For every good game produced let EA release three mediocre
Electronic Arts, a brand that stands for variety! I cannot think of
another company that has such an established pattern of hit and
miss releases. Whereas Squaresoft is known for epic RPGs and Ion
Storm is known for, well nothing really, EA seems to take pride in
releasing the widest spectrum of games possible. After extensive
research, I am fairly certain that it is a requirement for EA to
release games on a quality ratio. For every game worth playing,
EA produces three to five truly substandard and worthless titles. I
compiled a small portion of data that quantifies this.
Good games recently released by Electronic Arts:Need for Speed High Stakes
Sports Car GT
NBA Live ‘99
Shit so bad I wouldn’t let my dog near it:Nascar Revolution
Cricket World Cup ’99
Beetle Racing Adventure
Road Rash Unchained
The latest game to add to this list is the amazingly terrible Nascar
Road Racing. This game features 26 of your favorite Nascar drivers
running over 12 fantasy road course tracks. Simply put, Nascar
Road Racing is a sad attempt at what could have been a mildly
good game concept. Taking stock cars out of the oval and tossing
them into an interesting mix of road tracks could have worked.
However, to make it work would have taken time, creativity, and
effort, three elements that were blatantly ignored in an effort to get
this flaming heap out to door as soon as possible.
So I hear that 3D acceleration is going to be the next BIG THING in
computers. I hear they make games look better and run faster. Oh
wait, this isn’t 1994, nevermind. Nascar Road Racing, in all its retro
glory, features fully software rendered graphics. In attempt to
"level the computing playing field" EA decided to not include any
hardware acceleration, apparently to show anyone with a decent
video card what they’ve been missing. Chunky textures, heavily
dithered bitmap backgrounds, that great model distortion when
objects enter the side of the screen, its all here. Nascar Road
Racing shows off all the fantastic graphical innovations that Doom
and Doom ][ brought to PC gaming.
Another mediocre title in the EA line, Nascar Revolution, is the
source of 90% of the Road Racing’s sound effects. The basic menu
effects, in-game tire screeches and engine roars are all recycled
from Revolution’s own mediocre sound banks. The other 10% of
sound in Road Racing is the generic rock-a-billy music which
thoroughly describes the target demographic of this game.
After driving around on three test tracks for upwards of two hours, I
am fairly certain that Nascar Road Racing is not only not fun, but
also not possible to win at. In a 26 car field I found it extremely
easy to reach the middle of the pack. Right after passing half of the
field a massive gap opened up between my car and the upper
placed cars. The only means of winning I had was to blow past the
leaders during their pit stops, and hope that I had enough fuel to
make it to the checkered flag. I am not sure why the lower half of
the field goes 25MPH slower, and the upper half about 25MPH
faster than my car, but it simply translates into a game with little
rewards and less enjoyment.
Without any multiplayer features and only one mode of racing,
Nascar Road Racing offers little to no replay value. I must admit
that I was not expecting much in the way of innovation and
engaging gaming. After being thoroughly disappointed with
Nascar Revolution’s buggy and unfinished design, I did not hold
high hopes for Nascar Road Racing. It is going to take serious
effort by EA (read: $$$) to turn this series around.
As a final note I’d like to voice appreciation for the truthful
descriptions of features in this game provided on the Nascar Road
Racing web page. If there was a category for honesty I would
gladly award full points.