'Photorealism' was exciting and new
We can remember our IT teacher at secondary school gushing about how great the lab's new Pentiums were. And how Grand Prix 2 looked 'like watching TV' if you had a 200mhz Pentium. It was heralded as the game that finally saw computers replicate real-life and it came along just as a new resolution standard arrived.
SVGA. That's 'S' for 'sweet mother of Jeebus, did you see that?!' That's right, a whopping 800x600 resolution. And what demon hardware will you need to get this game looking good on your SVGA monitor? Well, as one reviewer wrote at the time:
"While these graphics are beautiful to behold, owners of anything less than a Pentium 133 may find the frame rate a bit low for their tastes."
The same critic also said: "To enhance the spectacular gameplay, Grand Prix II sports some of the finest graphics yet seen on a PC. In fact, the 640x480 mode comes very close to being "photo-realistic."
Shall we take a look at those "photo-realistic" graphics then? OK, you asked for it…
That was a lap around Monaco, by the way. Sad thing is, we used to play this for hours. Thinking it was good. The cars didn't even have 3D wheels! Look, they're flat pictures of wheels! How can you anyone say this is "close to being photo-realistic"?
But the horror doesn't end there. This is Grand Prix 2, remember. Do you dare look at Grand Prix 1 in the harsh light of 2008? You should. If not to laugh at the game, then the incredible rendered intro sequence. Oh, and the way the mechanics wipe your visor with a massive sugar puff during the pit stop simply can't be missed.
If you're below the age of 20, you probably won't appreciate how amazing this game was when it came out in 1992. We remember being told by dad that "one day, games will be like you're sitting behind the wheel on the grid" and then picking up a PC magazine in a newsagent that very morning and seeing this in it. We were dumbstruck. It was the future.
How ironic, then that few games yell 'past' now as loudly as this one. Yet, even though when we finally got our shaking hands on it at a family member's house the frame-rate was about two per second, it lived up to our expectations. Being young and naive, we even thought we'd got 'lost' in Monaco's 3D city. Yup, we were so lame.