You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.


GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

Indycar Racing II

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Papyrus

IndyCar Racing II (ICR II) is the second IndyCar racing simulator from Papyrus and includes 15 official 1995 IndyCar Championship tracks. Now with an optional SVGA mode, this game offers two times more than anyone would expect from a racing sim. This means twice the color, twice the speed, and twice the fear that a screaming caravan of real road-tearing racing machines will trash the monitor and run you over if only the camera view would not change in a split-second. The game gives you a chance to see yourself in neck-breaking head-on smashes at 200mph followed by 40 360-spin whiplashes, as well as in the process of complex technical tune-ups and preseason testing. You choose...

Graphics diagnosis: Fantastic! No, really. In other words, do YOU want to SEE YOURSELF as a part of REAL races or not?! In ICR II you CAN! Imagine driving and seeing all the real details like asphalt texture with skid marks and fancy advertisement prints on walls surrounding the track. Now add to that the ability to see every word and logo on over 30 of your opponents' cars in front of you and behind, along with the scenery, horizon and colorful tribunes...all at 180mph! Getting the feeling now? When you are on the track racing and seeing all that, the only visible limits to this "reality" feeling are your computer's capabilities. Of course, there is always a VGA solution to the scroll rate problem, but what if you hate it (and believe me you will) and still want the full-blown thing? Fortunately, Papyrus included countless options for you to play with, like manually controlled min/max frame rates and about a dozen detail adjustments of game components like grass, skid, smoke, dirt car, wall, etc. All that will actually make the frame rate smoother, though take away some of that "aah-I'm-gonna-die!" feeling when racing. There is even an "FM instead of digital audio" option that supposedly increases frame rate (never heard of that), and you are free to use it because who cares where eardrum-exploding swooshing engine and skid noises come from if that's all you hear while racing anyway!

The user interface design is quite simple in the game as long as you don't press Esc by mistake while setting up - that will send you right to the game menu screen. While driving you can keep track of condition of all the essential parts of your car like lap/standings/fuel/tire pressure info. It took me a while to understand what all those numbers I was getting on the screen meant, until I consulted the user manual - truly a necessary procedure in this game I should say. Yes, there is a whole bunch of keyboard keys you will need to know to get timely info and make necessary changes while racing, but after some practice they won't seem all that scary. As far as option controls: arrows up/down/Enter will do the trick of complete tune-ups for your IndyCar.

As I said in the beginning, this racing sim gives you a chance to try neck-breaking experiences as well as tuning up your car, and it is just up to you what to have more of. ICR II is a case where you can have both: the wonderful arcade experience and an almost real event. Still, the game is done for those seeking the IndyCar World Championship experience with all the training, technical understanding and preparation available.

Before each race you can go to the Garage, where you are offered a truck-load of never-heard-of options for tuning your car up for races. Wheel locks, cambers, staggers (for every wheel separately), gear ratios, shock absorbers, and a lot more will be your responsibility to balance the way you want (that's where the manual comes in handy). You better do something with those values before every new track! What else? Weather, realism, opponents values are yours to balance the race with. Absolutely great features of ICR II are the arcade camera that offers two thrilling views above the car, and the "instant replay" allowing you to see the whole race again from a number of mind-blowing perspectives. So even if you only care about the speed, the effects, and the screams that will fly out of your mouth when you smash into the wall on turns, ICR II has a great deal of arcade action for you!

Pros: Great SVGA graphics and camera views, serious approach to the technical side of the racing for 100% simulation realism.

Cons: VGA graphics aren't that appealing, "auto" detail option makes graphics jerky at times. The complexity of the technical side and the skill required for competitive racing may seem scary to beginning gamers.

--Andrew Morozov