cars handle differently, and because you can modify them so extensively, Grand Prix Legends also has the most depth of any racing game on the PC.
Sounds aren't half bad either - the engines sound different on all of the cars, while tire screeches and burn-outs tend to sound the same. The lack of music makes the game seem kind of sparse as you are driving around, but the excitement makes up for it. Besides, you can always provide your own soundtrack.
Multi-player is really a kick-ass system. It supports up to twenty, count them, twenty players over LAN, Internet, or Modem. And you can even combine the three ways to connect - you and four others on a LAN could connect to eight other people over the Internet, for example. Once a bunch of people you know have learned how to drive their cars, it is even more fun to race against each other. Crashing into the computer is one thing, crashing into your buddy is another, more exciting thing.
Grand Prix Legends is truly Revolutionary. Papyrus opted for a completely original game design, a whole new physics engine, a good idea, and the result is a completely original game. The realism, exhilaration, and pure fun factor makes Grand Prix Legends an instant classic. Sierra Sports takes the checkered flag... People will be playing this one for a long time.