Michael Andretti's World GP

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Michael Andretti's World GP
Michael Andretti's World GP
Cover art
Developer(s) Human Entertainment
Publisher(s) Varie
American Sammy
Platform(s) NES
Release date(s)
  • JP December 9, 1988
  • NA June 1990
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single Player
Two Player head-to-head
Distribution Cartridge

Michael Andretti's World GP (known in Japan as Nakajima Satoru: F-1 Hero) is a video game developed by Human Entertainment released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. It starred American IndyCar driver Michael Andretti, and featured the full sixteen-race schedule of the FIA Formula One World Championship circuit (though Andretti himself would only compete in Formula One in the 1993 season).

World GP was unique in that it deviated from most console racing games of its time. Instead of being an arcade-style driving game (such as Rad Racer or Al Unser Jr.'s Turbo Racing), World GP more closely resembled a simulation-style racing game. It was the first NES racing game to feature an entire field of real-life drivers (although all but Andretti had pseudonyms), and rather accurately depicted the sixteen circuits on the Formula One schedule. Four different cars were offered in the game, however, there were no car set-ups in the game, a feature most frequently associated with racing simulations.

Gameplay[edit]

Compared to most console racing games of its time, World GP was much more difficult. The circuits were accurately depicted as having both sharp and wide turns, thus requiring players to slow down to certain speeds for corners, instead of most arcade-style games, which allowed players to unrealistically take turns flat-out. Gear shifting was also required for three of the cars (and notably for 8 of the 9 levels of the game), and some courses required dozens of gear changes per lap. Tire wear increased as the races went on, and players would be required to pit for tires at least once during each race to remain competitive.

Button assignments were traditional and simple.

  • "Left" and "Right" were used for steering. These two buttons were tapped singly rather than held down during turns. In cornering, the cars made predetermined angles of curvature depending upon the number of taps.
  • "Up" and "Down" were used for upshifting and downshifting, respectively.
  • "A" button and "B" button were used for the accelerator and brake, respectively
  • Quickly tapping the "A" button during pit stops increased the speed of the pit crew
  • Simultaneously holding down "A" button and "B" button held the car's speed, aiding the player in cornering
    • A trick for getting through some of the higher-speed tight turns is to continue to drive straight, flat out into the turn, and lock the brakes as you enter the grass. This causes the car to slide through the grass, and follow the line of the track. Once the car re-enters the track after the turn, you get back on the gas, and keep on racing. It adds an excitingly fun an explorative skill element to the race, as you must time your braking so as to only skid while on the grass, otherwise you decelerate very quickly by braking on the road. It is also challenging to see where this technique aids/hampers your time.

When multiple cars were on the track, the game featured no direct interaction between vehicles. All of the competitors' machines behaved in a ghost-like manner, and could be driven through and occupy the same space as others. Cars were unable to spin others out, and could not directly impede their progress.

Nearly every screen in the entire game featured a short-looped, repeating soundtrack. Unlike most racing games, however, there was no music played while actually driving.

Circuits[edit]

World GP featured a 16-race Formula One schedule resembling that of 1988. The tracks were as follows:

Round Race Location Laps
1 Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix Jacarepagua 7
2 San Marino San Marino Grand Prix Imola 7
3 Monaco Monaco Grand Prix Monaco 10
4 Mexico Mexican Grand Prix Mexico City 8
5 Canada Canadian Grand Prix Montreal 8
6 United States Detroit Grand Prix Detroit 8
7 France French Grand Prix Paul Ricard 9
8 United Kingdom British Grand Prix Silverstone 7
9 Germany West German Grand Prix Hockenheim 5
10 Hungary Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring 8
11 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps 5
12 Italy Italian Grand Prix Monza 6
13 Portugal Portuguese Grand Prix Estoril 8
14 Spain Spanish Grand Prix Jerez 8
15 Japan Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka 6
16 Australia Australian Grand Prix Adelaide 9

Each circuit featured a pit area represented by a pylon. On most circuits, the pits were located just prior to the start/finish line. In France, England, Spain, and Australia, the pits were located just after the start/finish line.

At the time the game was released, the United States Grand Prix was no longer held at Detroit, but at Phoenix instead. The only track depicted in the game that Michael Andretti ever won at was Detroit. He won there in 1990 in a CART event. Of the remaining circuits, his best finish was third at Italy.

