Video Game Nostalgia: Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4

As the release of F1 2017 draws ever closer, CLICKON Gaming takes a look back at some classic Formula 1 games, starting with the 2002 ‘Grand Prix 4’ by the legendary Geoff Crammond.

Crammond’s Grand Prix series of games date back to the 1992 release of ‘Micropose Formula 1 Grand Prix’, regarded as one of the all time classics in Formula 1 gaming.

This spawned the releases of Grand Prix 2, Grand Prix 3 and finally Grand Prix 4. Fans of the series were particularly devastated when GP4 turned out to be the final release in the Crammond series. He was praised for the attention to detail and the immersion the games provided at the time, and Grand Prix 4 was no exception.

For example, when a car retired from the race, marshals would come out to move the car and have it hoisted away by crane and at the end of each race, the driver could lift off the throttle and coast around on the cool down lap with the other drivers. This in games that were created fifteen years ago, and something which has not featured in any of the Codemasters games since is amongst the small details that made the game feel so complete.

Marshalls removing retired cars from the race was a nice little feature.

Grand Prix 4 was based on the 2001 Formula 1 season, won by Michael Schumacher ahead of an impressive David Coulthard as runner up.

The physics engine that made the games so legendary again featured, alongside a massive graphics overhaul. Grand Prix 3 was a good game but criticised for not having any real graphical updates to advance the series.

Grand Prix 4 fixed that, featuring a heavily revised graphics engine to make it one of the best looking games of the day.

Another remarkable feature of the game was the incredible wet weather driving physics, something that is very hard to get right even today. It is remarkable that some fifteen years after its release, GP4 has some of the best wet weather physics of any racing game, a testament to how good of a driving game the series was.

Mods expanded the game’s content, this one is for the 1997 F1 season.

Despite this, the game only achieved modest success. Bugs and glitches led to a patch being included in later retail versions of the game on a separate CD.

There were also claims that the minimum requirements for the game were set far too low, and even players with much higher specification PC’s struggled to play it. The competition was awful stiffer as well, with ISI releasing the popular ‘F1 Challenge’ game series.

As a result, it wasn’t as successful as its predecessors despite fundamentally being a very good game. Soon after the release, Infogrames dissolved and Sony lost the Formula 1 game rights, ruling out any chance of a Grand Prix 5.

Despite this, the game still has a lot of fans and vast expanses of mods have been produced for it, making it a classic game worth adding to anyone’s collections even now.

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