WARM UP! a hidden gem

Retro Games Review

WARM UP! Is a game produced by Lankhor and published by the French gaming company Microids. The game is you typical unlicensed Formula One game from that era. The game features all the tracks from the 2000 season inclusive the rules and point system. Like any other race game from that era it’s one that has been overlooked a lot. However, this is a hidden gem; a game more advanced then let’s say F1200x and two years ahead of Grand Prix 4!

WARM UP! Is just your regular Formula One type of game. The game takes place in 2000 and uses the 2000 F1 calendar as base for a championship season. The regulations are basically the same as are the types of game play. You can choose to do just a practice session, a Grand Prix weekend or a complete Grand Prix season. Nothing special so far.

I would like to continue with the issues this games has, before I continue with the best part of the game. The physics in the game are horrible, as is the ability to steer the game properly. This could be because I used DGVooDoo2 to have the game running properly on a modern system. However, I tried it briefly, on my old Windows 98, gaming PC and sadly, the steering is as bulky as on a modern system. When taking a corner it feels stiff to turn the wheel. Nor seems the car to react on any movement you make.

Another issue is the AI. It seems that the AI in WARM UP! is slow and sometimes seems to lose its mind as it crashes randomly in barriers or just rushes full in the back of your car. Sure, the level of strength depends on the mode you use for the AI. However, it should not be that it crashes for no reason.  There is also a slight problem with audio in the game. However, I dedicate this to the use of DGVooDoo2 as I need to emulate the game to have it working.

We arrived at the best part of WARM UP! The game was backed by Swiss Watch makes Certina and by Eurosport. Which meant that the game had some solid and proper base. Back in the early 2000s, Eurosport used to cover many auto and motorsport series. You can see that in the game, as there is no generic type of car in the game. The cars are based on Formula One cars and Formula cars from several series and several years. The feel is great to be honest.

One of the best gems is the Larrousse LH94 that appears in the game as the Tuttle. The car has the same shape and the same colour scheme as Larrousse had back then. Only the sponsor names are different obviously.

There are more cars that follow the shape of older Formula cars. Like the Kingfast that shows similarities with the Ferrari F310B. I uploaded some of the footage of the cars to the UnracedF1 Youtube channel if you’re interested to see the cars.

Anyway, there is more appealing about WARM UP! if you look at the game. The first thing that impressed me, already back in the days, is the warmth of the engines that comes from the cars when they are waiting for the lights to turn green. For the graphics, they are compared to games from it’s era impressive and from a high quality. The details from the car liveries, the proper shapes of the cars, which seems to contain high polygons, and the details on and next to the circuit are amazing.

What we shouldn’t forget is the damage model that has been developed for the game. It is the kind of damage model I like in these type of games. Wheels can bent. While the wings, instead of instantly break of the car, are worn and change for shape as compared how hard the impact is. Another nice touch is the cockpit view from the driver. Recently, Formula One experimented with a several type of camera angle. Though, in this you are the eyes of the driver. Which gives racing an extra dimension.

Conclusion, WARM UP!, if you don’t look at the broken AI and Physics, is a hidden gem in an era where many game developers tried to make a Racing game based on the Formula One obviously. Many failed but WARM UP! Is one you should have in your collection!