Estimated Price: $54.95
By Tim Robertson
First, a little background. In the summer of
1995, I worked as a race track announcer on
the Winston Cup NASCAR circuit. Up until this
time, I didn’t have much experience in racing,
but some as an announcer. I learned much in that
three months, such as Winston Cup racing is the
#1 spectator sport in the USA, who the drivers
were, and more. I also met some of the nicest people I have ever met in the NASCAR fans, as well as some drivers. And, more importantly for this review, I also became a fan.
That said, I can say that as soon as I learned of this game, I decided I had to try it. As I write this, I haven’t yet bought the game, but I plan to. So, for this review, keep in mind that I’m referring to the demo version.
NASCAR Racing is a GREAT game. If you’re a racing fan at all, you’ll enjoy this game. If you’re not, no need to worry! This game is fun for all. And I do mean fun!
I learned, very soon after playing this game for the first time, that when I do buy it, I plan on also acquiring a steering wheel controller. It will help! But, alas, all I had to use was my trusty mouse and keyboard. Sufficient to play the game and have fun, but not for some really serious competitions! I used the “4” and “6” key for right/left, the ” ~ ” key for acceleration, and the “5” key for braking. I also left the gear shift on automatic, as I can just imagine how tricky THAT would be on a keyboard! Yes, I could have simply used the mouse for driving, but I found better control with my keyboard.
The Demo has three tracks you can race on, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Martinsville, and Sears Point. While these are great, I know that the full version has all the big tracks, and I would like to race at Darlington and Michigan, myself:-) You can also race in either an actual race, warm up, qualifying, and practice runs. The down side is that you can’t pit, change anything about your car, change drivers, etc… But don’t let this stop you from trying out the demo. Even if you’re no good at racing, it’s always fun to turn around on the track and smash a few cars. (I remember one really good hit I gave Terry Labonte, in which his hood and front tires came off, causing Rusty Wallace to crash into Dale Earnhardt. Like I said, fun stuff here!)
You can drive from inside the car, or out. I myself liked the inside view for the realism, but you can see more of the track from the outside view. The graphics, while very good for a game, could be better. I ran this game with 100MHz, 32MB Ram, as well as a 200MHz Motorola Mac. Both were about the same as far as graphics and motion goes, but I think that this game may be too much for a non-Powermac machine.
Likewise, the sound was fairly simply, if not out right great. Perhaps the full version has announcers? I have no idea, but the demo is a little weak in this area. About the only thing you hear is when you speed up, crash, and other racing noises. Of course, in a real race, that IS all you hear other than your pit crew on the headset radio.
My favorite feature of this game might sound silly to some, but it’s a blast. After the race (or when you run out of fuel) you get to watch a replay of your race. However, you don’t simply watch the race from inside the car, but from a televised viewpoint. It’s like watching a race on ESPN or TNN. You can watch from different TV angles, a behind the car view, in front of the car, above the car, from the blimp, and more! Really great stuff! You can fast forward, rewind, watch other drivers, and generally have a great time laughing yourself silly as you crash into everything from the high bank wall to the pace car or even Jeff Gordon! The full version will also let you save your race as a Quick Time movie.
NASCAR Racing is really a fun game; one you can enjoy over and over again. It’s worth trying out the beta version, and if you like it even half as much as I did, you’ll plan on buying the full version in no time!
MacMice Rating: 3
Tim Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org)