Power F1 is a good example of the old saying "too little, too late." Had it been released a year ago, folks would have sung its praises as a revolutionary racer with outstanding graphics, sound, and multiplayer options. Who cares if the controls are a little off, they would have said. After all, most every other element is superbly crafted. Unfortunately for , beat it to the shelves by six months, and that game has almost all of the same features - without any of the control problems.
This is not to say that Power F1 does not have its good points. First, Power F1's graphics are every bit as good as those found in Grand Prix II - and even move at a slightly faster frame rate on slower machines. From the lush green forests that line Hockenheim to the claustrophobic streets of Monaco, each F1 track is faithfully recreated in both look and layout. To compliment the outstanding visuals, Power F1 features some of the best sound effects found in a racing game. From the cheering of the crowd to the distinctive wailing of the engines, Power F1 manages to reproduce all of the sounds associated with the world's loudest sport. In fact, the illusion that you are watching a real race is uncanny, and it's further enhanced by the inclusion of multiple camera angles, a VCR-style replay feature, and even the famous "TAG HEUR" timing graphics. In fact, the only element missing is an obnoxious color commentator - and the world has too many of them already.
Sadly however, the first class audio and visuals simply cannot mask the fact that Power F1 contains a fundamental flaw - namely, it lacks the proper "feel" that is so important to racing simulators. Specifically, Power F1 fails to accurately simulate the car's inertia through the many twists and turns that litter a Formula 1 course. The resulting lack of over- and understeer gives Power F1 a distinct arcade edge that seems somehow out of place in this otherwise serious simulation. While this simplified control scheme may appeal to arcade fans, it will undoubtedly alienate simulation wonks from the moment the light turns green.
In all, Eidos Interactive's Power F1 makes a valiant attempt to dethrone Grand Prix II, the reigning champion of F1 racing. Power F1's high-octane graphics, sound, and extensive multiplayer options certainly make it a worthy competitor. Unfortunately, a fundamental flaw in the control scheme prevents it from capturing the checkered flag.
SPECIAL NOTE - The American version of Power F1 also includes the full retail version of at no extra charge.