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VROOOM what a game!! I am quite experienced in all sorts of race car simulators like "Indycar Racer from Papyrus" or "Formula One Grand Prix from MicroProse", but "Nascar" from Papyrus beats them all!
This game begins by selecting a famous Nascar race track out of the nine available. Pick any track you like, sit in your car, make your engine growl and mind that wall. The nice thing about this game is that from the moment you are in the car you feel like Tom Cruise in the film "Days of Thunder". You can even hear it, using any sound card. It has one of the nicest complete dashboards on the market looking very genuine. It is a pity that your angle of vision is not that large because of the roll cage bars blocking your view, but you will certainly need them. The feeling of speed is very well rendered, and you can have all the details you desire: grass and track textures, objects, tribunes, skid marks and even the crash marks into the wall. Another goody from the game is the genuine look of the cars. The cars are not all one color, like one red and another blue, but have multicolored, ad-tagged bodywork just like the real thing!
Let us get a bit more mechanical here. How fast do you think these horsepowered monsters (over 700 hp) go from 0 to 200 mph? This speed will be determined on how well your engine is in tune. Certainly not too fast when you are the mechanic, well not at first anyway. So when you do not know what you are doing, use one of the tailor made set-ups that are available for each different track. If you are any good at mechanics, you may consider putting your hands under the hood for a few adjustments yourself. Beware there are many things you can change and so many possibilities, it would not be cool to find yourself dragging your feet on the track. Of course, you can see where each adjustment is on your car just like in "Indycar Racing" with a little animation.
The bonus point, for which I would rate this among the top three racing car games, is that not only is it a race game but also it is a stock car race. Yes you can trash the rear bumper of your opponents, and make sparks fly everywhere when you scratch your bodywork on the wall. But it is not a M4 platoon tank, so go easy on it or you will simply wreck the car and see a scene of flying wheels and bits. The good thing is that it is not a game in which your car is either whole or completely broken. You can damage it on both sides, rear and front, with different levels of damage ranging from a very little, little, big time and broken. If there is little damage, you will not have any handling problems. A pit stop can fix it up again after a rough overtaking. Your opponents can have the same problems as you do, so watch them deteriorate their cars while spinning their tires like mad as you just smash them up against the wall. You have a wide range of cameras on the car and on the track to watch all your achievements in the replay section.
Another good feature of the game is that you can drive your car from a point of view placed above it (one near the car and another a bit further) and keep an eye on your gear, speed and engine RPM. This allows you to see the bend coming up from a distance further, which is useful when you do not know the track.
If you have a 90 MHz Pentium with a quick graphics board and at least eight Megs of RAM, then you could run Nascar in ... YES SVGA but even then you would not have all the textures or you would only get two pictures per second. In the options list you can decrease the detail level by placing the textures on AUTO and asking for only five cars to be drawn in front of you and two in behind. If your frame rate is not too large, it should run smoothly. You may be asking, why bother playing in SVGA if you lose some details? Because it is crystal clear and worth it. I recommend that you keep the car texture on and all the other options on AUTO. This will permit you to see exactly what is going on far in front of you. It is really worth while to give up some texture for a crystal clear image. I tested the game down to a 486 DX2 and it was still OK, but I would not go below a 486.
Another thing before I forget--there is a complete paint kit delivered with the game. You can change any car you like, even the pace car. It is quite easy to use and includes a selection of 160 colors, small and large stickers from sponsors as well as texture to make your car look like a fire bird. You can even add some tasteful text on your bumper like 'Hi Mom' or 'Car Cruncher'. So do not be daft and paint it all black. And if the colors of your pit crew do not please you, you can also change them.
Virgin Interactive Entertainment, GRAPHICS ------------------ 93% 338a Ladbroke Grove, SOUND ------------------ 90% London W10 5AH, England. MUSIC ------------------ 90% Tel: +44-(0)81-960-2255 GAMEPLAY ------------------ 88% INTEREST ------------------ 96% Virgin Interactive Entertainment, 18061 Fitch Avenue, Irvine, CA 92714. OVERALL ------------------ 92% Tel: 714-833-8710