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.
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
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
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.