One of the best racing games ever.
- Race in oval and non-oval tracks with up to thirty-something AI controlled vehicles.
- Fantastic graphics, specially in the Super VGA mode.
- Lots of fun to play, difficulty level and car settings can be tweaked easily.
- Very realistic physics.
- The Super VGA graphics mode requires a really, really fast computer.
- The car editor has to be accessed through an external program and requires some adjustment.
The Bottom Line
I first heard of Papyrus during my first years of PC gaming. All the magazines would treat the then recent "INDYCAR Racing" as a staple when it came to PC racing games. I ended up buying a budget release just to learn what all that hype was about. And it was well justified. The graphics, physics and gameplay made it one of the most immersive, realistic games ever to grace a PC screen.
When I saw the first pictures of "NASCAR Racing" I knew it was going to kick a**. You can't possibly imagine what it was back then to see highly detailed graphics of a NASCAR car taken from a chase perspective. This time I swallowed line and sinker and bought the game right away, and in CD version.
I never regretted the move. "NASCAR Racing" was as realistic and immersive as its predecessor, but it was two, three or five times more fun. It was very thrilling to compete against so many opponents, knowing a single mistake would make you loose a position or two, and the graphics were nothing short of amazing for its time.
Which takes me to my only serious issue with this game. With a 486/66 PC, you could only play in VGA mode, and even then you had to turn off some of the detail, which I always found sort of offensive. And when I finally got a Pentium class machine, I was amazed to notice that the Super VGA mode also needed some serious tweaking to get things moving. Damn.
The problem really lies in the game engine, it was too much for the PCs of the time, and for some reason more modern PCs can't run it any faster either. Papyrus tried to solve the problem creating some hardware accelerated versions, but at that time 3D cards were just starting and only a few users could benefit of those specific versions of the game.
Still, don't let that let you down. If you can get your hands into an early Pentium with DOS or Windows 98, this baby is a must try. And if you can't, well, there's always Virtual PC or the rest of the "NASCAR Racing" series, which do look more polished, even if they aren't nearly as much fun as this one.