Burning Rubber And Squealing Tyres

Take to the track with this sequel to the original Sierra simulation.

Not too long ago, this column reviewed "NASCAR Racing", Sierra's original contribution to the NASCAR party. And now it's time for the sequel - and "NASCAR Racing 2" offers numerous improvements over its predecessor.

First, a word for those new to the genre - "NASCAR Racing" involves putting you into a stock car to compete with other drivers across sixteen gruelling race tracks in the hope of winning the coveted championship. Like every other simulation out there, the premise is simple - strap yourself in, put the pedal to the metal, and watch for the corners...

"NASCAR Racing 2" offers three primary game modes - there's the Quick Race mode, which allows you to drive a single race at a track of your choice; the Championship mode, in which you get to drive an entire season's worth of races against some of the greatest names in the field; and the Multiplayer option, which lets you compete head-to-head over a network or modem connection. Once you've decided on how you're going to play it, it's time to select the track and stadium, and set race options like the race length, the number of opponents, the weather, the driving mode, and whether or not to allow pace laps, yellow flags and other newbie assists.

That done, you're taken to the actual day of the race, where you can perform a car tune-up, check current driver standings, and then head down to the track. The lights turn green, and off you go, bouncing across the track and occasionally spinning into the wall...

The in-car instruments are pretty good - "NASCAR Racing 2" gives you oil, temperature and fuel gauges, together with a tachometer and in-car radio, and a spotter who can tell you who's closing up on you. A number of different camera views allow you to watch yourself from the air, or from different angles, and an "instant replay" feature allows you to play back your last spectacular crash. A paint shop lets you customize your car, and a garage lets you tune your setup for optimum speed. The game physics also seem to be a little better than previous versions - the car seems more responsive, especially if you spend some time messing with the tires and suspnsion in the garage.

If this sounds like any other racing sim, it is - "NASCAR Racing 2" offers very little that's new or original, and you're not likely to find too many obvious differences between this and other stock car simulations in the market, including Sierra's own "NASCAR Racing". Sure, the physics seem a little better, the camera views are a little tighter, and the engines sound much more powerful - but this is a game you've probably played a million times before, and will play a million times more in the future. I'd recommend this one only if you're a fan of racing sims and just have to play them all...if not, give this one a miss!

This article was first published on05 Sep 2000.