Grand Prix 2
- For the article about the GP2 racing series, see GP2 Series.
|Grand Prix 2|
|Genre(s)||Simulation racing game|
Grand Prix 2, released in the American market as Grand Prix II, is a racing simulator released by MicroProse in 1996. It was made under an official FIA license that featured the Formula One 1994 season, with all of the circuits, teams, drivers and cars. The cars were painted with liveries reflecting the races that did not allow tobacco and alcohol sponsors (e.g. 1994 German Grand Prix).
It had 3D texture mapping and SVGA graphics, as well as an early 3D physics engine. A large community of GP2 enthusiasts formed following the game's release. Grand Prix 2 is recognized as one of the definitive racing simulations of its era.
The game is a simulation of the 1994 Formula One season with all 16 circuits from the 1994 season and 28 drivers in their 14 teams. Unlike the real 1994 season, where teams changed drivers and sponsorship liveries repeatedly, the game has a consistent driver list and set of liveries throughout, which reflects that of the 1994 German Grand Prix. As a result, Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, who both were killed during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix are not present in the game. The liveries for each of the cars are also based on their appearance at the 1994 German Grand Prix, where all teams ran non-tobacco livery. It includes all parts of a Formula One weekend, including practice, qualifying and racing. It also included a championship mode which simulated the entire season.
There was no "arcade" mode in Grand Prix II, per se, but it included the ability to turn on and off such things as indestructibility. There were seven major functions called "driving aids" that could be turned on or off: steering help, braking help, automatic turn-around (has the car face forward after a crash), indestructibility, racing line help, automatic shifting and traction control. The game had five levels of difficulty one could choose from, and the higher the level, the less options for driving aids one could turn on or off.
There also is a "Quickrace" function that lets the player jump into a race without having to go through the perfunctory qualifying session. The quickrace option was customizable, allowing a player to race as many laps as desired and allow the player to set their grid position.
The player selects the car they will drive among the 28 seats available, supplanting the driver who originally raced in that vehicle.
The game had multiple camera angles, including a simulated TV coverage angle. A player can control his or her car from any of them, but the primary angle used was the first-person cockpit angle.
The cars can be customizable in myriad ways through the setup function. Car setups could be modified to high detail with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.
A race can be played in turns, with different players driving different cars in the race. Gameplay in this mode has one player at a time driving their car in the race. Instead of a split screen game, The computer simulates the driving for the other players' cars when they are not being controlled by one of the players waiting their turn.
The game also featured a replay function and save game feature. The replay function showed the last ~30 seconds of racing and included the ability to save replays. It did not include an edit function.
The save game feature allowed players to save their progress in the game
The game also replicated engine, gearbox and electronic failures. This meant cars not only could crash, but also have flames or smoke shoot out of the backs of their cars from engine failure, to which they raced around the circuit damaged for a limited time before parking at the side of the road or in the pits. This was the first to simulate visual car failures; as in 1989's Indianapolis 500: The Simulation cars fell out of the race but went to the pits and parked permanently when a car failure was present.
Grand Prix II did not include wet weather conditions. There also was the lack of a 'black flag' system replicating Formula One regulation penalties for course cutting, instead slowing the car down for a limited period of time if the course is cut through.
Teams and drivers
The game was developed by Geoff Crammond as a follow up to 1991's Formula One Grand Prix (which was known as World Circuit in the US). In a time when the gaming industry had become dominated by development teams, it was a rare instance of an essentially one-man-project.
It was the first serious racing simulation programmed with all three axes in it—i.e. the ability for vehicles to get airborne in the game. (1990's Stunts and Stunt Driver featured this ability, but were not racing simulations of a series.) However, GP2 lacked the feature of having a car flip over entirely, which not yet was seen in hardcore racing simulations. In some cases, the game would crash if the car was about to overturn. Microsoft's Monster Truck Madness (1996), simulating monster truck racing, may have been the first to have that feature.
Following Grand Prix 2's release in July 1996, its global sales reached 500,000 copies in September. This number rose to 750,000 copies by mid-January 1997, driven in large part by European purchases. In August 1998, the game received a "Platinum" sales award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD), indicating sales of at least 200,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Grand Prix 2 sold 1.5 million copies worldwide by late 2000. That year, Andy Mahood of PC Gamer US described the entire Grand Prix series as "one of the most successful PC racing franchises in history."
Critics[who?] hailed Grand Prix II as stunning and the class of the field for Formula 1 simulations. Jim Varner of GameSpot particularly applauded the way it breaks the convention of racing games always falling into either simulation-style or arcade-style, through the use of adjustable "driving aids", which when turned off make Grand Prix II a phenomenally complex and realistic driving sim, and when turned on make it one of the most fun and exciting arcade-style racers ever made. Calling it "unquestionably the best racing game yet made for the PC", he gave it a 9.5 out of 10. PC Zone gave the game 95%. The game was rated outstanding by CNet.
Though they never published a review of Grand Prix 2, shortly after its release Next Generation named it the 46th best game of all time, calling it "Perhaps the most sophisticated and realistic driving game ever created". Grand Prix 2 and its predecessor, collectively, were named the seventh best computer game of all time by PC Gamer UK in 1997.
- Varner, Jim (August 15, 1996). "Grand Prix II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- "Grip the Wheel, Rev the Engine and Take on the World's Toughest Courses in World Circuit Racing's Grand Prix II™ from Microprose". July 23, 1996. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page iv.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 1.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 20.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 21.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 25.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 105.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 109.
- MicroProse. Grand Prix II Reference Manual (game manual). First Printing, June 1996. U.S. edition. Page 37.
- http://www.simracingworld.com/content/51-grand-prix-3-review/3/ SimRacingWorld - Grand Prix 3 review
- "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 55.
- Olafson, Peter (October 1996). "Grand Prix II". PC Games. Archived from the original on February 7, 1997.
- Bauman, Steve (January 15, 1997). "Ch-ching - Westwood cashes in". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on June 15, 1997.
- Staff (September 21, 1996). "Happy Spectrum Hits Million Mark". Next Generation. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997.
- "Uhr TCM Hannover – ein glänzender Event auf der CebitHome" (Press release) (in German). Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. August 26, 1998. Archived from the original on July 13, 2000.
- "VUD Sales Awards: November 2002" (Press release) (in German). Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. Archived from the original on January 10, 2003.
- Mahood, Andy (November 2000). "Grand Prix 3". PC Gamer US. 7 (11): 143, 144.
- Staff (March 25, 1997). "Computer Games Strategy Plus announces 1996 Awards". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on June 14, 1997. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Flynn, James; Owen, Steve; Pierce, Matthew; Davis, Jonathan; Longhurst, Richard (July 1997). "The PC Gamer Top 100". PC Gamer UK (45): 51–83.