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Formula 1 - 2000

These are wonderful times for racing-sim fans. Over the last two years, there have been top-notch simulations in nearly every category, from superbikes to road rallying to GT sports-car racing. EA Sports' new F1 2000 is another strong contender, and despite a few problems in the retail version, the game will doubtless achieve at least one goal: It will prove that EA Sports can produce a racing sim that's as realistic and exciting as the best racing games on the market.

But before you open up a new browser window and head to your favorite online store to buy a copy, you should bear in mind that the game does have a few potential problems, such as its steep system requirements. EA Sports recommendeds a 450MHz system with 128MB RAM, which is probably slightly higher than what the average consumer is using - but the harsh fact is that such hardware is only average according to F1 2000's internal rating system. What it all boils down to is that if you want to see this game in high resolution in its full glory, you'll need at least a 600MHz machine with a fast 3D accelerator. As such, you may find yourself gradually reducing the game's detail setting and even turning off the mirrors to get the smooth animation needed to drive an F1 2000 car at 200 miles per hour.

The good news is that some judicious tweaking can eventually provide a frame rate you can live with and also race with, provided you can avoid the maniac antics of the computer-controlled drivers who've apparently decided they're participating in Death Race 2000 instead. It's to be expected that most F1 crashes take place at the start of races, but at times F1 2000 feels too chaotic, especially when you check replays and see drivers viciously slamming into you when there's plenty of room for them to pass safely by. And earning the pole position is no guarantee of safety, because for some mysterious reason, the opposing cars tend to blow by you at mind-boggling speeds off the start line as you either spin out of control or are immediately hit by some crazed Frenchman.

 

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