The 1990s were a lovely era for gaming, the development went quickly and the games became better. It was also the era that a lot of games were published that were linked to sportsman. Like Nigel Mansell who had two games released on the SNES, also Johnny Herbert had a game. Johnny Herbert’s Grand Prix Championship 1998. The game, which was not licensed at all, simulated the 1998 F1 season. Obviously, with no driver and team names. Though, with most of the tracks. Was it any good? Well, let me take you to it!
Thanks to your input the decision is made to review Johnny Herbert’s Grand Prix Championship 1998 game that appeared in 1998 in the store shelves. After installation of the game, I questioned myself why I even gave you the opportunity to select this game. It’s was a horrendous road to have the game working on a modern system. Usually it is not that hard to have the game working with one or two programs. Well, after a lot of tweaking with using DG Voodoo2 I finally managed to have the game working. It ran on 256 colours and the max was 20FPS. Trust me, if you don’t have a retro gaming pc, don’t try this game.
IT’s not just a game it’s Reality!
Is the slogan of the game, after two hours of tweaking and trying it is indeed reality to have this game running. I was finally ready to enjoy Johnny’s game! Developed by Reality and published by Midas Interactive Entertainment BV in 1998. When starting the game your welcomed by an enormous reality logo before the Johnny Herbert’s Grand Prix Championship 1998 logo appears. The logo kept on the screen. Believing the game crashed I tried some random keys on my keyboard. It seems that you have to hit the ESC button. Checking the manual it doesn’t say anything about it.
When you finally appear in the main menu you will appear in a simplified environment. On the background is Johnny Herbert in his Sauber C17. You can adjust here you basic setting. Such as your controllers, display settings the realism of the game and the best of it Edit Names. As you understand, while the game simulates the Formula One season, there are no official driver of team names. It even states in the booklet “This game is only endorsed by Johnny Herbert and is not approved by the FIA or any other federation or organisation”.
There are 24 drivers that are named driver 1 up to driver 24. As well the teams had similar names. The option Edit Names was a nice gimmick to make the game more Formula One like. Adding the driver names and team names. As well there was an option where you could reduce the amount of teams. The tracks were also similar to the once in the 1998 Formula One season. However, the tracks were named after the countries. I’m not sure if there was a reason for it. There was an Italian race 1 and an Italian race 2. The tracks however did have the same layouts as the real tracks and were, of what I recall, pretty realistic. As well there are some tracks like China you don’t see in other games.
There it stops to be fair. In the main menu you could choose to have a quick race, some test drive and a complete championship. Well, if you really want to understand the game you should first do a test drive to understand that the game isn’t as fun as you might think it would be. Perhaps I sound pretty negative now.
Anyway, when you enter a race weekend you have some basic options to improve your car, don’t expect much from it. Loading a track went really fast, perhaps it had to do with the tweaking I did, it took 5 seconds before you hit randomly the track screen. From there on you instantly appear on the grid and are assume to drive around. I’m not a fan of it that you go to the main menu to do qualifying and start the race.
When I tried to do a race the FPS, that were already awfully low, dropped to 3 or 4 FPS it seemed to harsh to have a race. Sadly, the best I could get was to do a practice session which gave me 20FPS. The cars seems to be all generic. The cars have similar shapes to the F1 cars in 1998. I had issues with properly driving the car in the game. While I changed the keyboard setup the games response had a delay. What I did like about this game is the damage model the cars have.
If you crash the car in the barriers the front and rear wing get damaged. As well the tyres break of the car. However, that’s it the cars easily overheat and get engine failures. That really was it if you ask me. I do remember that back in the days some people did make mods for it. Sadly, I can’t find them anymore.
My conclusion for Johnny Herbert’s Grand Prix Championship 1998 is that I would not recommend to try the game on a modern system. Try it out on a retro system that has Windows 98 or Windows 95 on it. Probably the game will look better and feels better to play. Besides that, I really ask myself why Johnny Herbert associated his name with this game. Sure they got paid for it. However, this is just one of those random racing games that were published during the 1990s. Nice to have in your collection, as the big box is nice, though that’s all. Enjoy the footage below of the game! You can download it, if you really want, on abandonware.
Oh and the signed card by Johnny Herbert? Well it was not actually a signed card at all. It was just a pre printed card with the signature on it. Neither was it able to drive around in the Sauber C17. While the car was pictured in the manual all the time.