Formula 1 97
|Formula 1 97|
European cover art
|Composer(s)||Andy Blythe & Marten Joustra, Stu Ellis, Tim Browne|
Formula 1 97 (known as Formula 1 Championship Edition in the United States) is the second game in the Formula One video game series, released in 1997 on the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. Developed by Bizarre Creations and published through Psygnosis, the game depicts the 1997 Formula One season. It was the first in the series to have a specific driver on the front cover: Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari appears on most editions, whilst Olivier Panis in his Prost appears on the French edition and Jean Alesi in his Benetton appears on the Japanese edition.
Features and gameplay
This game was more of an evolution of the original Formula 1, with several new features including a cockpit camera view (complete with dirt and flies hitting the visor, giving the player the option to remove the driver's tear-off strips), more intricate car setup options, the use of the joystick, as well as the introduction of a co-commentator (in both the U.K. and U.S. versions, Martin Brundle joins Murray Walker). In "Grand Prix" mode, more realistic race elements were introduced such as flags, fuel depletion, changing weather conditions and car failures. An "Arcade" mode was also included, which had a different colour palette to "Grand Prix" mode and different handling, with a strong emphasis on powersliding.
Teams, drivers and circuits
The game uses the teams, drivers and circuits of the real 1997 Formula One season although some changes and omissions occurred. The Lola team is included within the game's manual (on the back cover with the team logos and also in the drivers and teams lineup), but they are not actually included in the game. In the real 1997 season, car number 20 was carried by Ukyo Katayama and number 21 by Jarno Trulli; they are the other way around in the game.
There are also four bonus circuits the player can unlock: mirrored versions of Aida and Adelaide (titled Adia and Edialeda), a fantasy track called Sunob (which is actually a mirrored version of the Bonus track from Formula 1) and a 1960s version of Silverstone (the track being the same but in black and white with 1960s style cars).
Formula 1 97 was developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Psygnosis. Psygnosis contacted ITV Commentator Murray Walker and arranged a meeting with Bizarre Creations employees. Walker became impressed with development and signed an exclusive agreement with Psygnosis to record English-language commentary for a further two years.
The game was a bestseller in the UK. IGN gave a rating of 9.0 out of 10 stating the game is a "significant jump" from Formula 1. It also received a rating of 7.9 from GameSpot, saying the game had "sent PlayStation racing into a new era." However, this was the last Formula One game to be made by the Bizarre Creations team, who moved on to create the successful Metropolis Street Racer and Project Gotham Racing. Official UK PlayStation Magazine said it was a big improvement in every regard over the previous game, and that the "graphics engine is faster, running at 25fps, even with a dozen cars on the screen. The increased detail is most apparent in Grand Prix mode. All the cars are now fully deformable, and stray bits of debris stay on the track. Prepare to be stunned."
The game was hit by legal wranglings with the FIA (Formula One's governing body) objecting to the use of the FIA logo on the game's packaging. The game was withdrawn from shops six weeks after its release. It was re-released without the offending logo, but the FIA were still unhappy. However, the FIA lost the court case, and the game continued to be sold without the logo. Another problem faced was the use of the name and image of then Williams F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve, after he had copyrighted both. The game shows a silhouette for the driver's image. Murray Walker refers to him as "Williams Numberone" or "The Canadian", however on the game menu, they list him as Driverone Williams; this problem is easily sidestepped by the addition of a driver name edit function. The game also has unused voice clips for Jacques Villeneuve, that can be found via hacking methods. This idea proved popular and re-appeared in Formula 1 98, but was not used for any of the following games. The driver name edit function is also used to enter codes to unlock the four bonus tracks and others such as raining frogs and the cars having the ability to hover.
- Griffiths, Dan (1999). "Formula 1'97". Official UK PlayStation Magazine. Bath, England: Future Publishing: 54–57. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Formula 1 97 Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Formula 1: Championship Edition - PlayStation Review at IGN". IGN. 1 October 1997.
- Gallup UK PlayStation sales chart, December 1997, published in Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue 26
- F1 '97 review, Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Future Publishing, October 1997, issue 24, page 101
- F1 Racing magazine, December 1997 issue, page 20, British edition as imported to America