Great Old Gaming FAILS -Formula 1 98 (PS1)

As we discussed last week I’m a bit of a Formula 1 fan. And I absolutely LOVED F1 97. So when F1 98 came out a year later surely it was going to be a far better game? Improving on the original in every possible way? Erm… No. It was a stinker.

Let’s address the positives first. The controls now supported the dual shock pad which was good. There were however pretty unresponsive so that was shoddy. The Murray Walker commentary also returned but unlike F1 97 here there was maybe a hand full of sayings he’d utter completely at random. It was a big let down.

The graphics felt simplistic especially the cars themselves. The overhead view angle also just felt… Wrong. I’ve tried to work out exactly why but I can’t. Wrong is the only word to use.

So what went wrong? And what lessons can be learn here?

F1 97 was developed by Bizarre Creations. They were the development team that went on to create the highly regarded Project Gotham Racing games on the Xbox and Xbox 360. It was a labour of love to create something approximating the F1 experience

F1 98 however was a massive, massive, rush job. Publisher Psygnosis first offered the 98 job to Reflections Interactive. If that name sounds familiar they developed all the Driver series of games. I’m sure we’ll get round to them in Gems eventually. Reflections turned them down so it feel to developer Visual Science. Visual Science had a good track record of porting games to the PS1. The ported Lemmings and the first two Grand Theft Auto Games to great success. However they didn’t really have any history of developing games themselves.

Add this to the fact that the publisher wanted the game to be released before the end of the F1 season that year and you had a rush job and it showed in the playing.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Just because someone has done a newer version of a gaming franchise you love that doesn’t mean it’s better. And I’m looking directly at you FIFA when I type this. I admit now that I hate football with a passion so to me, as an outsider, every FIFA game plays the same as every other FIFA game. I’ve not spotted a single difference between FIFA ’16 and FIFA ’16.

Playing games based on licences we love does make us more predisposed to enjoy them. However we should never let it blind us to a bad game.