by Atari

Well, I read a few days ago, a post to those who only gave Checkered Flag 5 minutes. I realized that I really didn't give that game a fair amount of play time...

CF, Virtua Racer it was not.

This is where people get confused about CF, with its virtua inspired graphics, people were simply looking at this game as "arcade" physics. Virtua racing was and is so fun because speed is the only real issue. Ofcourse, turning and breaking are important, but not as crucial as in an actual race. VR hits is home with its tire squaling action, wizzing around corners at breakneck speeds. Its totally smooth, and fun.

CF while it looks as though Rebellion tried to "clone" VR, that was, I beleive, not their intention. They may have originally been after a VR clone, yet as things start to unfold, every game since ridgeracer was a clone of VR, some simply NOT as fun. I feel that rebelion decided to throw in a "control measure". Players who jumped in thinking this was VR with 10 tracks were quickly turned off by the apperent oversteer, and quick slides, usually resulting in a choppy spin. Players were expecting to slide out, smoothly, and steer like the cars are fully powerassisted. I was turned off at how the game played, I thought the control sucked, and it was doomed to sit on my shelf forever.

Well, after reading this post, I tried the game again. I quickly remembered how much I disliked the control of this game. But I tried somthing new...

Using the B button, brake, I would simply slowdown to maybe 130 mph, going around the turns. Well this quickly proved to enhance the gameplay and I am a simulator fan( games such as GP2, and IndyCar 2). Playing CF using brakes, and turning decisivley proves to be a fun and challenging change of pace from most other racing games. CF requires that you use your brakes and the cars nimble handeling characteristics to negotiate the corners, NOT its slick tires and loose steering. At first, you will probably slowdown too much, then too little, but after you get around a corner at the right speed, it is a very satisfying experience. I can say that most games for consoles are simply to win, CF is like a real race, you have two goals: to win, and to stay on the best racing line.

CF leaves a few things to be desired, however. First, the framerate gets low, not 15 fps, but 17 or so( i'm guessing) and it plays choppy sometimes, noticed when a section of the track bends back in on itself, causing a massive slowdown( noticed best on Desert Pass ). Also the all around FPS seem just a bit low, Also this game uses 100% polygons, in a CF2, things like trees and signs could easiy be sprites, and scale up( a great detail enhancer, as well as FPS increaser)The only other thing I found bad about this game is the cars can simply beam right by ya. I've had it ( usually have it) to where I m racing neck and neck with the suckers, but sometimes they just blow by me.

Just as a note, I like both styles, my Lynx game ideas are generally with the notion of "arcade" tire-squaling physics. I find the games that have arcade physics to be more fun in the short run, and acceptable in the long run. The simulators are more fun for the long-run, but since they can be tuff to control, the short time ( fresh out da box time )sux, cause' u can't get a good lap in...

Tips for CF

Turns, THE bitchin' part.

  • Turns are really fun once you can masterfully negotiate them. I'm still practicing my technique on my approach/entry and exit. I also learned on Island Hop, it is a track with a great mixture, and a hairpin, so thats where you should start...

      - Rule 1: Line up for the turn.

    • Sometimes between updates to the screen, you can actually hit a wall that you thought was a little further away. So I ,eventhough it is bad practice in real auto racing, usually enter a turn about in the middle of the road, but slightly in the lane opposite of the Apex( don't know what apex is? See the bottom ).

      - Rule 2: Brakes!

    • At the breaking point, I apply very graciously a dose of carbonfiber pad( brake! ) and usually, depending on the turn, slow down to about 115mph.


    • Island Hop has two 90 degree suckers on the back end of the circiut, I slow down to about 80 mph at the breaking point, and turn hard to the right, this gives me a queal-less turn, and I am accelerating to max speed back down the short straight to the other 90degree.

      - Rule 3: Exit.

    • Now upon exiting the turn, if you enter and negotiate the Apex correctly, you can sail straight out of the turn. But since this doesn't always happen...

      1: If you become burly, then let off of the gas and straighten up.

      2: If you are in a chicane, then get straight quickly, and apex the second half.

    • Hairpin: On Island Hop, you do get a nice bit of hairpin. It is hard to churn out consecutive perfect executions of this turn( for me). But you can do it best when, apon entrance, you move to the far right, and then going about 35-45 mph, apex the sucker, then lastly avoid the tight wall, and accelerate down the straight to the shallow right hander.

      - Rule 4: Wide/ double apexturns.

    • Now on to River Mouth, since all of Island Hop's turns are fairly straight foward.

    • In River Mouth there is a big turn that you can take at a fairly high speed. On the bottom of the track map is this turn. I take it at about 150 mph ( yes, I use the Cruise control ). Now this is where the game is kinda in need of an analog control. You can probably take it faster than me, but my speed is as far as I know squeal-less. You will have to tap the pad to negotiate this turn.

    • In Green Valley there is 2 turns that has several short apex points. These two are located at the tips of the bottom of the track map. Simply watch for the checkers, and apex if possible. I also find myself going about 70-80 mph through these, But yet with squealing, I can actually take them at 130, so maybe a good speed is 100...

      - Rule 5: Chicanes.

    • In Green Valley there are some fine examples of chicanes. As you enter a chicane located on the top and bottom of the track map, you will need to slow down a bit to ensure safe entry, I'd say about 110 mph. Then travel up the short straight at the fastest rate possible. Then as you enter the second part of the chicane, break again to avoid running off.


    Apex: Center of turn.

    Break point: About 1/4 to 1/3 of the way to the entrance of a turn (in CF, anyway)

    Chicane: Tight S turn.

    Hairpin: Tight turn, comes 180 degrees.

    Double/multi apex: Turn with more than one Apex.

    Burly (not a real term as far as I know) but squirming across the track...

    Title Checkered Flag
    Publisher Atari
    System Atari Jaguar
    Reviewer Barry Bankhead

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