Machines[edit]

Four different machines were featured in the game. Each had a unique pitch, and slightly varying top speeds.

The Chevy was the dominant machine in the game, despite not being a Formula One car. In reality, it was used in the CART series. Andretti, in fact, drove one in the CART series from 1989-1991, and the cover art on the game box accurately displays Andretti's 1989 Lola Chevrolet.

Drivers[edit]

  • Michael Andretti- In the game, Andretti is the top driver on the circuit. He appears only in level 9. He is a fast qualifier, a tough racer, and wins nearly every race and nearly every pole position if not done so by the player. Ironically, at the time the game was released, Andretti was not even a Formula One driver. He was racing in the CART series, and never as much as tested an F1 car until 1992. He did compete in the 1993 Formula One season, but after dismal results, left after only thirteen races. In his racing career, he raced at only nine of the tracks depicted in the game.
  • Alain Brost (Alain Prost)- Strong driver throughout the game, he has been known to win races in Level 9, beating even Andretti.
  • Ayrton Zenna (Ayrton Senna)- Very close in talent to Brost, beating him on occasion. Zenna is the first opponent the player encounters who drives a Chevy Lola.
  • Gelhart Gerger (Gerhard Berger)- This driver is a step up from the rest, and the player gets to challenge him with a new car, the Honda V-10 automatic. In level 9, however, he seldom qualifies for any of the races.
  • Nelson Pequet (Nelson Piquet)- This driver is not as fast a qualifier as Manselo, but is better at winning.
  • Nigel Manselo (Nigel Mansell)- A fierce, overachieving driver in the game, he is usually the fastest qualifier at every race, even up through level 8. During the race, however, he struggles to maintain his fast pace, pits erratically, and usually wears out his tires too quickly.
  • Alesandro Nannimi (Alessandro Nannini)- Another subtle step up in ability, this driver is first encountered in level 3.
  • Thierry Bietsen (Thierry Boutsen)- Unlike Alboreta, this driver is a much more consistent qualifier and racer. He will win nearly every race in level 2 that the player does not.
  • Michele Alboreta (Michele Alboreto)- The first formidable opponent a player faces. A beginner will find him fast, but after gaining experience, Alboreta is easy to beat, even having been given a slower car. Sometimes, Alboreta has an erratic race and might fail to qualify.
  • Derek Warwich (Derek Warwick)- On occasion, if Alboreta trips up and fails to qualify, Warwich is strong enough to win a race in level 1
  • Jonathan Pulmer (Jonathan Palmer)- This driver typically qualifies for races in level 1, and is a challenge only to a novice player.
  • Ivan Capella (Ivan Capelli)- If the player is fast enough to qualify for each race in level 1 and 2, like Cheemer, this driver will likely not qualify for any races.
  • Eddie Cheemer (Eddie Cheever, Jr.)- This driver is the least talented of the field. He appears only in level 1, and seldom even qualifies. If he does qualify, he usually finishes last, and sometimes he is lapped.

Grand Prix mode[edit]

The Grand Prix mode of World GP featured nine levels of competition. Each had an increasing number of rounds, an increased level of difficulty, and was led by a featured driver. For each level, the player was provided a certain car. Players could save and continue games by use of a password.

Qualifying[edit]

Upon entering the Grand Prix mode, the player registers his/her name, and begins at level 1. At the onset of each race, the player is first shown a map of the circuit. On the next screen, the player is shown the results of qualifying thus far. All five computer opponents have completed their time trial run. The top four comprise the tentative starting grid. The slowest computer driver (5th fastest) does not qualify. The object of qualifying is for the player to qualify amongst the top four, and "bump" his way into the starting grid.

Qualifying consists of five timed laps, alone on the track. From a standing start, the player has five laps to record the best single lap time possible. Tire wear influences the speeds, and pitting for tires is allowed on any lap, however, elapsed seconds in the pit area are included in the respective lap time. The fastest single lap is recorded and if it is among the four fastest qualifiers, the player qualifies for the race. If the player does not qualify, he must sit out the race, and instead watch it through the perspective of the featured driver. Hitting the "select" button during qualifying aborts the session. If the player had already registered a lap fast enough to qualify for the race, it is unnecessary to run all five laps.

