US Gold

Super Monaco GP

Just when you thought the last racing game had shuddered, heaved a small sigh and simply ground to a halt, up pops another and begs you to drive it until you go mad.

The still remarkably sane Ed Ricketts clambers reluctantly into the driving seat, wearing his driving gloves, a pair of thick driving goggles and a sickly grin.


At least when you fail you're told in a way that's as
pleasant as possible.Surely she could have found
something better to wear than half a suit of armour
though...

Sometimes a title appears which changes the face of computer gaming forever. A game with style, originality, incredible graphics and unbelievable addictiveness. Super Monaco GP is not one of these games. Fortunately it doesn't even pretend to be - it's a racing game.

You can choose from three types of vehicle: a bog-standard automatic which is about as useful as a loofah in the Sahara desert, or two manual shift cars, one with four gears and the other with seven. Obviously, if you can handle the seven gear car, it's your best bet. Joystick control is possible but only recommended for masochists.


Once again, it's time to pretend you're Ayrton Senna
or Nigel Mansell... Yes, it's yet another racing sim. Four
different tracks to choose from and (slightly) variable
weather conditions should mean you'll be playing this
one for some time to come - shouldn't it?

There are four tracks from around the world on which to compete, but you have to win on each one before you can compete on the next. Before you can race at all, you need to qualify within the top 15 on an empty track - tail at this stage and the game ends before it's even begun. Qualify and you're through to the main event.

To win on the first three tracks - France, Brazil ant Spain - you have to complete three laps and be one of the first few cars to pass the checkered flag. it's not easy. Driving into the side barriers doesn't cause an immediate crash, but make sure you get back onto the track as quickly as possible or you can say goodbye to your wheels, chassis and probably your legs. Other drivers regularly but you up the backside without a scratch - but try the same yourself and you soon know the meaning of pain. When - and if - you eventually make it through all the heats, you get the chance to race at Monaco itself, first in dry conditions where you must finish in the top three to qualify, then in the wet, where you must simply try to finish!

ON THE ROAD TO MONACO... OR BUST

Before you risk life and limb on the race track, at least take the time to have a quick glance at the route you're supposed to take (or miss it completely, as the case may be)

Poised and confident, you're on the starting line, all souped up and ready to go. check your hair in the mirror, make sure you've got some mints and get yourself in gear for the race

At various points along the way you encounter these checkpoints. They don't seem to serve any purpose, except to distract your attention at the most inopportune moments...

This invariably leads to your demise - no blood and gore, just minor inconveniences like lack of wheels. Why don't any of the other drivers ever crash? (Grumble, mutter, complain...)

EFFECTS
SMGP (as it's known to its friends) is a very professional program. The track scrolls smoothly, the roadside sprites are detailed enough and the other cars look great. The only problem in the graphical department is the way the sprites lose resolution as they approach you - trees become a mass of green blocks, for example.This technique is necessary to keep the speed of the game constant, but it does mean you lose out on some of the realism.


The screen is very colourful too because the programmers manage to display more than 16 shades on screen at once - though unfortunately they don't show up on our screenshots. Visually, then, there's really nothing much to complain about.

Sound is a different matter. There are no samples at all, just a standard intro tune and run-of-the-mill squeal-skid noises during the game. A beefy scream of agony as you're engulfed in a twisted mass of tortured metal would have livened things up a bit.


On the first three circuits you encounter, there's a
certain chance of the track being wet. Fortunately,
the probability of this decreases as you gradually
progress through the game

More often than not, racing in France means you get to
skid around the track more than a bar of soap that's
been dipped in gelatine and then thrown onto a large
frozen pond - which is quite a bit, really...

VERDICT
There isn't anything new to say about Super Monaco GP although the unnecessarily abbreviated title might tempt you to make some off- hand reference to extremely wealthy doctors who practise on the Riviera.

The game is competently put together, but it's still just another racing simulation. However, it is disheartening to find that a company as capable as US Gold can still release such an average title, It may be a cliche, but the best advice is this: buy Super Monaco GP if you're into racing games in a big way, otherwise you may be disappointed,

ED RICKETTS

ON THE ROAD TO MONACO... OR BUST
• Country in which
you are racing   -->
• The absolute minimum position to which you can drop - fall below this and the game ends -->
• Your current driving position -->
• Gear you're in - there are four possible gears on this car,-->
seven on the high powered model, none at all on the automatic

<--   • Recorded times for each lap
<--   • Current lap time
<--   • Current lap out of three
<--   • Driving points - there increase as you go on. Get enough and your name is entered into the table of best drivers
GRAPHICS
7
SOUNDTRACK
5
INTELLIGENCE
3
INSTANT APPEAL
8
LONG TERM APPEAL
6
OVERALL
71%

 


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Page last updated: 15 October 2011
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