the writings of a mind

Genre: Racing - Simulation
Big Word: Tyred
Strap: Brrrrrrrm. Screeeeech. Crash. Good.

When someone hands you a copy of a game saying, "You review this, I canít bring myself to play it for another second," the correct response is, "not bloody likely." When that person is James Ashton, leaning down from his editorial throne, the correct response is, "Yes sir, right away sir."

The history of NASCAR is an ominous one. Way back in 1995, when PCís ran on a complex system of weighted levers and rubber bands, the original NASCAR Racing was released and scored a mighty 92%. The world then held its breath for two years until the sequel appeared. Those who survived this long without oxygen were pleased to read that NASCAR Racing 2 was worth an impressive 87%. Another two years passed. Millions more died of asphyxiation. And NASCAR Revolution was born. Sixty Five percent. Things were not looking so good. This time only small cults in southern states bothered blocking their anticipating lungs. A single month later NASCAR Road Racing was spawned, garnering a repulsive 21%, and the hatred of all those of sane mind and body.

And now, two years after itís natural predecessor, NASCAR Racing 3 has arrived. And it is a steaming pile of malodorous donkey shite. The sense of soul-deep apathy this game generates makes it so hard to be bothered to explain why. Ho-hum. First of all, and I donít care if everybody says this, you are just driving around in bloody circles. Left. Left a bit more. Left now. Quick, turn left. Left. A bit to the left. Now left. I donít believe that anyone on this good clean earth could go more than two laps before spinning around and heading off in the wrong direction, just to go right for one blessed moment.

But letís be fair, NASCAR isnít about arcade style racing, itís a proper simulation game, and should be reviewed as such. Ahem. You can tweak your car on every level; work with mechanics to bring your engine to maximum efficiency, fiddle with brakes until they suit your cornering, even re-spray your vehicle to your own design. You can do all this, but why would you bother when your prize is an unresponsive driving game with an engine from the dark ages? The graphics are simply abysmal, everything looking like cardboard cut-outs in a Blue Peter make-your-own race circuit. Cars can drive /through/ other cars, others just vanish into the ether, and none appear to be touching the track they are supposed to drive upon.

In a world were Gran Turismo on the Playstation exists, there is no excuse for racing games like this to appear. Unless you own a broken joystick that can no longer steer right, there is no reason to play this arse. So donít. Please.

Margin note:
Manual Driven

There is one simple way to divide the nation: They who read the manual, and they who check only the key-bindings and dive headfirst into the game. Although, there is also one thing that unites these two factions into a glorious whole: When the manual looks like War and Peace Ė The Directors Cut, all will immediately flick to the back, chanting, Ďhave another language, have another languageí.

NASCAR Racing 3 has a manual weighing in at an ominous 244 pages. Flicking to the back? All English. If this game were any good, you would still be hard pushed to begin reading. It isnít. You wonít.

 If this game were human, it would be Noel Edmonds


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Sierra Sports
Developer: Papyrus
Minimum System: P166, 32Mb RAM
Multi-player: Yes. But donít.
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