Driving games and sequels, eh? Bastards! What is it with these things? They're all over the place. If I had a penny for every driving game that spawned a child', I'd now have... er, six pence. (You know what I mean, though.) Still, it's understandable why the car-driving game genre scores so highly in the let's do it again' stakes. Think about it like this...
There they are - the programmers -and they've just finished coding their latest pride and joy:
The punters will go apeshit over our realistic physics modelling, says one.
Yes, says another, and the fact that we spent months on our hands and knees measuring the real-life tracks with rulers should go down well, too.
And it does go down well. Everyone in gaming land celebrates, with street parties and whatnot. All is well, but then computers suddenly start getting faster. Oh dear...
Waste not, want not...
If you've got a perfect mathematical model for car handling', and you've also got femtoscopically accurate data for all the race tracks in the universe, there's only only one ongoing battle left to fight: presentation.
We've all witnessed the race between the Brits and the Yanks on this score. Geoff Crammond hit the first home run with F1GP about a trillion years ago, and we saw that it was good. Then Papyrus retaliated with lndycar, and we saw that was good, also. I will strike back, said Geoff, but he didn't really have much to strike back with at the time because he was aiming predominantly at the European market, and we all had shit pcs. Not so the Yanks. Cue NASCAR Racing, which was a hoot, even in jerko-vision. Papyrus were now winning easily, but Geoff no doubt took solace in the fact that NASCAR, when played in svga, ran at a rate of about one frame per millennium, even on your average Yank ninja-stack.
But then, in a surprise attack, Papyrus released the first sequel of the war.
Here's lndycar 2, they announced, gloatingly. Feck! said Geoff. (Allegedly.)
But things weren't as bad as they seemed: lndycar 2 wasn't really that different' from lndycar 1. In fact, eight out of ten owners (who expressed a preference) claimed they couldn't tell one from the other. (Until they crashed and saw bits coming off the cars, as had happened with NASCAR Racing.)
Much time passed. Then, after an interminable wait, F1GP2 finally arrived, this spring. Old slowcoach Geoff The Snail' Crammond had finally done it: he'd surpassed lndycar 2 and NASCAR 1, even if it had taken him four squillion years. Surely a holiday was on the cards for the bumbling toff?
No rest for the wicked...
Soback to now, and the point of these ( two pages: namely NASCAR 2, of which you have a taster' on the cover disk. Have you played it yet? If you have, you'll have 1 played it in svga, seeing as that's the (Only graphics mode available. So how was it on your machine? Jerk-tastic? If it rwas then I can only apologise for having played it on the office P166, where it was as smooth as a baby's bottom. (And, apparently, it's still to be speeded up by E another 25%.) I've done some mental arithmetic, actually, and have come to the conclusion (if everything I've been told is true) that the finished version should zoom along happily, in hi-res and full detail, on a P90. But all this isn't telling you what's going to be 'available', as it were... and how it's all going to differ from the prequel.
Er... the, erm, differences...
As you may have seen for yourself, the textures are more Cgroovy' this time round - and I'm thinking particularly here about the grass, which seems to have daisies and buttercups on it. "So what? you say. I'll tell you: no more hassle from your wife/chick. She can now join in the fun. You race while she enjoys the flora. So what else?
Actually, this isn't so easy. It's early Idays, and I've not seen a great deal more than you, to be honest, so maybe I should do a breakdown of the few things I do know...
(1) All the tracks from the last game are going to be included - which shouldn't be too hard, considering that 80% of them can be drawn using a compass.
(2) Added to this, there are going to be two fantasy' tracks, which means lots of hills and corners and jumps (I think).
(3) This version is nearly properly licensed but, apparently, four of the drivers wanted too much dosh - which means that four of the driver names and photos will be pretend'. (Do you care about this? I'm buggered if I do. I don't know any NASCAR driver's names or faces, unless you count Paul Newman, but he's dead.) (He isn't actually - Ed.)
(4) The paint kit. You'll get the design-a-car paint kit with the game, so you won't have to shell out for it separately at a later date. This is important, I reckon, 'cos you want to drive a custom' job, don't you? My favourite scam is to go for a sort of all-over grey, with loads of rust spots and just the one sponsor decal saying something like Joe's Autos or Budgen's (it makes those crash replays all the more enjoyable).
(5) Talking of replays, they'll be far easier to access than before, with a lot less faffing about.
(6) Likewise the car set-up screen. Yes, I said screen' - singular. Papyrus have finally decided to do away with their time-consuming eye candy and have gone instead for playability. All I can say is that they took their time, but hoorah anyway.
(7) A very useful audible commentary, informing you that you're going the wrong way and so on.
What else is different?
Um. I can't tell you, because, by the very nature of the beast, NASCAR 2 is going to be very much along the same lines as NASCAR 1. Souped-up graphics, obviously, are the order of the day, and then the stuff mentioned above. The ai will no doubt be tinkered with as well, as will some aspects of the handling (although you'll still have to brake three miles before a sharp corner, but that's realism for you). Apart from all this, though, it still looks as if one very annoying bit will remain... the joystick calibration routines. Geoff Crammond (bless his heart) offers just about any control combination possible in his games.
Papyrus, however, don't. Reverse gear, as usual, is treated as if it's some sort of unnecessary extra', and as such is assigned to a separate keyboard buffer. What's the bloody problem? Stick it on the ruddy joystick, please.
Oh well, every rose has to have a thorn - and I predict that NASCAR 2 is going to rule the saloon car roost for as long as it takes Geoff Crammond (or someone else) to counter with a Touring Car game. Wait for the review, nevertheless.
Download NASCAR 2
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode