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Game Over Online ~ Newman Haas Racing

GameOver Game Reviews - Newman Haas Racing (c) Psygnosis, Reviewed by - umax

Game & Publisher Newman Haas Racing (c) Psygnosis
System Requirements P200 32mb RAM 4x CdROM
Overall Rating 77%
Date Published Thursday, November 5th, 1998 at 03:26 PM

Divider Left By: umax Divider Right

Ever since the days of IndyCar and IndyCar2, this sort of racing has been one of my favorites. It is easily one of the most exciting types of driving simulators because of the sheer speeds these cars run at, and the speeds at which they can take corners with ease. I went into Psygnosis' new title Newman Haas Racing full of hopes that this game would let me relive the IndyCar feeling with updated graphics and handling.

I was right, and, well, I was wrong too. This game is a mixed bag. First off, being the proud owner of a 3Dfx/GLide capable video card, I started the game in that native mode (one of the two graphics options, the other being Direct3D.) I couldn't wait to see this game, as it is the most recent of its genre. It looked nice. All the graphics were colourful, all the cars had reflective surfaces and there was some nice smoke effects coming off the tires when I tried to spin them F1 style. :) However, (and this is the kicker) the Direct3D option was simply awful. There was texture splitting and cracking, the colour palette they chose looked washed out and shabby. This isn't because of a not-so-good Direct3D accelerator either, this is the result of the game. If you get this one, don't feel bad if it doesn't astonish you in Direct3D. I imagine the best card for this game would be a MatroxG200 or something else with a solid Direct3D component, but definitely, if you have a GLIDE capable card, use it! The cars themselves all looked very real, and damage was modeled into the car bodies. It was possible to damage the car almost anywhere you could in real life. I found myself intentionally ramming into other cars trying to break off a nose cone or snap a fin off. One nice touch was when you made it around the track to the place where the nose cone fell off, it would still be there lap after lap, and if you hit it, it bounced or ricoched realistically. All of the cars are equally detailed, as you can drive almost any of them, and all of your favorite sponsors are there too! :) The tracks were nicely done, and also very detailed. I noticed lots of familiar sights while driving around the Toronto track, and was very impressed with the attention paid this game. There are plenty of tracks to chose from, covering almost all of the major race circuits in the league.

The cars themselves were relatively realistically modeled. Now, not being an F1/Indy/GP/Kart driver, I can't claim to have knowledge of how each of these cars handles, but I did find the cars braking abilities a bit too overstated at the low end. On the whole, though, they were very friendly to drive, and handled nicely. The cars get squirelly when on rough terrain or grass and if you accelerate too hard, you will spin your tail end out, which was a nice touch, as were the differing handling capabilities of each car. For the IndyCar2 junky, yes you can tune your car, and make pit stops to make adjustments. All of this makes for a very realistic model of racing. I found it not quite as engrossing as Nascar2 or IndyCar2, but it was still very good. You can chose from single races, or a championship season. All of the tracks are great to play, and this game gives the player a great feeling of speed through each track, which was also nice after playing a game like Viper Racing where there isn't much feeling of speed. You can chose from any number of famous drivers like Andretti, Fitapaldi (sp.) etc, and each of their cars has the responsiveness of the real world one. The learning curve in the game was very gradual, so anyone wanting to get into this genre would find this one enjoyable from the start. However, with all the settings put up high, the game was a challenge, and I did find the opponent drivers to get relatively crafty. The only quibble with their driving is the fact that at any moment for no reason they could zip across the track at an incredible speed to make a pass, which I thought was a bit unfair, but it added a challenge. :)

Sound in Newman Haas is very good, with all that you would expect. There was no ingame music to speak of, but there was music at the menu, so I suppose this was chosen by the designers to keep the game less 'arcadish'. The engines of each different car seemed to have a different whine to it which I liked, and the sound of a car passing was very well done. When a car went by it really sounded like I was passing it. The game also had no speech, but this is in no way necessary, just don't expect it.

Overall, Newman Haas Racing is a very well thought out, realistic racing simulation. It has a large choice of cars and drivers offered to the player, as well as tracks. Staying away from arcadish elements like ingame/race music and voice commentary makes this one a worthy cousin of IndyCar and Monaco GP. However, the game doesn't have so steep a learning curve that a relatively new racer couldn't easily get into it and enjoy it. Control is very straightforward and there is support for joysticks and steering wheels. Really the only downfall of this game would be the fact that it has no multiplayer, and a game like this definitely should. Unfortunately it loses big points there.

Highs: Good graphics in 3Dfx mode, good control, easy to get into, wide variety of cars/drivers/tracks, stays away from annoying arcade racing game hangups like music while racing.

Lows: NO MULTIPLAYER, not-so-wonderful Direct3D graphics, no high resolution support,

System Requirements: (by manufacturer)

Recommended: (by me.)
Pentium 233MMX
64meg RAM
Riva128, Velocity128 or comparable D3D video accelerator and Windows9x compatible Audio Card.
Voodoo1 or Voodoo2 3Dfx graphics card for Native Glide mode (highly recommended.)
Steering Wheel/Joystick/Gamepad


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