F1 Pole Position 64
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|F1 Pole Position 64|
European edition box art
|Publisher(s)||Human Entertainment (Japan)|
F1 Pole Position 64, released in Japan as Human Grand Prix: The New Generation, is a 1997 racing video game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Human Entertainment and published by them in Japan, but handled by Ubisoft for North American and European releases. It is the fifth and final game in the Human Grand Prix / F1 Pole Position series (with the F1 Pole Position branding skipping over the previous III and IV editions), featuring Formula One branding.
F1 Pole Position 64 is based on the 1996 Formula One season.
The game features all the tracks from the 1996 season, at a time when the racing began in Australia, and ended in Japan. Teams are set up with relevant drivers, however there is a roster-feature included, which allows the player to reassign drivers to different teams (including assigning the same driver to more than one role), and even removing a real driver and replacing him with unknown drivers named "Driver <1~6>" (Driver 2's image, date of birth and nationality all match that of Ralf Schumacher, who did not begin his F1 career until 1997). If the player finishes overall first in the World Grand Prix mode, they can change engines between teams as well. Both driver and engine swapping will significantly affect the performance of the car.
The main Grand Prix Mode allows players to progress through the racing calendar, with each race being ten laps; there are also battle mode (single race format) and time trial modes. Battle mode allows the player to choose what drivers to race against as well as standard options like laps and weather options. The game features internal vehicle damage (see bottom left of screen shot) but no external, apart from smoke that would appear if a driver blew their engine. The game only allows players to drive by default a maximum of 10 laps on every track, however by holding down a button when one is selecting how many laps to do, the player can exceed that limit and race up to 30 laps.
Next Generation reviewed Human Grand Prix, the Japanese version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "This a game for the starving, desperate Nintendo fan who simply has to have an F1 racing game, quality be damned. If you're not desperate, forget it." However, they found that considerably more work went into the U.S. version, with less pop-up and overall smoother graphics. They reviewed that "All in all, the game will satisfy F1 enthusiasts and may even nab general racing fans as well. With all of its modification choices, tons of courses, modes of play, and real-life racers and courses, F1 is a game worth a look."
However, most reviewers commented that even with the improvements made for the U.S. release, the amount of pop-up is unacceptable, the controls are poor, the music is dull and generic, and the engine sounds are high-pitched and completely unrealistic. IGN and GamePro also criticized the lack of any multiplayer, though IGN and Next Generation noted that players can still compete with each other by using the Controller Pak to transfer their records. The most widespread compliment for the game was that the courses are challenging to master.
IGN criticised that "the tracks look almost nothing like their real-life counterparts." Glenn Rubenstein, writing for GameSpot, concluding that "it looks good, but that's the only thing it has going for it." In Electronic Gaming Monthly Kraig Kujawa wrote, "For racing simulation fans, F-1 might be worthwhile, but otherwise, don't bother."
- "F1 Pole Position: UBI Soft Revs Up the First Realistic Nintendo 64 Racing Game". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 95. Ziff Davis. June 1997. p. 96.
- "Team EGM Sports: F-1 Pole Position". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 98. Ziff Davis. September 1997. p. 129.
- Rubenstein, Glenn (14 November 1997). "F1 Pole Position 64 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
- Perry, Doug (October 24, 1997). "F1 Pole Position". IGN. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 36. Imagine Media. December 1997. pp. 160–1.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 31. Imagine Media. July 1997. p. 155.
- Dan Elektro (October 1997). "F1 Pole Position 64". GamePro. No. 109. IDG. p. 156.