F1 Exhaust Heat review - Super Nintendo
Motor racing is one of those things which appeals to everyone but only a few people have the skill, money and disregard for life required to actually make a career out of it. Luckily, SNES owners will no longer have to risk life, limb and family fortunes to enjoy the thrills and spills of Grand Prix driving for F1 Exhaust Heat is here!
The game is a detailed simulation of a Grand Prix season, featuring accurate replicas of the world's most famous circuits and many exciting aspects of racing from constructing your car right down to the weather! So put on one of those funny balaclava things, adjust your fluffy dice and prepare to floor that accelerator.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Using the same spin 'n' scroll trick as F-Zero and Pilotwings, F1 Exhaust Heat manages to bring all the thrills and spills of Formula 1 racing to the Super NES - although it certainly doesn't feel like it when you first play. There are no trackside obstacles and the game has a rather sparse and empty feel about it. Once you get into the game, however, those negative feelings are left behind in the pits as you accelerate away. Building up your car to top spec takes a couple of seasons, but once done you can really start going for those lap records - which is what this game is all about. The battery back-up stores all your best performances, and really gives you targets to aim for. Gary and I have been competing against one and another for well over three weeks now and the differences between our records are mere hundredths of a second - it's that critical, with perfect racing lines and different car setups rewarding you with winning lap times. F1 Exhaust Heat is a surprisingly good game. Surprising, because first impressions really aren't great, Stick at it though, and you'll find one of the most rewarding, enjoyable and long-lasting racing games around.
F1 Exhaust Heat re-sets the standard for SNES race games previously established by F-Zero. Right from the start the whole thing is beautifully presented, and the graphical feast is carried over into the game too. Although the cars aren't exactly detailed and the backgrounds are lacking in variety (although they're excellently drawn), the scrolling and 3D update is smooth and unbelievably fast. The sprite rotation used for cornering is great too, especially if you spin off the road! The sound is adequate, although not exciting, but all the pales once you start the game. It moves at an incredible pace without any sacrifice to the handling. It's really easy to pick up the basic controls, but it takes hours of practice to start shaving seconds off your best times. The World Circuit is involving, and it's certainly big enough to keep you going for ages, especially when you think of all the car-building exploits to be had along the way. Even non-race fans will be converted by this stunning release.
After the amazing speed and Mode 7 brilliance of Nintendo's F-Zero, F1 Exhaust Heat came as something of a letdown. When you start, the game is nowhere near as fast or frantic as the aforementioned futuristic racer, and graphically it's not as exciting either - the trackside detail is pretty basic throughout. However, as with many games, first impressions aren't always correct. Once you've progressed through the first few racers in the career mode, you get access to more powerful engines, better tyres and the all-important 'Go Faster Stripes'. Your car suddenly becomes lightening fast and it's at this point that the game really shows its true colours and you realize that it's a very different beast to F-Zero. The career mode is excellent, and the idea of being able to upgrade your car is great (at the time of release it was actually quite innovative too).
Have your say about this review
Dan - 19 Mar 2009, 14:19 GMT
Shame I never got much into this coz it sounds the part. I don't know if you have to be into F1 tho coz after a few plays I hated it and it went straight back to Hose Nose's Supa Swap van. Whatever the concencious, I still rek it was shit ;)