Super Monaco GP (Sniper)
Genre: Racing
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega

On all of the other platforms on which Super Monaco GP appeared, the game was characterized by its first-person cockpit view. On the Game Gear-- and Master System, incidentally, although that port isn't the same game as this one-- the programmers went for a third-person view, similar to Pole Position or Final Lap. The car looks nice and detailed at the bottom of the screen, but the scenery and green grass across the various tracks looks too samey.

Anyone who has played the arcade and Genesis versions of this game can relay the distinctive character of the game's sound track and engine noises. This Game Gear adaptation does an excellent job of relaying that same atmosphere. The music is energetic and has an edge to it, while the car passing and tire squeal sound effects are spot-on.

This Game Gear version controls much like any Pole Position-style game; left and right on the dpad steer, one button accelerates, the other brakes. There is a manual transmission mode, but the learning curve is incredibly steep and awkward, since it essentially replaces the "brake" button with "downshift". Track designs are very good, but the AI balance makes it extraordinarily difficult to even place on most of the tracks without a complete memorization of every turn, much less win.

Super Monaco GP on the Game Gear shares much more in common with Pole Position than it does with its ports to other platforms, or the arcade original. That would be ok, except that it lacks meat on its bones; it doesn't even have the Genesis' career option, much less something as ambitious as the adventure mode from the PC Engine's Final Lap Twin! So, this release is essentially nothing more than Pole Position from the Atari 7800, with better graphics and sound-- probably, it was rushed to meet the Game Gear's launch.

Sniper's verdict: