F1 ROC II Race Of Champions (SNES) Review
SNES Racing games on the Super Nintendo are a bit of a mixed bag. There’s the obvious choices like Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, Top Gear or Rock and Roll Racing. But then it goes downhill fast. You got Stunt Race FX which is has a god awful framerate and slowdown. Then there’s Uniracers which I guess is a racing game? I don’t know it’s unicycles for crying out loud! If you’re looking for something that mimics Gran Turismo on the Playstation, meet F1 Roc II.
Released in North America in July of 1994, F1 ROC II or Race of champions was a late SNES release which is why you probably haven’t heard of it before. Developed and published by Seta or better know as the guys who made only one of the best games on the Super Nintendo in The Wizard of OZ! Yeah maybe they didn’t have much under their belt except Air Strike Patrol or Nolan Ryan's baseball which I covered in another article.
If you put F1 ROC II side by side with F-Zero, right away you’d see a huge similarity. They drop the camera in a third person high mode. It looks like the guys at SETA somehow got the source code for F-Zero and ended up making a clone. Where F-Zero has a meter that depletes and boosts you can use after completing a lap, F1 ROC II does away with that in favor of a more realistic simulation type of racing game.
You start off on the freebee course that you’ll have to first qualify for your opening position by doing a time trial. Depending on what place you get in the final race, you’ll go up against 26 other cars. In the beginning of the game, I found that it was tough to get past the majority of the cars to at least get one of the top 5 slots in the default amount of laps.
That’s where you can adjust the amount of laps if you want. It goes up to 65 laps which I thought was a bit absurd for a SNES racing game.
After each race you’ll end up with some prize money that you can do a couple things with. First you can upgrade your parts by going through the R&D department and give this mad scientist what seems to be an undisclosed amount of money. At first he’ll tell you to start development on either your Tires, Engine, Rear or Front wing. Then after you give him let’s say 1000 bucks, you can occasionally check up on the progress and he’ll be like, we’re getting there but need more money! I wish they would actually tell you how much is needed for each of the upgrades instead of guessing. When the parts are finally done, it’s great to see the speed of the engine increase or any of the grips increased for better handling.
The second thing you can do with your race money is unlock one of the other 7 stages of the game. Each of these stages will be progressively harder than the first one so the upgrades really come in handy if you want to catch some of the other racers. You only get to unlock the race once and you’ll have to come back and pay again if you want to try and win so you can really see how much grinding is involved.
Once you do finish the seven stages of the game, a set of new courses will be unlocked to try from. Go through the stages again and you’ll get to play through the formula one part. You have to choose between one of three teams, either Ford, Honda or Ferrari. The tracks now have to be done in order instead of re-racing like in any of the earlier divisions.
It does come with it’s downfalls. The graphics aren’t exactly that great compared to F-Zero. Most of the courses are a bit bland. The cars also look exactly the same just have a different color to them. There’s also no music during any of the gameplay. All you can hear is the droning noise of the car at over 300 kilometers per hour which can get pretty annoying fast especially if you decide to go for a longer amount of laps per race.
F1 ROC II does have a ton to offer and is an excellent choice for a SNES racing game on the Super Nintendo. It isn’t just a blatant ripoff of F-Zero. You’ll need an FX Pak Pro or SD2SNES to give this a go if you don’t have access to a copy in your region. It uses one of the DSP Chips that a lot of flash carts don’t offer. It’s also fairly inexpensive if you try and find a loose copy on eBay. Give it a go any way you know how.