Taking a light hearted approach to the emulation of Formula One racing, F1 Arcade does pretty much what it says in the title, delivering a simple and accessible arcade-style simulation of the popular motor sport.
Officially licensed by Formula One Management, all the teams, tracks and data from the 2001 season have been included. Play is much more straightforward than most F1 sims, however, as time-consuming elements like car set-up have been omitted, in favour of simplified menu systems and all round speedier access to the action.
Play itself follows suit, with handling and physics shying away from any kind of realism, allowing players to drive faster, brake later, cut corners and drive off-road. Items, referred to as 'pick-ups' here, can be collected during the races, giving players performance-enhancing bonuses such as turbo boosts, extra time and invulnerability.
The main game mode in F1 Arcade is Stage mode. In this, players simply select an F1 team, pick one of the available circuits and jump straight into the cockpit. As well as gaining a ranking from the race result, players are also given an overall grade, which is based upon things like fastest lap time, number of pick-ups and amount of car damage. Successful completion unlocks further tracks, which are also accessible in the Single Race mode and the split-screen, two-player mode.
Formula One Arcade's simplicity is its selling point. With all 17 circuits from the championship, as well as all the top teams, it offers a comprehensive F1 experience, yet doesn't get bogged down in all the tactics, statistics and set-ups of most F1 games.