Checkered Flag is a single-player Formula One racing game created by British company Rebellion Developments and published exclusively for the Atari Jaguar by Atari Corporation in 1994. It is a sequel to/remake of the Atari Lynx game of the same name and is similar in some respects to Sega‘s arcade game, Virtua Racing.
The game features ten tracks that can be raced in three different weather conditions (sunny, foggy, and rainy), and is more of an arcade-style racing game than a simulation (despite what you might read elsewhere – I’ve seen people describe this game as “a simulation”, which it really isn’t). You can choose to race a single race (from one to 99 laps); in a full tournament, or in ‘free practise’ with no other cars on the track. There are also other features you can change via the main menu, like the car “airfoil” (low and high); tyres (dry and wet); gears (six manual, or five automatic); the number of ‘drones’ you’re racing against (one to five), and the colour of your car.
During a race you can change the camera view by pressing the number buttons. There’s a first-person cockpit view and a number of third-person ‘chase’ views at various distances from the car. The way the screen banks when the car drives around corners gives the game a dynamic feel (although this is a feature I think is ‘borrowed’ from Virtua Racing), and crashing the car is a fairly brief event that doesn’t seem to penalise you too much.
Checkered Flag is a fast and good-looking racing game that is simple to get into but requires practise to master – especially if you’re driving with manual gears. Is it still worth playing today? I’d say so – especially if you like Virtua Racing, or like the idea of a simplified F1 game, without getting too bogged-down in a heavy simulation.
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