Almost a year after MicroProse posted the first tantalizing screen shots, Grand Prix II has finally arrived - and it turns out that it was worth the wait. From the exceptional graphics to the innovative driving model, Grand Prix II sets new standards in almost every category.
Until now, racing games on the PC have come in two distinct flavors: arcade-style racers that provide a quick dose of adrenaline, and serious racing simulations that provide a deeper (though less exciting) experience. Grand Prix II shatters these traditional barriers by providing seven adjustable driving aids that affect the difficulty and the complexity of gameplay. These aids range from the traditional automatic transmission to more exotic aids like braking assistance and automatic steering. The result is that Grand Prix II performs like an arcade racer when all the driving aids are switched on, and a deadly serious simulation when switched off.
For those that dare to opt for the full realism, Grand Prix II contains a driving model so complex that it would make the folks at Papyrus blush. Not only are the cars quick and nimble, but Grand Prix II is the first racing game to accurately simulate motion in all three axes. In other words, if you hit a bump at 200mph, you literally become airborne! This not only makes the cars handle more realistically, but crashes now take on a whole new dimension as you twist and gyrate through the air. To complement the excellent physical model, MicroProse has included a fully functioning garage and 16 painstakingly reproduced tracks. These features all add up to make Grand Prix II one of the most realistic racing simulations on the market today.
Whether you opt for arcade or simulation-style play, Grand Prix II manages to deliver plenty of racing thrills. While other simulations have managed to reproduce almost every minute detail of auto racing, Grand Prix II is the first to actually reproduce the excitement of the most dangerous sport on the planet. In other words, this game is both realistic AND fun to play. It is this factor, above all others, that makes Grand Prix II shine so brightly.
To enhance the spectacular gameplay, Grand Prix II sports some of the finest graphics yet seen on a PC. In fact, the 640x480 mode comes very close to being photo-realistic. While these graphics are beautiful to behold, owners of anything less than a Pentium 133 may find the frame rate a bit low for their tastes. Fortunately, the low-resolution mode runs fast and furious on my P90, and - unlike many dual-resolution games - the cars and tracks are clearly discernible from the background. Believe me, this is of extreme importance when heading for a hairpin turn at 200mph!
In conclusion, Grand Prix II from MicroProse is unquestionably the best racing game yet made for the PC, and a strong contender for game of the year! Whether you're a fan of arcade-style racers or full-blown simulations, Grand Prix II is certain to please.