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Game info

Grand Prix Circuit

Grand Prix Circuit
GenreRacing Sim
Developer / PublisherAccolade
Media1 x disk
Reviewed byndial
Grand Prix Circuit is a Formula One racing game released in 1988 by Accolade for the Commodore Amiga, Apple IIGS, Macintosh (Classic), Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, PC (DOS) and ZX Spectrum.
Grand Prix CircuitYour view of the track is from the car's cockpit as you thunder round at speeds of over 200mph (well, ok it doesn't give that feeling). It is well advised to select the novice level for the first few attempts though, as it is not that easy to handle the car at that speed (plus at that level the other drivers treat you softly and the gearbox is in automatic too). The game allows you to either practice, take part of a single race or compete in a championship in which you race circuit in turn. There are eight tracks used in Grand Prix Circuit all in a different country. Every race allows for one qualify lap of course, to determine grid position.
The length of each race is determined by you and up to a max of 99 laps (!). During the race there is a small map of the entire circuit in the top left corner. Of course t in a long race your position will probably be affected by the need to make at least one pit stop to change all the tires! The AI is great, and the computer controlled drivers all have different driving styles, being hard sometime to overtake during the race. Each car also is handled differently. Yes, you can choose among some pretty famous teams and their models before racing, such as McLaren, Williams and Ferrari.
Grand Prix Circuit was a pretty good driving game back them (although its poor at some point quality in visuals) thanks to the creators of the famous Test Drive series.

As in all other 16bit versions, the Amiga graphics here do not give a great impression, especially when speed comes in. Surely (and much like the Test Drive series) you will not get the feeling of driving at 200mph with a McLaren, still though is a great simulation in all other terms. Cars are nicely designed, and handled well on tracks. Cockpits aren't quite as detailed (well the Test Drive series offer pretty impressive car-interiors though). Some other graphics details, such as the black smoke when blowing your tires, or when nudge the car in front of you too hard, your hood crumples and he spins out in a full 360 leave a really nice touch here. The Amiga version runs also in 16 colors during racing but with up to 32 colors in main-menu and static screens (in contrast to the other versions which run totally in 16 colors). Note that the Apple IIGS version runs smoother here when racing, and it's more playable.
As far as the sound, it does a great job here, offering sampled engine throttles and the like. Of course there are several menu tunes, all being nicely composed.
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Intro/Menu music:  In-game music sample:
Gameplay sample
Some videos belong to (indicated); others not
Comparable platforms

16 colors
Apple IIGS

16 colors
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS

2 colors
Apple Macintosh
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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