Atari 2600 Friday’s #23 – Grand Prix
This week the fortune cookie brings us a racing game. There didn’t seem to be too many of these and it’s a nice change of pace from all the shooters the 2600 has.
The Story: It’s racing. Go and win the Grand Prix while watching out for other cars and road hazards.
From the Manual: “You’re about to enter the race of your life. Nothing stands between you and victory except the clock, the road and the other drivers out to beat you to the finish line. So take a little time with these instructions, and you may emerge as the Grand Prix world record holder!”
From the Box: “Buckle up, snap your chin strap, adjust your goggles and get ready to handle a high-powered formula racing machine. This is the Grand Prix of video racing games – the first game to give you the real feel and action of a world-class racer. You’ll need all the nerve, anticipation and reflexes of a world champion race driver to master this circuit. Feel how your steering and handling change as you pick up speed. Ease your car around and past competitors, over oil slicks and across bridges at blinding speed. And you’ll hear all the sound and fury of a true Grand Prix event. Your engine whines louder and higher as your car reaches maximum RPM; your wheels hum faster on the asphalt; your competitors zoom by. And, if you hit your brakes, your tires squeal on the pavement. It’s you against the clock, the road and the other drivers in a race to the finish line – with Grand Prix by Activision.”
The Game Play: Grand Prix is a racing game. You are trying to make it around the circuit with the best time while avoiding crashing into other cars and oil slicks. The bridges on higher ‘difficulties’ are narrow areas of the track. As you go faster the car becomes more responsive, meaning it takes less controller movement to move the car. The game mode switch tell you which course you will be on (remember, my switch is still broken).
Game 1: Watkins Glen
Game 2: Brands Hatch (1 Bridge)
Game 3: Le Mans (2 Bridges)
Game 4: Monaco (3 Bridges)
The Controls: Joystick Controller. Up moves you towards the top of the screen, down moves you towards the bottom. The Red Button starts the race, and is you accelerator. Hold it down to gain speed, release it to slow down.
Post Review: Number 1, every collision will take you down to pretty much a complete stop, and it takes time to accelerate, and the clock is always ticking. What I found was that any time I was up to any decent amount of speed, there would be a nice block of 3 cars in my way that I could not avoid hitting. The cars will collide and slow you down, while the oil slicks will make you swerve. You can notice this best if you slow down and roll over them, your car will move up and down in a zig-zag. Which brings me to another fine point. At high speeds, everything on screen just whizzes by you, and it becomes of game of split second reaction dodging.
The High Score: 44:26 on Game 1.