Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit

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Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit
Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit
Cover art
Developer(s) Fuji Television
Publisher(s) Sega
Distributor(s) Sega
Series Formula One
Platform(s) Sega Mega-CD
Release date(s)
  • JP April 23, 1994
  • NA 1994
  • EU 1994
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution CD-ROM

Formula One World Championship: Beyond the Limit, released in Japan as Heavenly Symphony: Formula One World Championship 1993 (ヘブンリー シンフォニー フォーミュラーワン ワールド チャンピオンシップ 1993?), is a 1994 racing game released for the Sega Mega-CD. As the name implies, the game places you in the seat of a Formula One car complete with multiple teams and opponents, and all the licensed tracks of the series.

Beyond the Limit made heavy use of scaling and rotating background layers and sprites as well as limited use of texture mapped polygon graphics (like the grand stands), with scaling and rotation (via affine texture rendering) one of the key features of the Mega-CD/Sega CD console. The effect is similar in some respects to Sega arcade classics such as Super Monaco GP and Outrun, but far more advanced with the rotation, warping, and textured simple polygon models. (albeit less smooth in terms of frame rate) Though the Sega/Mega CD was capable of scaling and rotating objects, the quality of these effects varied from developer to developer and game to game. Beyond the Limit showcased competent scaling and rotation on a system where the effect was rarely used, making this a significant technical accomplishment of the short lived system. (several other examples on the Sega CD were developed by Core Design and Clockwork Games such as Soulstar or The Adventures of Batman & Robin)


Beyond the Limit was a very complex game for its time, despite sharing some similarities with Sega's own Super Monaco GP series. You started in a test track with a generic car, aiming for a top time in order to receive contract offers from Formula One teams. After accepting an offer, all the races on the season had to be completed and depending on your performance, bigger and better teams would offer you their cars. Race bad, though, and you could even get fired.

Because this game was made after the 1993 season had already finished, the game included what can be considered the most extreme amount of features included in a racing simulation for the time that was released outside of Japan. The game included all of the tracks used in the 1993 season, including a fictional 'Sega Park Circuit' course used for testing. Also included were all thirty-five drivers that drove at some point during the 1993 season, and as most of the driver changes occurred in the last third of the season, as you play near the ending of the season you'll begin to notice many of the driver's changing in the lower classed teams. On a secondary note, Ayrton Senna is not included in the game as his license was held by his own game produced on the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. Fortunately, the driver that replaces Senna is the only editable driver in the game, thus it allows you to put Senna back into the game, although there is not enough room in the editor for his full name and thus must be named 'A. Senna.'

The game was very similar in gameplay to Exhaust Heat for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, albeit this game was in first person view, which is saying it was about as realistic as console racing simulators got during this time. The full use of the Sega CD capabilities, though, came through the superb sound and music of the game, streamed straight from the CD, and the complex scheme of progressing to better teams and cars.

Tobacco Sponsorship[edit]

In light of censorship in many console games, it is probably by accident that a couple of tobacco sponsors used in 1993 appear in the game. As is common with many of the tobacco and alcohol sponsors used in Formula 1, they are always excluded from console released games.

When driving at the Canadian Grand Prix in the game, Imperial Tobacco brand Player's (mostly sold in Canada only) is clearly visible all over the circuit. In many of the cut scenes, Chesterfields is visible on some of the cars sponsored by them, yet Chesterfields is another cigarette brand from Europe. Finally Barclay, which sponsored the Jordan team during 1993, is also visible.

Many of the other popular known cigarette brands such as Marlboro and Camel, are not displayed around the circuits or in the cut scenes, yet the cars themselves that carried these particular sponsors (McLaren, Williams, Benetton) have them clearly visible in game.

The exclusion of some brands and the inclusion of others was more than likely ignorance on part of the Japanese graphic designers, although it bears to mention that this game was under full supervision of Fuji Television and carries the FIA license, meaning someone at some point should have realized the errors. This game was released after the controversial arcade version of Super Monaco GP, that in the game and opening cut scenes included many images of the Marlboro McLaren team, even though the game was not licensed by the FIA. This subsequently led to a different version of the simulator being released.

Changes for the US and European release[edit]

In addition to the name change for the U.S. and European release, several changes were made.

  • The game was overall much harder in the Japanese version. The control was slower as well as the acceleration speed, and the risk of engine failure was much higher. It was possible to have mechanical problems to the car upon hitting an obstacle at high speed, which could not happen in the exported version. The turbo could only be used for about one full lap before an engine failure, while it was possible to use it for about four laps in the exported version. Also, it was possible in the Japanese version to spin off the track under wet conditions even when not hitting any obstacles.
  • The game measured in miles per hour in the US and European version, while it measured kilometres per hour in the Japanese.
  • During gameplay, the map and time was displayed on top of the screen in the Japanese version. In the exported version, these were displayed at the bottom.
  • The introduction music, and ending music in "1993 mode" were changed.
  • In the Japanese version, music was played while racing in the 1993 mode, one of the tracks was an unused track in the exported version. Other themes played while racing was for example the introduction music to the exported version, or various menu themes.
  • The music played in the menus were slightly exchanged for some other tracks in the Japanese version. However, all tracks are available in both versions.
  • A bonus screen was added in the exported version when the player had won the driver's and team championship, granting the player access to all videos in the entire game. This menu did not appear in the Japanese version.

The spoken introduction for each opening race in the English version was made by Chris Peppler, the same person in the Japanese edition.


  1. ^ "Release Information".