Arts is not always a name that oozes quality and imagination as
much as consistency. You may not be seeing something special, but
you are guaranteed to see something good. That's never been more
apparent in the company's lineup of titles for the Gameboy Advance.
These are all good games, but for the most part, not great ones.
Of course, with EA, you are promised that next year's version will
be better, and their many software studios will be working on it.
an important thing to keep in mind when you spend time with F1
2002. I enjoyed this game, I liked this game, but I can't honestly
say I loved it. I wasn't excited of hooked the way I was with Moto
GP and Motoracer Advance.
Still, on a handheld system with one too many cartoon racers, we
must be happy with what we have.
This title captures the world of Formula One racing, with authentic
cars, drivers, and racetracks. Players begin by registering a name
and signing with one of the racing teams, and choose a car and driver.
As far as I can tell, there isn't any difference between any of
them; a Ferrari drives just the same as a Jaguar. It all comes down
to which color you like.
once you're ready, you can compete in a championship, a full season,
or a quick race against a friend. Why more than two players can't
race together is beyond me; four players should be the absolute
standard in every racing game, and it's sorely missed here. There's
really no excuse, and, yes, I will point this out every time a game
supports only two players.
title goes to great lengths to make racing as easy as possible on
the Advance's unjustly tiny screen. Each race is previewed with
a map of the course, clearly labeling all turns, as well as the
ideal speed necessary to successfully navigate them. During the
actual races, there are the usual signs off the side to tell you
how close the next turn will be, and an on-screen icon appears to
warn you when it's time to slow down. This is a common feature in
rally games, and I really appreciate it here. Thank goodness most
everyone has the sense to include these icons in their Advance titles.
enjoyed the look to everything. The tracks are all flat, devoid
of any hills or dips, but the roads are wonderfully detailed. The
red stripes to the side, the well-worn asphalt that guides you to
the best racing line, the saturation of the browns and greens during
sunshine or rain; everything just looks terrific. The backgrounds
include photorealistic pictures of blue skies and clouds, which
are perfectly sharp and without dithering. This is much closer to
what one expects on the modern consoles, and is continuing evidence
that this little machine has yet to reach its full potential. Much
better than it's "portable Super Nintendo" reputation.
racecars themselves look great, but here's a problem I have. Their
movement tends to be a little choppy. This is no doubt a concession
to prevent needless blurring on the color LCD screen; there are
also twenty or more cars on the road at a time. So smooth animation
is sacrificed for overall speed. This is more noticeable during
turns; it seems your car only has a few frames for turning. Add
in twenty cars all doing this and everything starts to look, frankly,
a little cheap. Maybe I'm just being a trite picky, but I would
willingly settle for a slightly slower game to have cars that didn't
look like they were cut and pasted.
tends to transfer to the handling of the vehicles. The steering
is very fine, especially when you consider how lousy it can be in
so many other games. The movement of your car feels a little greasy;
quick, responsive, perhaps a tad light. There isn't as much traction
as there should be, especially for a car that's flying by at 300
mph. Again, this is possibly just a concession because of the platform.
It still bothers the hell out of me.
may seem that I'm waffling; that may be true. There is much about
F1 2002 that I enjoy so much, and yet there are things
that just stick in my side. For instance, I like the fact that the
computer-controlled cars aren't perfect automatons. They often make
mistakes, crashing, spinning out. I don't like that you can quickly
dart out to the front of the pack before the first turn. This is
supposed to be a simulation, and I don't need any help, thank you
very much. I like that you can actually make contact with the cars
without spinning out. I don't like it when I crash, but the other
car just drives off, unaffected. I like the club music that's played
during the menu screens. I really don't like listening to all those
engines' high-pitched buzzing. Sounds like I'm being chased by hornets.
to the credits, this game was the work of Magic Pockets, who should
be commended for their efforts. F1 2002 reminds me a lot
of Super Monaco GP on the Sega Genesis many years ago;
many players remember that title fondly, and rightfully so.