Game Over Online ~ NHRA Drag Racing

GameOver Game Reviews - NHRA Drag Racing (c) Mind Magic, Reviewed by - Umax

Game & Publisher NHRA Drag Racing (c) Mind Magic
System Requirements P166, 32MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 43%
Date Published Thursday, August 13th, 1998 at 11:34 AM

Divider Left By: Umax Divider Right

I'd like to apologize for how brief and negative this review may seem, but this game was just one that had no value to me. I thought it might be good for an afternoon or two, but I was wrong.

Its been a while since we've had any truly classic racing games to play. (Oval, track or drag) The last greats that come to my mind were Indycar2, Nascar2 and The Need for Speed 2. There haven't really been that many serious attempts at modeling an associated racing sport since Nascar2 in my opinion, and this game really follows suit with the games since. NHRA Racing is an attempt to model the National Hot Rod Association and cram all of that great 'haul-ass-rocket-in-your-pants' feel into a game. It just didn't really work.

The graphics in the game itself aren't that terrible on the whole, but they present very little to drool over. There are 4 modes in the game; low, medium, high and AGP. I assume that low medium and high are all variations upon Direct3D, or at least medium and high are. You can turn on and off many of the visual elements in the game, i.e. crowd etc… if your computer can't handle them all. The system requirements aren't too astronomical though, so most people should be ok. The clouds and backdrop were unimpressive, each being bitmapped and polygonal respectively. Textures were also not that amazing, but you could choose your sponsor and car type. (Ford, Pontiac etc.) There weren't any amazing special effects in the game either, which lead me to believe perhaps the production of this game was a bit rushed or maybe the programmers just didn't care. There were the standard smoke and skid marks, and even some flame from exhausts, but not much else. There were no weather conditions that could be altered either, which was, I suppose realistic because you don't see too much drag racing in the rain. However, they could have modeled night time properly and wind speed would also have been a factor undoubtedly. Views in the game were very poorly done, and I found it better to just leave it in the cockpit because of how distorted the view became when trying to alter it.

Again, in the sound department there was not much special to mention. The cars all sounded the same (the Funny Cars sounded identical to the Top Fuel cars) which was not very realistic. The throttle and gear sounds were sort of realized, but again, not to the detail they should have been. I think an announcer or crowd cheering would have helped too. Even something along the lines of the announcer telling you how you did after the race.

Now, for me, there's something a bit wrong with making an entire game about two cars going in a straight line. Sure, you do have to make minor steering adjustments and I'm sure in real life it is much more exhilarating, but this is a computer game. I could find little reason to keep going back to play the game just to watch my car beat another car by one gazillionth of a second, it just wasn't turning my crank. I suppose this game is aimed at the hardcore drag racing fans, but even then, I doubt they will keep coming back. Giving you more control of your car's setup could have enhanced the game. (i.e. Engine, suspension, fuel mix, tires etc) and then throwing in a multiplayer element for good measure. At least that way you could claim to have made a better car then your friends. Basically, I find little entertainment in driving a car in a straight line. There is little to no challenge to that, especially when you aren't allowed to customize your car very much.

In summary, the game offers little in the eye candy department, and audio was overall unimpressive. Above all else, the point of the game is driving a car that the programmers set up for you down a track in a straight line. Honestly, I can't imagine what the HELL the people who came up with this game were thinking. One other glaring omission, which I wanted to mention, was that this game gave you no real feeling of speed. Lets not forget that in real life a top fuel car goes from 0-240mph in about 3 seconds, that is a fact, and this game gave NO feeling of this. Perhaps the programmers should think twice about wasting their talents on a game like this, and next time put some more attention to detail into the game. In my opinion, stick to Burnout Drag Racing, its a better game, or wait for Burnout Championship Edition if you want your drag racing fix.


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