|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|Mode(s)||Up to 8 players simultaneous|
|Arcade system||Namco System 2|
|Display||Horizontal orientation, Raster|
Final Lap (ファイナルラップ Fainaru Rappu?) is a racing video game produced by Namco, and released by Atari Games for the United States in 1987. It is a direct successor to Namco's earlier Pole Position games.
Final Lap was the first racing game to allow up to eight players to simultaneously race, on the Suzuka Circuit in a Formula One race. This was at the time considered a revolutionary feature, implemented by linking together multiple arcade machines. It was also arguably the first racing game to implement "rubber banding" to ensure that less talented players were never too far behind the leader, a concept that would be taken much further by the Mario Kart series. There was also a single player mode, in which player score was based on how far the car travelled until time ran out or if the player completes four laps (on default settings).
The player pilots Formula One cars of the 1987 season and may choose between Williams-Honda, Lotus-Honda, McLaren-Porsche or March-Cosworth. 1987 was also the first time a Formula One grand prix was held on the Suzuka track. The track is reproduced very similar to even down to sponsor billboards to the original track but greatly shortened, as it takes less than 40 seconds to complete one lap in the game. The only music in the game was the theme when the race was started, which plays for three seconds and sounds like the Pole Position start music, a short fanfare if a record is broken and when the four laps were completed.
It was the first game that ran on Namco's System 2 hardware, which was composed of:
- Motorola 68000 x2/12.288000 MHz
- Motorola 6809 3.072000 MHz
- Hitachi HD63705 2.04800 MHz
- Namco C-140 Custom PCM chip
- Yamaha YM-2151 sound processor
Final Lap continued with a number of folloups: Final Lap 2 in 1990, which featured courses in Japan, USA, Italy, and Monaco; Final Lap 3 in 1992; and Final Lap R in 1993. There were also a number of spinoffs: the Family Computer game simply titled Final Lap released in 1988; the unusual racing-RPG Final Lap Twin released in 1989; and Final Lap 2000 and Final Lap Special, a pair of games released for the WonderSwan and WonderSwan Color respectively.
In 1990, Philip Morris, the tobacco conglomerate, filed a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement against Namco, Atari Games (the Final Lap distributor in the U.S.) and Sega on behalf of their Super Monaco GP game because both of these games featured a Marlboro billboard, which was found on the real-life Suzuka and Monaco tracks.
Philip Morris was under investigation at the time for their role in preteen smoking, and the appearance of one of their brands in games aimed towards children and teens did not help their image. Namco was forced to pay a settlement and Sega had to edit their game to remove all Marlboro signs.