Monaco GP is a series of racing games from Sega based on Formula 1. Unlike their other games like Hang-On or OutRun, Monaco GP focuses on simulating the realistic track racing in single-seat, open-wheel car.
The series consists of the following games:
- Monaco GP (Arcade, 1979) - Ported to SG-1000
- The first game in the series. It's not really a racing game, as all you do is to go through the straight road with vehicles and try not dying, much like Midway's Spy Hunter or their own Turbo. Notably, this game was one of the last games to use discrete logic circuits rather than a CPU; as such, it isn't emulated on MAME. If you want to play it in intact form, you must look for Japan-only Sega Saturn complication Sega Ages Memorial Selection Vol. 2.
- The game was immediately followed by Pro Monaco GP in 1980, which is believed to more-or-less identical to Monaco GP except housed slightly larger cabinet. An updated version of the game was also released in 2003 as part of the Sega Ages 2500 budget line.
- Super Monaco GP (Arcade, 1989) - Ported to Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Master System, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64 & ZX Spectrum
- Came out after a decade of absence, Super Monaco GP is far closer to its origin than its predecessor, providing a track similar to real-life Circuit de Monaco. Before the main race, you have to qualify in given time in the shortened track to actually participate the race. Rather than being shown in top-down view like its predecessor, the race's perspective is now in first person from inside the cockpit. The Genesis version is more fondly remembered as, in addition to the arcade race, also has a World Championship mode with all 16 races from the 1989 F1 season (though out of order), in which you can challenge rival drivers and, by beating them, take over their seats to drive better cars and get a clearer shot at the trophy.
- Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II (Genesis, 1992) - Ported to Game Gear & Master System
- Developed exclusively for home console, Super Monaco GP II is about winning the Drivers World Championship loosely based on 1991 Formula One season calendar. You must compete against 15 other drivers on the tracks, with the ultimate aim of winning enough points to become the champion. As the name suggests, Ayrton Senna worked closely with the developers to ensure a tighter, more realistic driving experience. In place of the titular Super Monaco GP from the previous game, this one features Senna GP, a mode where you can choose from three entirely new tracks for one-off races.
Monaco GP series contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: As much as the arcade version of Super Monaco GP was mind-blowing at the time, it didn't have much replay value because it only offered one single track (albeit raced twice, the second time in rainy weather). The Genesis version fixes this issue by adding a World Championship Mode, which introduces tracks over the world from the 1989 Formula One season. All the other Sega ports and European computer versions are based on this (although the latter ones still adhere to the arcade format, with time limits, checkpoints and position limits, as well as apparently only two tracks, Paul Ricard and Jerez).
- The Cameo: Flicky advertisements are all over the place in Super, albeit only in the later revisions. See Product Placement below. Also, other games are referenced in the Genesis version: there is a recurring "Shadow Dancer" sign in some tracks, and one of the boards that can be seen in the background in Monza reads "PS III".
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the first two races against G. Ceara, if you look closely, you can notice he starts accelerating before the green lights.
- Fauxrrari: Each fictional constructor in both Genesis games is based on the real ones that were around at the time of the games, such as Madonna being a stand-in for McLaren and Firenze for Ferrari. Each team's livery is made up of one or two colors which help players tell which teams they are based on, but Madonna's is yellow and red, in contrast with the white and red McLaren used at the time.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Upon starting the second loop on Super, a guy named G. Ceara comes up and declares your days are over. He drives nearly perfectly and is designed to beat you until you get demoted to a lower crew, keeping you from using the precious Madonna car. By playing really well, however, it is possible to outrun him. This event lasts for the first two races. Whether you manage to outrun him or lose his AI will suddenly give up on the third race, greatly dropping in difficulty. Despite him being based on Ayrton Senna, of all people.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II. As a matter of fact, he was heavily involved in the development, designing the tracks and writing the advice for the player. He's also the Madonna team driver.
- Product Placement: Quite infamous case thanks to the lawsuit involved with it. Back in the days, developers at Sega liked to sketch faux-billboards that rip off real-life designs. In case of Super Monaco GP, there was a Marlboro-like flag featured right at the title screen which, other than being misspelled "Marlbobo", looked virtually identical to the brand it's based on. When Philip Morris found it out, they weren't happy about the unauthorized presence of the trademark and the fact that their cigarettes were possibly being marketed to the underage. Eventually, Sega was forced to change them all in later revisions where it's replaced with the reference to their older game, Flicky.
- Race Against the Clock: In the arcade and Amiga versions.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's possible to crash into the flagman and send them flying in Super and II. There's no disadvantage for doing this.