Michael Andretti’s World GP NES Game Cartridge
Michael Andretti’s World GP was released for the NES in 1990. Human Entertainment developed the game and American Sammy published it. The game featured all sixteen races from the World Championship circuit of FIA Formula One. Though the game was named after Andretti, he only raced Formula One during the season in 1993. World GP is unique compared from other NES racing games. Instead of the arcade style racing game like Rad Racer, it more resembles a simulator. It was NES’s first racing game that featured an entire cast of drivers from real life. However, all of them but Andretti used pseudonyms. The game also accurately depicts the circuits within the schedule for Formula One. Four cars are offered to use in game but there are no set ups for the cars, which was a feature that was used frequently in racing simulations.
Compared to other racing games on consoles during its era, World GP is a lot more difficult. Circuits were depicted accurately as having wide and sharp turns, which required the player to reduce speed for corners rather than most of the arcade style racing games allowing the player to take a turn unrealistically flat out. The gear shifting is required for all but one car, and notably on all but one of the 9 levels. Some of the courses will require multiple gear changes every lap. The tire wear on the cars increased as a player drove through races, and they would have to pit to get new tires a minimum one time every race in order to remain a competitive racer. Almost every screen had a short soundtrack that would loop, but there is no music while the player is actually driving.
When there were multiple cars on the race track, there was no interaction directly between the vehicles. All the other racing vehicles were like ghosts and the player could drive through them to occupy the exact same area as them. The cars could not spin other cars out and they could not impede their progress directly. There are four different cars featured in World GP. Each one has a unique part about them and have their top speeds vary slightly. The Chevy vehicle was the dominant racer even though it was not a Formula One racer. It was, in reality, used in CART series. In fact, Andretti drove one of the Chevys in from 1989 until 1991 in the CART series. The cover art on the box accurately showed Andretti’s Lola Chevrolet from 1989.
The game features a Formula One, sixteen race schedule that resembled the season from 1988. Every circuit would feature a pit that was represented by pylon. On the majority of circuits, a pit was located right before the finish/start line. In Australia, Spain, England, and France, a pit will be located right after the finish/start line. In Grand Prix mode, there will be nine race tracks for competition. Every race increased in the amount of rounds, increased the difficulty level, and featured a lead driver. Every level provided the player with a specific car. The player would be able to save the game and continue them by using a password.
When starting a qualifying round in Grand Prix, the player will register their name and start at level one. Before the race begins, the player will be shown the map of the current circuit. The game’s next screen will show the player the qualifying results thus far. The five computer cars have finished their time trials. The starting grid will have the four computer racers that had the top times. The computer that was the slowest will not qualify to race. The objective for qualifying is trying to be among the top times which will bump the player into a starting grid. Qualifying will consist of driving five laps that are timed alone on a track. From the start, the player will have five laps and try to record their best lap possible. The tire wear will influence speeds and going to a pit will be permitted during any lap. Elapsed time while in a pit will be included on the lap’s time. The best individual lap will be recorded and if it is among the four top racers, the player will qualify for the main race. If a player fails to qualify, they will need to sit during the race, watching it through the featured driver’s perspective. If the player hits Select while driving a qualifying round, it will abort the session, and if a player already registered a fast enough lap to qualify, it will be unnecessary to drive all five of the laps.
The race will start from the standing position and will run a certain amount of laps. The amount of laps will depend on the current circuit’s length. The screen’s top half will feature the circuit’s map with the positions of the four cars, which will be represented with icons. The tire wear again will influence the lap times, with the player needing to make a stop at a pit to replace their tires around the halfway part to remain a competitive racer. The player will have to compete and will not be allowed to abort a race. If one of the cars are lapped while racing, they will only get scored for laps that were completed. Spinning out while racing on a track will be possible, but an incident will ever cause a car to drop out completely from a race. Fuel will also not be a factor while racing
At every race’s conclusion, there will be points awarded for each of the four racers. At the level’s end, there will be a champion declared. For the player to advance in the game, they will need to score more points than the other racers and be declared the level’s champion. If a player fails to score more points than the other racers during a level, a password will be given to the player so they can return to the level’s first race and will be allowed to replay the level from scratch. The player will only be allowed to play level 9 once. If a player scores more points than the other racers during level 9, they will be declared World Champion. This means the player wins the overall game and the game’s special screen will be displayed. If they fail to win the level 9 championship, it will be game over.
The game will have a practice mode. While in practice mode, the player can choose any circuit from the sixteen available and any car from the four available. The screen’s bottom half will feature a driving apparatus. On the screen’s top half there will be a circuit map featured. The player’s car will be represented with an icon while driving around the circuit. When selecting a course to race, Michael Andretti will appear on screen to give the player advice and background about the circuit about to be driven on. A practice session will last five laps a piece. The elapsed times that are recorded will be reported for every one of the laps when finishing one. When the player hits Select, the practice mode will be aborted.
While playing two players, both players will drive in a one on one race against each other or any computer opponents in the game. Two of the computer opponents can also be picked to race one on one with each other. Any course from the sixteen available will be able to be picked by a player with each of the four vehicles also able to be picked by a player. The race distance will be chosen by a competitor and will range from one lap to ten. The screen’s top half will be player 1’s driving apparatus and the screen’s bottom half will be player 2’s driving apparatus. Rather than having a circuit map, there will be a graph located in the screen’s center and will depict the lap’s length along with the two racer’s relative distance.
Region: NTSC (North America)