Approximate Release Date: September 1, 1992
It’s a shame about the horrific technical issues in F1 ROC: Race of Champions.
This is the hands-down prettiest racing game on the Super Nintendo so far. During qualifications, when you’re the only car on the track, the game runs wondrously smooth with tight controls and a good sense of speed. It feels almost futuristic after playing racing games like Top Gear and even tops the classic F-Zero. There’s an in-depth car customization feature, too; you can’t change how the car looks, but there are enough options to spend your winnings on to make a difference in how the car handles.
But everything falls apart when you enter a race. With the starting lineup of seven other cars on-screen, the game runs at what feels like quarter-speed. The game speeds up as each car disappears from your view. It’s horrendous. If you can get in first and have no cars in front of you, F1: ROC controls great and is fun. Until you start lapping your slower opponents and suddenly your car isn’t as responsive as it was a few moments ago.
Fortunately, F1: ROC‘s AI is dumb and lifeless and probably won’t challenge you too much. What will challenge you is the fact that every track I’ve played looks the same. There might be slight differences in the backgrounds, but it’s not something I have been able to notice. The lack of multiplayer is also hard to justify. I’m sure it’s for performance reasons – because, again, the game looks great – but SETA clearly reached too far with the visuals in terms of what the SNES could comfortably handle.
F1 ROC: Race of Champions flew too close to the sun. I don’t know how this game shipped with such crippling technical issues, but at least it’s a gorgeous game. I’m sure that made people in 1992 feel better when they brought it home from the store after paying the full retail price.
Tomorrow: Put your gloves on and get ready for George Foreman’s KO Boxing!