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Grand Prix Legends (PC) Preview

Background Info

Spa. Monaco. Nurburgring. Lotus. BRM. Hill. Clark. Surtees. These are the places, men, and machines that get a long-time Grand Prix race fan's heart rate soaring. They are from a time when daring and skill were more important than sponsorships and television coverage. Grand Prix racing in the late 1960s was the unchallenged pinnacle of the sport, bringing great drivers and machines together to face danger in the quest for the world championship of motorsports. Now Papyrus and Sierra Sports are allowing you to relive those glory years with Grand Prix Legends(GPL), a simulation of the 1967 Grand Prix season.

-7 cars to choose from, including Ferrari, BRM, and Lotus.
-11 tracks including Monaco, Watkins Glen, and Nurburgring.
-Comprehensive car setups.
-4 skill levels.
-Modem or serial connection for 2 players, and Internet or IPX support for up to 8.
-Support for Rendition and 3DFx graphics cards.
-16-bit color at up to 800x600 resolution.
-Advanced car physics and driving model.

Driving Impressions
After the runaway success and critical acclaim of CART Racing and NASCAR Racing 2, it's obvious the people at Papyrus know a thing or two about making a great racing sim. But rather than rest on their laurels, the group has been hard at work on an entirely new, Win 95 native engine to power GPL.

The interface is straightforward, and fully mouse-driven. The title screen provides access to team and driver info, options for gameplay, controls, graphics, and sound, and various race sessions. The choices in this department include Training, Single Race, World Championship, and Multiplayer. Multiplayer support is built-in for 2 players via modem or serial connection, and 8 players via IPX or TCP/IP. Graphics options provide control over a variety of detail settings, as well as selection of Rendition or 3DFx graphics cards.

After selecting a team, inputting your name and country, and selecting the color of your helmet(!), you're ready to select a race session. Select a skill level from novice, intermediate, pro (both offering long or short races), or Grand Prix. Choose the track, and prepare to be transported 30 years into the past.

The first thing that impresses are the graphics- the cars and drivers are painstakingly modeled, right down to the different engine layouts and the driver's faces. The scenery and track surfaces are very nicely done, and with a 3d accelerator card the overall effect is spectacular. Tires smoke, sparks fly, and the cars actually squat and dive under acceleration and braking. Form what little info I have about 1967, the tracks all seem to be accurately reproduced- including all 14.2 glorious miles of the Nurburgring- quite a feat.

After a brief turn behind the wheel, it is obvious that GPL is no toy- even at the novice level, it takes some time to get a feel for the car. For the less experienced driver, the driver aids include auto shifting, braking help, and throttle help. Once comfortable with the physics of these cars, the racing is excellent- the sensation of speed is good, handling is very predictable (if a bit unfamiliar- these cars had a lot of power and very little traction, providing for plenty of oversteering), and the AI is fast and very aggressive.

The alpha version I previewed was near completion, but still had some bugs in the collision system and various other minor glitches, so I'll reserve final judgement for the finished product. But all signs point to Papyrus ans Sierra Sports raising the standard for racing simulations once again.

By: Scott Moore- 8/17/98

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