Race[edit]

The race begins from a standing start, and runs a specific number of laps, depending upon the length of the circuit. The top half of the screen features a map of the circuit, and the position of all four cars represented by icons. Tire wear influences lap times, and a pit stop for tires near the halfway point is required to remain competitive. Players are required to compete, and are not allowed to abort the race. If a car is lapped during the race, he will only be scored for the laps he completed. Spinning out during the race is possible, but no incident ever causes a car to completely drop out of the race. Fuel is also not a factor in the game.

Championship points[edit]

At the conclusion of each race, points are awarded to the four finishers (5-3-2-1). At the end of the level, a champion is declared. In order to advance to the next level, the player is required to score the most points and be the champion of the level. If the player does not score the most points in the level, the password given returns the player back to the first race of that level, and he is allowed to replay it from scratch. Level 9, however, is only allowed to be played once. If the player scored the most points in Level 9, he would be declared the World Champion, win the game overall, and a special screen displayed. If the player did not win the championship, the game is over.

Nakajima Satoru F1 Hero[edit]

This game was the English-language version of "Nakajima Satoru F1 Hero." It was an original Formula One videogame released in 1988) and it was very popular in Japan during that decade. And so, Andretti and Nintendo released this game two years later for a North American audience.

Levels[edit]

Level Competitors Machine Rounds
Level 1
Michele Alboreta
M. Aboreta
D. Warwich
J. Pulmer
I. Capella
E. Cheemer
Ferrari V-12
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Level 2
Thierry Bietsen
T. Bietsen
M. Alboreta
D. Warwich
J. Pulmer
I. Capella
Ferrari V-12
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada
Level 3
Alesandro Nannimi
A. Nannimi
T. Bietsen
M. Alboreta
D. Warwich
J. Pulmer
Ferrari V-12
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States
Level 4
Nigel Manselo
N. Manselo
A. Nannimi
T. Bietsen
M. Alboreta
D. Warwich
Mugen V-8
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France
Level 5
Nelson Pequet
N. Pequet
N. Manselo
A. Nannimi
T. Bietsen
M. Alboreta
Mugen V-8
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France, England
Level 6
Gelhart Gerger
G. Gerger
N. Pequet
N. Manselo
A. Nannimi
T. Bietsen
Honda V-10
(4-speed automatic)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France, England
West Germany, Hungary
Level 7
Ayrton Zenna
A. Zenna
G. Gerger
N. Pequet
N. Manselo
A. Nannimi
T. Bietsen
Chevrolet Lola V-8 Turbo
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France, England
West Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy
Level 8
Alain Brost
A. Brost
A. Zenna
G. Gerger
N. Pequet
N. Manselo
Chevrolet Lola V-8 Turbo
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France, England
West Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy
Portugal, Spain
Level 9
Michael Andretti
M. Andretti
A. Brost
A. Zenna
G. Gerger
N. Pequet
Chevrolet Lola V-8 Turbo
(4-speed manual)
Brazil, San Marino, Monaco, Mexico
Canada, United States, France, England
West Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy
Portugal, Spain, Japan, Australia

Practice mode[edit]

In the practice mode, players could choose any of the sixteen circuits, and any of the four cars. The bottom half of the screen featured the driving apparatus. The top half of the screen featured a map of the circuit with the player's car represented by an icon as it went around.

Upon selecting the course, Michael Andretti would come on the screen and give background and advice about driving the circuit. Practice sessions were five laps each, with elapsed times recorded and reported for each of the five laps upon conclusion. Hitting the "select" button aborted the session.

Two-player mode[edit]

In two-player mode, players drove in a head-to-head race against another human opponent, or any of the games' computer opponents. Two computer opponents could also be chosen to race against one another. Any of the sixteen courses could be chosen by the players, and any of the four cars could be chosen by the players. Race distance was chosen by the competitors, ranging from one to ten laps.

The top half of the screen was the driving apparatus of player 1, and the bottom half of the screen was the driving apparatus for player 2. Instead of a map of the circuit, a graph in the middle of the screen depicted the lap length and the relative distance between the two opponents.

See also[edit]

References[edit]