Super Monaco GP (U. S. Gold) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Super Monaco GP
By U. S. Gold
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #21

Super Monaco GP

Just when you thought the last racing game had shuddered, heaved a small sigh and simply ground to a halt, up pops another and begs you to drive it until you go mad. The still remarkably sane Ed Ricketts clambers reluctantly into the driving seat, wearing his driving gloves, a pair of thick driving goggles and a sickly grin.

Sometimes a title appears which changes the face of computer gaming forever. A game with style, originality, incredible graphics and unbelievably addictiveness. Super Monaco GP is not one of these games. Fortunately, it doesn't even pretend to be - it's a racing game.

You can choose from three types of vehicle: a bog-standard automatic which is about as useful as a loofah in the Sahara desert, or two manual shift cars, one with four gears and the other with seven. Obviously, if you can handle the seven gear car, it's your best bet. Joystick control is possible but ony recommended for masochists.

There are four tracks from around the world on which to compete, but you have to win on each one before you can compete on the next. Before you can race at all, you need to qualify within the top fifteen on an empty track - fail at this stage and the game ends before it's even begun. Qualify and you're through to the main event.

To win on the first three tracks - France, Brazil and Spain - you have to complete three laps and be one of the first few cars to pass the checkered flag. It's not easy. Driving into the side barriers doesn't cause an immediate crash, but make sure you get back onto the track as quickly as possible or you can say goodbye to your wheels, chassis and probably your legs. Other drivers regularly butt you up the backside without a scratch - but try the same yourself and you soon know the meaning of pain. When - and if - you eventually make it through all the heats, you get the chance to race at Monaco itself, first in dry conditions where you must finish in the top three to qualify, then in the wet, where you must simply try to finish!

Effects

Super Monaco GP (as it's known to its friends) is a very professional program. The track scrolls smoothly, the roadside sprites are detailed enough and the other cars look great. The only problem in the graphical department is the way the sprites lose resolution as they approach you - trees become a mass of green blocks, for example. This technique is necessary to keep the speed of the game constant, but it does mean you lose out on some of the realism.

The screen is very colourful too because the programmers manage to display more than sixteen shades on screen at once - though unfortunately they don't show up on our screenshots. Visually, then, there's really nothing much to complain about.

Sound is a different matter. There are no samples at all, just a standard intro tune and run-of-the-mill squeal-skid noises during the game. A beefy scream of agony as you're engulfed in a twisted mass of tortured metal would have livened things up a bit.

Verdict

There isn't anything new to say about Super Monaco GP - although the unnecessarily abbreviated title might tempt you to make some off-hand reference to extremely wealthy doctors who practise on the Riviera. The game is competently put together, but it's still just another racing simulation. However, it is disheartening to find that a company as capable as US Gold can still release such an average title. It may be a cliche, but the best advice is this: buy Super Monaco GP if you're into racing games in a big way, otherwise you may be disappointed.

Ed Ricketts