Grand Prix 3 (Windows)

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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Martin Smith (66870)
Written on  :  Feb 24, 2004
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars
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Perhaps not the massive leap it could've been, but a stunning simulation all the same

The Good

Everything that was great about Grand Prix 2 is still great here. That means perfect recreations of the circuits, detailed car setup options, a wide range of difficulty levels (allowing you to run with automatic gears at more levels is a big improvement, and logical given that F1 cars had semi-automatic gearboxes by then (and fully-automatic ones now - which removes a lot of the skill, and as such I'm not happy about it)), excellent sound, superb handling, multiple camera views which often reveal unexpected detail, and lasting challenge.

The improved graphics really do look superb, and can be set to be optimal on almost any specification of PC. It runs faster without a 3D card than some games do with similar detail with one.

The weather system is astounding. Not only do the affects look realistic and the handling become much more slippery, the exact effect of rain is superbly modeled, with puddles of standing water gradually clearing as it ceases to rain and drivers run over those sections, making it slipperier offline - an important consideration when weighing up overtaking moves. The full range of tires are on offer - intermediates, hard or soft wets and Monsoon tyres, giving you the chance to gamble on staying out on tyres which are not optimal, in the hope that the weather changes again. The advance forecasts before the race help with this.

The Bad

A lot of features hadn't been updated much since Grand Prix 2, in fact some are unchanged from the original F1GP / World Circuit. The damage physics are all wrong, with the cars much too strong in some areas, and contact doesn't always produce the results you'd expect. The replays are limited, with no fast-forward, slow-motion or save option, and the black-flag penalties are ridiculous.

Worse, there are all manner of features which could've been added, but weren't. Some sort of career mode would've made the game more accessible, and added to a structured long-term challenge. For true realism, things like the safety car, accurate stop-go penalties and cars stalling on the grid would've been needed.

The Bottom Line

As with all of Geoff Crammond's simulations, this is a very detailed, intricate and realistic piece of work, containing amazing detail when you consider that it was almost entirely Geoff's own work. It's not a massive leap from GP2, but it's the best racing simulation of the time, and pretty good as a pure racing game as well.