Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgF1 Roc: Race of Champions / Exhaust Heat
In my brief play of F1 Roc, I found the game to be very easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple - B to accelerate, Y to break, hold A for turbo, and the shoulder buttons to shift gears. Shifting is generally automatic, but sometimes if you crash, it will not automatically shift down to first. I never had a huge problem with controlling the car, naturally if you do not slow down around a corner, you are going to skid off. The AI seems rather fair, and does not cheat the way it does in F-Zero.
The game is much more of a simulation than contemporary games like F-Zero or Top Gear. Depending on the results of the race, you gain money to buy upgrades. Upgrades such as the engine are permanent, though you have to buy new tires and turbo before each race. If you look at the map before the race, it tells you the weather condition, so it gives you a hint about which tires to purchase. The upgrades noticeably change performance, so it is a good idea to spend your money wisely. If your car gets damaged during the race, money is deducted from your winnings, so it literally pays to not crash. However, no matter how hard you try, your car does not get destroyed to the point of forfeiting.
The graphics in this game are rather bland, but perhaps less bleak than F-Zero. The weather conditions are conveyed well enough, though the puddles on the road look like a fuzzy patch. The backgrounds do change depending on the country you are on. The rotating course map probably was impressive at the time, but it is not stationary, which makes it difficult to plot out where the course might have a lot of curves. Due likely to technical limitations of the time, this game is a one-player affair, which is a bit disappointing, although perhaps less-so than F-Zero due to the simulation aspect. The sounds are pretty typical 16-bit racing noise, and sound somewhat like an F1 racer. The music is restricted to the menus, and sounds like typical snes-style J-Rock.
This game features battery backup, which allows you to continue with your previous race, as well as save the best lap times. This brings a distinct advantage over games like Top Gear, which had a password system. On the whole, this is a strong racing game for the SNES, especially for an early title.
- An early title for this game was "Super Formula One Built to Win" according to a preview in the September 1991 issue of Nintendo Power.
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