Racing games are all the rage this month and there's plenty of fast furious action in this one.
It doesn't feature two player racing but you may find yourself with up to six cars on screen
The setting is the Nascar circuits of America and you have to take on 18 other cars,
including Richard Petty's (a famous Nascar driver). However before you can race against the
best you've got to qualify. This is done around a tri-oval circuit or a random circuit. Both
of these have only left hand turns with the former having three and the latter a random number
Qualifying is fairly easy as long as you keep at maximum speed and don't bump into the other
cars on the track. At this stage they're easy to avoid but they won't be so charitable in
the race proper.
Your qualifying time determines your position on the grid and it's best to be in the top
four or you'll have a lot of catching up to do. The start usually causes large jams as the
leaders jockey for position and you have to be extra careful not to get sandwiched and crash.
This isn't the only way to meet your doom though.
You have tyre wear and fuel levels which if allowed to get to zero will cause you to crash.
Tyres are worm down when your car rubs against the curb while heavy contact in front or
behind from another car will also result in disaster. You may also get some random engine trouble
but this will only slow you down. All these factors can be repaired in the pits.
To help you avoid the other drivers you have two handy techniques. The first is slip-streaming
(driving close behind another car) which won't speed you up but will conserve fuel so that you can
avoid doing too many pit stops. Secondly you can use turbo boost which allows you to travel
at 294 mph instead of the usual 250 mph and is great for overtaking manoeuvres. However it eats
up the fuel and should only be used for short periods on straights.
The other cars have distinct personalities and there are five general types. Three individuals
are your main competitors and drive distinctive numbered cars which are most easily out driven
on the bends. The other fall into two classes: the bumpers are slow and easy to avoid while the
demons are really nasty and baulk you.
The engine noises aren't that good but the tyre screech round corners is nice. The graphics are
disappointing with a flickery track and although the cars look great, their movement is
jerky. The perspective does allow you to see a corner before you are into it and this helps
Each race is over thirty laps and you have continuous updates on your position in the race,
who is in front of you, your last lap time and your points score.