NASCAR Racing 2002 Season
When observing somebody playing a NASCAR game, it is traditional to make a comment along the lines of "next left, mate," before collapsing into hilarity at your incisive rapier wit. This is what is known as a games industry joke, something that the games themselves are often treated as. It's the American Sports syndrome once again, whereby us Brits fail to comprehend the subtleties of a sport in which moustachioed rednecks do 200 laps of an anti-clockwise oval in what really is little more than a streamlined tank. An absurdly dangerous activity, competitors often suffer a violent death, at which point one of their 18 children takes up the sport.
As a blueprint for an involving virtual experience, NASCAR might not be the most obvious choice, but it should not be dismissed out of hand. Papyrus has long been recognised as the master of NASCAR games, and its rabid a detail is again evident in this seasonal update, providing at least a match for the most anal of Grand Prix simulations. You might simply think it's a case of slapping down a few ovals, but the subtleties of each of the tracks have been painstakingly recreated. How do we know? We've been watching Channel 5 (that's commitment), whose NASCAR coverage coincided with the review of this game. And whaddya know? It's identical, from the cracks in the asphalt to the trackside buildings.
It's a common misconception that all NASCAR tracks are the same. In fairness, the vast majority are left-handed ovals, but with the shortest clocking in at around 15 seconds a lap and others taking up to a minute to circumnavigate, differing approaches are required. Races are a question of finding a rhythm, hugging the racing line and picking off your opponents one at a time, aided by the radio instructions of your extremely useful pit crew. Not crashing is also a superb ploy, and while it can be tempting to give the car in front a nudge, it is probably best approached as a non-contact sport.
Clearly, you'd have to be sick in the mind to attempt full-length races with all the rules switched on, particularly as you'd spend much of the time cruising round in single file under the jurisdiction of the yellow safety flag. But the features are fully flexible, with both arcade and simulation modes offered, and it is possible to find a happy medium through tweaking driver aids, opponent strength, race length, number of competitors and so on.
Many of the criticisms levelled at NASCAR games are valid - it can be mind-numbing -but there is simply nothing like going up against 42 smoking behemoths in front of a crowd of screaming hicks. Cletus, pass me mah helmet...
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode