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F1 Race – Game Boy

F1 Race – Game Boy

F-1_Race_CoverPlatform: Nintendo Game Boy

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): 1990

Genre: Racing

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

F1 Race is one of those few Game Boy titles from my childhood that I still own. It’s odd, too, because I traded in like 20 games, 1 Game Boy, a great case (that held all 20 games), + some accessories at GameStop for about $180 in the year 2000. I used that money to buy a bunch of Dreamcast stuff. I hate myself for doing it because so many of my games were awesome! Games that didn’t make the trade were Zelda, Link’s Awakening, Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 3 (Wario Land), and for some odd reason: F1 Race. I don’t know why. At all. Couldn’t tell ya. Bewildered. But anyway, I still own it… yay… and I can now let you know why this game stinks.

The main menu is LOADED with options: Grand Prix, Time Trials, and Multi-Game. Okay, not loaded obviously, but there are at least 3 different game modes. Multi-game is a really cool feature that allows 4 people with 4 Game Boys, 16 AA batteries, 4 F1 Race carts, 1 4-player adapter and a partridge in a pear tree to play this multi-race game. It’s nothing innovative, but nonetheless, if you are on the school bus and 3 nerds in the seats behind you happen to be playing F1 Race, and you happen to have that trusty adapter that nobody ever heard of, then the 4 of you can start a racing war the likes of which America has never seen! The thought and idea are really f1 race australiaawesome, however.

Grand Prix is a much more involved game, and you race against 9 computer racers in 8 countries across the world, 2 laps at a time. It’s a little odd that the game only requires 2 laps. In some cases, this is a Godsend. But in others, it’s far too short as you’ll find yourself ALWAYS finishing in 2nd place when you were only feet away from passing the 1st place car. It’ll piss you off. Anyway, we’ll get to that later.

In Grand Prix, you are tasked with racing your F1 Racer against 9 other racers and you have to finish in 1st place to advance to the next country! You get to choose between 2 different race cars, one car weighs less and has less jet fuel (your boosting power which is used by pressing UP on the D-pad) and the other weighs more but has more jet fuel. The cars are pretty identical and there is no real discernible difference between the two.

You will start each race in the back of the group, and you’ll have to fight your way from 10th to 1st every time, and it’s no easy feat. The 1st place racer is dotted on the course map as you race (yes, this is the map that takes up ¼ of the screen) and you are also dotted on the course map. The map proves to be a highly useful tool, as it lets you know what type of curve is coming up next so you can reposition your car to the inside AND it lets you know how long the next straightaway is, so you can plan to use your jet fuel. The jet fuel is accessed by pressing forward, or up, on the D-pad. The reason you use the jet fuel on the straightaways is because 1.) it is nearly impossible to push up and left/right at the same time and 2.) You generally have to slow down to some extent when making turns.

There are 8 countries in which you race, each with its own distinct track layout and unique background indigenous to the country (mountains for Australia, city skyline for New York City, etc). The tracks that are raced in Grand Prix, in order, are as follows:

  • Australia: This track has a simple semi-oval shape with 2 slight inward turns near the bottom of the track. The mountains in the background add a nice little touch with their simple rounded edges and clear sky.
  • Canada: This track is a lot more complex than Australia’s thus increasing the difficulty at a rapid rate compared to its previous race track (Australia). The shape is like a large C and you have to outline it. There are sharp turns and this can be very difficult, but there are many straightaways, which is great for using your jet fuel. The mountains in this level are much like Canada, except a little more jagged and steeper.
  • USA: There are some tough zig-zag turns and swervy spots on the track. It’s not much more difficult than Australia though. The background is a city skyline, which is something USA is known for. A very appropriate background.
  • Portugal: The track layout here is very similar to the USA track and provides no further advancement in track layout. The background is made of large Olde World houses. This is one of my favorites.
  • Japan: The track, again, follows the same similar layout as USA and Portugal, except with more sharp turns. The background is difficult to really understand as it is so dark and there appear to be clouds and maybe an ocean, although I really can’t tell.
  • Brazil: This track is just stupid crazy with its endless turns! Not very fun at all, but at least some extra challenge is provided. There appears to be some sort of Aztec monumental structure in the background, although that just wouldn’t make sense…
  • USSR: It’s funny how old this game is and that they included the USSR and only months after this games release, the Soviet Union would collapse. It appears to be a large city background similar to Moscow. Maybe it is Moscow. The track is near identical to Brazil.
  • India: The track here is similar to USSR and Brazil. The background looks like the Taj Mahal and some palm trees. This is possibly the best background in the game. It’s not overcrowded or anything.

F1-RACE-003So there’s the 8 race tracks. Good luck getting past Canada in the grand prix. You are FORCED to finish in 1st place or it will MAKE you try again. My 1st run in Canada I finished in 2nd place and I was forced to try again. There are 10 racers, so 2nd place is pretty darn good! They even have a 3-tier winner’s pedestal for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place racers after the race. WHY?! Why would they have this pedestal if 2nd and 3rd place aren’t really being awarded anything except another shitty opportunity to play another crappy race?? Major fail on the development side. Getting 1st place in Canada is near impossible! It took me 5 tries and I’ve always been great at racing games. Funny thing is, this game has a save feature. I haven’t played this since I was a kid, and when I clicked “Resume old game”, it took me to Canada and it had 4 tries. Apparently I couldn’t beat it as a child either, and I apparently gave up after 4 fails! Why in the hell would they make the 2nd course so damn difficult? They give you enough jet fuel to take your F1 Racer to the fucking moon but they can’t let you advance with a 2nd place win. And what’s worse is that they have a stat tracker that keeps track of things like “Best lap time”, “Best finish place” and… and… “Tries”. For some reason they want to keep track of how many times you fucking sucked it on this track! So when I come back to this game later, I’ll pass through Canada and it will say Best Lap: 1’14.21”. Best finish: 1. Tries: 5. Like I need to know that information! STUPID!

Sorry folks… This is one of the lowest points in video gaming when a game fails this bad. It just doesn’t make sense why it would be so F1-RACE-006difficult and near impossible. It could be that I’m not as good as I once was… or perhaps the developers are assholes and like to make children cry. Regardless, there’s no saving this game. The time-trials races are on the same courses, except there are no opponent racers. You race for the best time per lap and per course. Gay.

Overall, F1 Race grows old and tiresome very quick. It doesn’t take long to really get down and frustrated to the point of quitting. What’s terrible about that sentiment is the game engine and mechanics are actually done quite nicely. Drifting around turns is easy and a simple tap of the break button is sometimes just enough to keep your car from flying off the track. Compared to games like Race Drivin’, F1 Race is a revelation. But it’s just not a complete game. Beautiful Game Boy graphics and sound aren’t enough to make up for the poor decisions we are left to deal with. And those decisions are enough to break this game entirely. There was so much potential but so little execution. F1 Race falls to last place in the nerd rating poll position.

f1race zeldaOh, and one funny thing… In Grand Prix, between races, there is a cut scene where a bunch of dot matrix bikini clad women pose for you as your drive by. Oddly enough, smack dab in the middle is Toad from the Mario universe! Toad is gettin’ freaky layin’ that interspecies pipe down hard. Rubbin’ em down with formula-1 motor oil. It’s funny how there are no real mentions of these characters by name, but considering this game was made by Nintendo, it’s no real surprise they’re in this game. There are other notable characters between races too, such as Link (depicted here) and Mario. The rest is left for your discovery!

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

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