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F1 2001

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts


1 - 4


We take a look at whether or not EA Sports can shoot some life into the beleaguered sport of Formula 1 racing, on the Xbox.

For one reason or another the Formula 1 racing circuit has always been a bit overshadowed by the NASCAR circuit, which has always drawn bigger crowds, and larger publicity. The reason for this mysterious predicament is still a bit fuzzy, what with Formula 1 featuring twists and turns on its street races and speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour on its ovular races. Can any NASCAR race top that? Heck no. With Formula 1 2001 from EA Sports making its way onto the Xbox, the developers at Electronic Arts have once again produced one of their trademark sports titles to help this new system prosper.

F1 2001 presents the gamer with a very interesting style of gameplay. The first time you boot up your Xbox with F1 in the tray, you'll notice that you can't really do a whole hell of a lot. I was immediately flabbergasted at the developers decision to keep the Grand Prix section of the game completely locked until you are able to complete a portion of the game's challenges. While this may seem a bit awkward at first, it really does increase the fun factor of F1 in the long run.

The challenge mode consists of five areas, each containing five various challenges. The first contains the basics of Formula 1 racing (i.e. the start, braking, cornering, chicane, and hairpins), weather has two divisions, variable weather and wet whether. This section holds the keys to driving in varying weather conditions, which are able to change during the course of a race. You'll have to venture through the challenges of turning in rainy weather, and also be faced with the challenge of adapting yourself to having the wrong style of tires for the weather conditions.

Pit stops presented me with a quite a challenge, especially in the interactive pit stop challenge. It demands that you perform a sequence of button presses in as quick a time as possible so that you may return to the race and get out of the pits as quickly as possible. While it doesn't sound that difficult, it can get a bit frustrating after the tenth or eleventh attempt. The race craft section of the challenge mode will familiarize you with the sensation of damage, such as oil leaks in your engine which minimize your RPM's or your car will literally catch on fire (which is a really cool thing to see) and racing with a damaged front wing. The last but not least section of the challenge mode is the track experience portion which presents you with the simple challenge of negotiating the tracks you'll see in the full championship mode in record time. The one trick that makes the challenge mode the most difficult is the fact that you must stay on the track at all times. I forever found myself having one wheel spin off into the grass hence ending my race.

Each division of the Grand Prix mode has a specific percentage of challenges completed that you must meet in order to proceed. Once you've unlocked the full championship mode, then you're really into the meat of the game. You'll work your way through 17 true to life races as one of 22 of your favorite Formula 1 racers. 11 teams are included in the game such as Ferrari, Williams, and your other favorites. Holding true to classic EA Sports form, the detail on virtually everything in the game is exactly as you'd them in real life.

The graphics in F1 2001 are definitely some of the best I've seen in a Formula 1 game. Incredibly high-resolution textures populate everything from the tires on all of the cars to the steering wheels that your driver attempts to tame throughout the course of the race. The environments are also very nicely detailed with high-resolution trees and stadiums populated with fans. Even the pavement in the game is also nicely rendered. You'll see the melted rubber that you left as you took a turn a bit too fast on the previous lap remain in the same spot throughout the remainder of the race. The only hiccup in the visual presentation of the game is the frame rate. If an excess of cars and shadows cast by off screen objects ever populates the screen, the frames per second drop to the low twenties which is a real shame considering the beauty of the game. The sad fact is that during the course of the race, the aforementioned situation can occur in various points, which really detracts from the overall enjoyment of the game.

The sound of the game follows the usual track of Formula 1 games of yore with no in game music and some fairly raunchy and repetitive pit crew sayings. If only EA would have taken advantage of the Xbox's music ripping capabilities so you can jam to your favorite tunes while leaving the opposition in the dust. Tire sounds are also a bit of a disappointment. The first time that I turned on the game I had to check and make sure that it was actually my TV set making the sounds and then I had to decipher what aspect of the game could possible make such a wretched noise. The tire peeve is overlookable in the long run however and despite the sound department's shortcomings it does get the Formula 1 message across with some very well done engine effects.

The controls in F1 2001 are fairly straightforward with the triggers and/or the right analog stick operating as your acceleration and braking controls respectively. A and B are used to upshift and downshift, X give you the opportunity to send you car into reverse, Y is used to send the game into a very cool instant replay feature which you can press at any time during the race so you can watch a small portion of the competition, the black and white buttons are used to toggle the camera angles and look behind respectively.

The other options in the game are quite amusing as well, and give F1 2002 some very cool replay value, which is very rare among Formula 1 games. The multiplayer features sound more like a first person shooter featuring split screen, time trials, tag team, advantage, and last man standing. Sadly the graphics in the multiplayer portion of the game are very degraded from that of the single player game. The cars have been scaled down in detail drastically, as have the environments. Not really a big surprise, but a disappointment nonetheless.

EA Sports has done amazing job making this Formula 1 game appealing to even the most casual gamers. I've never been a big fan of the sport of racing but F1 2001 does a damned good job at making me fond of the games. My racing helmet goes off to Electronic Arts.

Gamer X
Thinks there should be a tricycle racing game.

F1 2001: The Scores













The Final Word:  Despite a few blemishes on the surface, underneath is an amazing style of gameplay. I recommend any fans of the sport pick up this game ASAP, EA Sports did an excellent job with a forgotten genre

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