Sierra's NASCAR Legends takes a look back at the heyday of the sport of NASCAR racing during its formative period. The year is 1970, and drivers such as A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison are tearing up tracks at Alabama International Motor Speedway, Bristol International Speedway, Darlington Raceway and other places which are now well-known names for NASCAR fans. Back then, though, media coverage was minimal (ABC signed on to broadcast races on its network but showed none of them in their entirety) and drivers worked with minimal crews and struggled to get corporate sponsorship.
It's this intense atmosphere that you can drop yourself into and race alongside some of the greatest of all time. Twenty of the best drivers are here along with 16 tracks and 3D models of the Mercury Cyclones, Plymouth Superbirds, Dodge Daytonas and other cars which were in use at the time. You can recreate that historic 1970 season and see if you can come out on top.
Before you race, head into the body shop for some finishing touches on your car. Don't like the paint job? That's okay -- you can redo everything from the colors to the decals. Want to tweak the specs? Go ahead and play with everything from the gear ratios to the screw jacks to the pressure in each tire.
When you're done, you can try out a few single races to see how your car feels before going for the Championship Season. As in the real 1970 season, you earn points depending on how you finish each race; the driver with the most points at the end is the winner.
Feel like the CPU drivers are too easy? Then get online and join a race over the internet or a LAN. Go up against your friends and chat while you're doing so. You can set up to 10 pre-scripted messages to send to other drivers while you race.
As you race you can watch replays of the best moves and most dangerous crashes and save them to your hard drive for later viewing. In the instant replay viewer you can fast-forward, rewind, and even clip out your favorite moments for posterity.
Finally, racers can tweak settings such as damage, racing rules, the size of the field and the abilities of the CPU opponents to suit their tastes. Some may want as realistic an experience as possible while others may want Arcade-like action; both extremes are available to satisfy the needs of the hardcore fan or the casual racing gamer.
Ever since the success of their racing games, Papyrus has been considered the authority of racing simulation. After the release of NASCAR Racing 3, the follow-up to the popular NASCAR 2, Papyrus decided to go back in time to 1970, when all the racers were good old boys and the stock cars were really stock cars. This is NASCAR Legends.
For a full review of this game, please see NASCAR Racing 3. You may think I'm kidding, but the similarities are striking. It seems Papyrus has taken NASCAR 3, and put in old cars and old tracks from 1970. Still, that doesn't mean this game is a total waste.
NASCAR Legends takes you back to the 1970 NASCAR Grand National season, before big crowds and television deals. Imagine not having every track look like a Bruton Smith quad-oval! One of the racing venues is actually a high school track. Some of the tracks are familiar, but with different names (Atlanta International Raceway, Alabama International Motor Speedway) and no club boxes. Some older, defunct tracks include Riverside and Ontario. In all, NASCAR Legends includes 16 tracks from the early days in NASCAR.
In addition to the older tracks, the older drivers are also present, including Buddy Baker, Richard Petty, and Dave Marcis (man, he IS old). Of course, these old NASCAR stars drive old cars, which are included in all their winged glory. The models with the spoiler too far above the rear of the car are found, along with several other car makes. These cars came straight off the assembly line, and just bigger engines and outrageous spoilers were added, opposed to the custom built cars of today.
In addition to these antique attributes, many of the options found in NASCAR Racing 3 are also found here: customized races, series championships, and smashed up cars. Since this is 1970, the rules are slightly different, meaning no pit road speed limit and the lack of restrictor plates.
However, one option I was hoping for and is not present is a career mode, where you could compete in several NASCAR seasons. In addition, the only legendary season found in NASCAR Legends is 1970: you cannot compete in other seasons with different drivers and different tracks. I wanted to race Benny Parsons for the 1973 championship. Oh well.
This is the NASCAR Racing 3 engine: same graphics, same translucent smoke, same everything. Not that the graphics for NASCAR Legends are horrible, actually they are absolutely stunning, especially 3-D accelerated. Sadly, if it weren't for the cars, you would mistake this game for NASCAR Racing 3.
Sound: Again, the sound is the same as NASCAR Racing 3. The spotter is still present, barking out instructions and suggestions for you. The crashes hurt a little more with the sound of bent metal. Still, this is a carbon copy of NASCAR 3.
The gameplay is similar to that of NASCAR 3 (where have I heard that before?). It's really fun to race around the older tracks in strange looking cars, but the feeling seems strangely familiar. The cars do handle slightly different than those of today, but the change is not large. It feels real when you travel around Alabama at over 200 mph, especially when you slam into the wall at that speed.
The AI is a little more aggressive than in NASCAR 3, and this seems to be the only improvement of NASCAR 3. The cars still "park it" during a very large wreck, a problem found in all earlier versions of NASCAR Racing.
Multiplayer is again found, in the same way it was presented in NASCAR 3. You can challenge human drivers at the older tracks, which provides a better challenge than AI ever could.
NASCAR Legends had a good premise when it was thought out, but it's too darn similar to NASCAR Racing 3. Everything except the tracks and cars are the same, and sometimes they just removed some scenery from the NASCAR 3 versions.
This game should have been presented as an add-on to NASCAR 3, rather than a completely different game. This borders on a blatant attempt by Papyrus and Sierra to make more money without putting too much effort into changing the game. If older NASCAR seasons other than 1970 were present, this game would have been a lot better. Unless you really, really want to race in the 70s, download NASCAR Racing 3 and pretend the cars are old.
People who downloaded NASCAR Legends have also downloaded:
Nascar Racing 2, Nascar Racing, NASCAR Heat, NASCAR Racing 3, IndyCar Racing II, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, NASCAR Racing 4, NASCAR Thunder 2004
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