F1 Pole Position 64 Review

F1 Pole Position will put the hurt on you.

Not only is F1 Pole Position a poor N64 title in most respects, but playing it will put the hurt on you, thanks to frustrating play control, shrill sound effects, and nausea-inducing graphics. While it may not be a fatal experience, it's guaranteed to be a bruiser.

The first Formula One racer for the N64, F1PP64 lets you race a variety of F1 cars up and down the circuit. The game boasts 22 cars and 16 tracks, but it should make no claim about variety. That is to say, each car handles in the relatively same poor fashion, and each course features roughly the same number of straightaways and tight turns (only the backgrounds vary). To be fair, Pole Position offers three racing modes (single course, time challenge, and season mode), and you can alter the "realism" of the game, including the amount of damage your car takes. You can also name your driver, racing team, and engine. This latter feature scores high on the novelty scale, and it got me to play the game, despite my frustration (if for no other reason than because I could be The Man racing on The Bomb racing team with a Bad Ass engine).

F1 Pole Position 64's graphics are easily its high point, but even they aren't that great. The game looks like an N64 game should (the cars are well rendered, and the backgrounds are detailed), but once the gameplay starts, you're faced with a severe amount of pop-up and occasionally jerky movement. I suspect this pop-up is responsible for the motion sickness I endured while playing (and I have a pretty strong stomach). The game also uses the standard N64 fog and lighting effects, which contribute positively to the presentation. Even so, the only detail that distinguishes this game from the pack is the sparking that occurs when you incorrectly shift gears. And the sound? It can be summed up in one incomplete sentence: generic title music, high-pitched engine sounds, and a muffled coach who mumbles helpful phrases like: "He's behind you."

What really kills F1, however, is the play control. For some inexplicable reason, every car feels loose (even when tweaked in the car setup screen). While cruising down a straightaway, you'll think: "Wow, smooth." But try to make a turn, and it's an entirely different story. I'm willing to accept the fact I can't go top speed around a 180-degree turn, but taking my finger off the accelerator or hitting the brake should let me at least hold a line through a corner. Such is not the case in F1 - the brake button has two positions, on and off, and when it's depressed, the car screeches to a halt, in most cases dumping you at the side of the track. After a while, you'll adapt to the game's weak control style (if you make it that long), but it's exceedingly frustrating to take the lead only to find yourself seventh after wrecking on a tight turn (the computer is curiously unaffected by the game's play deficiencies). The ten laps required to finish a race can truly try your patience at times, especially when you're last.

Overall, F1 Pole Position 64 is a mediocre racing title. It looks good, but that's the only thing it has going for it. You'd be better served by any of the millions of racing titles coming out this year.

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    F1 Pole Position 64 More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • Nintendo 64
    F1 Pole Position will put the hurt on you.
    4.7
    Average Rating59 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Human Entertainment
    Published by:
    Human Entertainment, Ubisoft
    Genre(s):
    Simulation, Driving/Racing
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Kids to Adults
    No Descriptors