Easy peasy, and I’m sure many of my fellow commenters would agree.
Formula 1 ’97 on the Sony PlayStation.
Developed and published in Liverpool by Bizarre Creations (Project Gothem Racing, Geometry Wars) and Psygnosis (G-Police, WipEout) respectively, for a second attempt at a licenced F1 game on a relatively new console with relatively new 3D graphics technology (for home consoles, at least), it was an absolute stunner.
All the cars and tracks from the 1997 season, along with the driver lineup from the Australian round (barring Jacques Villeneuve due to his personal licencing – leading to the wonderful driver name “Williams Numberone”) the game had everything you needed. For the first time the series included marshalling flags, car failures, and you could even remove tear-off strips from your vison in the helmet-cam view when your visor got dirty, which it did. The game had all the proper television graphics from the 90′s F1 era. The giant yellow boxed with black text showing the positions (which I still miss to this day).
Excellently excecuted commentary from both Murray Walker and Martin Brundle has left many of their one liners from the game’s script etched in my mind including Walker’s firery trousered scream of “HE’S GOING THE WRONG WAY!! In all my years of Formula One, I’ve never seen anything like it!”, along with Martin’s answer to everything: “You’re right there Murray!”
There was even an arcade mode which let you powerslide your way round the tracks if the full on, 100% race distance 16-round Championship Mode wasn’t your thing.
And then there’s the cheats. Rather than giving your car double the speed like most cheat codes would do, these ones changed the look of the game graphically. There was WipEout mode, which removed the wheels from the cars and made them float, along with adding a beam of plasma from the rear of the car. They even banked in the corners. it was like playing WipEout with F1 cars. There was Virtually Virtual, which removed the textures from the game and replaced them with solid colours. It was like playing na arcade game from the early ’90s. But best of all was the Talking Heads mode, which added a little Murray and Martin character to the screen whose heads flapped along Terrance-and-Phillip style in sync with the commentary.
Sure there have been plenty of F1 games released since with better graphics, physics, more immersive season modes. But for whatever reason, none of these even come close to the sheer fun of playing Formula One ’97. So much so that it still gets a whirl in my PS3, certainly more often than F12010 ever did.