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Monaco GP (SG-1000, 1983)

Where all your dreams come true.

Daft Punk take Monaco head-on.
Flying cars sold separately.



GENRE: Racing

RELEASE DATE: 1983 (SG-1000); 1985 (Sega Card)

Despite being named for the esteemed Monaco Grand Prix race, Monaco GP is less racing, more driving endurance.

 You drive an F1 car through what I presume are the streets of Monaco (houses litter both sides of the seemingly neverending track), but you don’t have any direct opponents. Rather, you maneuver around other F1 cars who are either just allowing you to win or were paid to go slow and get in your way.

Does that sailboat have the Dreamcast logo on it?

The roads change constantly from straightforward to winding to ice-covered. You’ll drive through blacked-out tunnels with only your headlights to inform you where the other drivers are (for some reason, they’ve failed to turn their lights on). You’ll also drive over bridges, some of which have gaps that require you to jump. If you touch another car, you spin out and crash on the side with zero chance of recovery.

Thankfully, Monaco GP gives you four cars to start, with an additional car achieved every 10,000 points. The faster you drive, the quicker you receive points. Also, there is no time limit. Drive as fast as you can for as long as you can. Monaco GP isn’t Le Mans, but it is possible to spend many hours going nowhere.

Monaco GP (Japan) (Rev 1)000
Monaco, Monaco, you have captivated me…

The Monaco GP arcade was released in 1979, a whopping four years earlier than the SG-1000 port. Obviously the port doesn’t have the all-encompassing feel of the cockpit cabinet – a cabinet that comes complete with steering wheel, gear shifter, and gas pedal – but the speed-up-slow-down gameplay is well-represented and has aged tastefully.

In fact, Monaco GP feels more finely crafted than some of the SG-1000’s more recent 1983 arcade ports, like Congo Bongo or Sindbad Mystery; both of which play like Sega borrowing other companies ideas and making them worse. The driving in Monaco GP is straightforward, yes, but it’s also pure and focused. No surprise that Sega would later thrive with racing series like Daytona USA and Sega Rally. In 1979, Monaco GP was already laying the groundwork for greater accomplishments.



  • Monaco GP would get a slight upgrade later in 1979 in the form of Pro Monaco GP. The changes mostly involve point accumulation. Because both games were made with discrete logic circuits instead of a digital CPU, neither Monaco nor Pro can be emulated in MAME. As someone who’s not a techhead, I assure you that I don’t know what discrete logic circuits are, but they sound expensive.

  • Monaco GP also had a Sega Card release two years later. Both the cartridge and the card versions look and play exactly the same.

  • Super Monaco GP was the proper sequel released in 1989 in the arcades and ported to several home consoles, including the Master System, Genesis, and Game Gear. Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II was a console-only sequel in 1992 and was touted as one of the most “realistic” console racers of its day (whether the game was realistic or not, I’m unsure as I’ve yet to play it). The series has not seen a release since.

10 replies on “Monaco GP (SG-1000, 1983)”

If I had to choose between this and Road Fighter, I’d pick this game. Looks like there’s more variety in here.

The arcade version sounds more engaging though, with all the fancy controls and stuff. 😀

Please tell where Super Monaco GP 2 was ever a) hailed as Simulation and b) was called realistic. The game was a pure, simple arcade racer, where all you had to do was stick to the inside of the track. You never had to even use the break button at all. Just because it was said that Senna was involved in the development (all he did was give his name and allowed his Hometrack to be in the game) doesn’t mean it’s ‘realistisc’. Have you even played the game then in the early 90’s? No you haven’t, it’s obvious. Compared to Geoff Crammond’s Formula One Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, Test Drive 2 and Indy Car Racing (which was released a short time later), Super Monaco GP2 is a joke.

Besides Test Drive 2, never heard of any of those racing games. Test Drive 2 was garbage, far from realistic. If you’re comparing PC games to Genesis games, then your comment is worthless.

Why is it worthless? Because we know that console games were always simplisitic and easy? That might be right. At the same time, Dylan has made a fool out of himself on various points in this blog with his lack of knowledge about…well…everything that wasn’t NES. It makes me wonder why he even undertake this project. It would be like me writing about Rap Music: I have no clue about it, most i would say would be bullshit. So it makes me wonder: Why even start all this?

And considering that the Mega Drive at the time was at about the level of the Amiga and certainly beyond PC capabilities (remember: We talk about 1988-1992 when the PC was still with 4 Color CGA/16 color EGA and even VGA 256 wasn’t all that common – see Apogee, id Software for most of their products) it’s worth mentioning that the PC still had the more realistic driving simulations. Test Drive 2 was a great simulation on Amiga and PC. That’s a fact. If you only know the Mega Drive Version, stop commenting, you have no clue about anything. Thanks.

And of course Dylan in all his foolishness likes to twist words around. If you present “Fun Facts”, you present them as Facts, not “what somebody back then might have said (lack citation as Wikipedia would say) and you believe it.

Haters gon hate… the comment was still worthless though… Who the fuck is Geoffrey Crammond and who cares? None of those games are any more realistic than the SMGP games on the Genesis. If you’re not using brakes, then you suck at playing. We are talking SEGA here, not Amiga, I could care less about some crappy Euro computer diskette…

You must be some kind of wiz if you think console games are easy and simplistic… I guess you have to be really good to control games most of the time with ONE BUTTON. Lets compare console-to-amiga ports eh? You don’t want to go there… Alot of the crap on Amiga didn’t even deserve to be ported to the Genesis(James Pond, anyone). It was just a way for EA and Psygnosis to push more games on the awesome Genny, even though they were mediocre, at best(Turrican sucks). Even though they both basically ran off the 68000, I’m pretty sure your precious Amiga had more RAM, memory, and things to fool around with…

I said that Super Monaco GP 2 was “touted” as a realistic racing simulator. “Tout” has several definitions, one of which is “promote.” Sega promoted Super Monaco GP 2 as a realistic racing simulator. Whether it is as realistic as Sega claimed is a different story.

Uhm nearly every console racing game is not a racing simulator. At least not until the 3D era. It simulates racing in as far as it has a season mode, rivals, upgrade able parts etc. but basically all racing games of the era were arcade style racers. I’m sure when you get to that game years down the line you will see. But I would certainly say that is a silly point of contention to make comparing it to PC pure sim racing. And I would say anyone who says a game never has you use the brake button is not playing it at a high level. And Super Monaco GP and to some extent it’s sequel were head and heals above any racing game of the time. Maybe not as a pure simulator but it certainly had simulation elements in it. If you really want to get technical, maybe the only real racing simulator type game Sega ever did was Ferrari F-355 challenge. If by simulator you mean something like Gran Turismo.

Anyway I would repeat to Dooby, maybe this isn’t a blog you like. It is about one persons personal experience going back and playing these games and not nessesarily a pure historical critical review. Obliviously he is not ALSO playing every game on PC etc to compare it too. And if he has never played these games how can he be expected to comment like an expert on a Mega Drive game that was like 10 years away. Cut some slack here. I appreciate the additional information in relation to the history of the Monaco racing series. And as far as them being critically acclaimed, Super Monaco GP received a 10, 10, 9, 9. One of the best reviewed games ever in EGM. And part two got an 8,6,6,5. At least the first one (and yes I own it) is an exellent racing game.

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