The Nascar we all know (and whom some love) is based on the professional sport of souped-up racing cars that speed infinitely around an oval steering left. (OK, I admit it I don't know anyone who loves, or even likes, Nascar racing.) But that's not what this is. This is as close to San Francisco Rush as the PlayStation gets, with a few new elements thrown in for good measure. (SF Rush bombed on the PS about two years ago.) These cars are still as powerful as in real life, but now they race on 18 courses all across the continent, each course packed with clever short cuts, power-ups, and highly competitive AI.
The videogame replicas of real Nascar vehicles are burly, indestructible, leaping things that are as solid as bulldozers. They burst through walls, waterfalls, bricks, and bash into each other and just keep going. All of the cars are from the actual Nascar teams, all with the appropriate decals, strips, etc, and each mixes up various characteristics or speed, endurance, control, etc. There are even a few oddball Nascar trucks thrown in there. They're able to flip, spin, and summersault in mid-air.
The game really is a strange hybrid that works on several levels, the most apparent of which is the sense of speed. It's blisteringly fast. The frame rates appear to run at a constant 30 FPS, no matter how many cars are on-screen, creating G-forces that are delicious to any racing fan. What's more, your car, no matter which of the 30-plus cars (or trucks) you pick, has this unearthly ability to accelerate on a dime. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to go from 0-90 in three seconds.
Nascar Rumble is set up with several courses ready to compete on. Three courses belong to a Locale, of which there are six, totaling 18 total tracks altogether, a nice thick number. Players can race on any course in Single Race, but in Championship, they must win either two out of three races (or earn the most points from the three races) to take the Gold Cup. Having taken the Cup you can race the "Legend" of that Locale, and by beating him you can race in that area in his car, which is cool, because it's always faster than what you're driving. Taking the cup also unlocks a bonus track, Locale, or vehicle category.
Like I said before, this is not a regular Nascar game. There are no oval courses. Instead, all tracks are all rugged original terrain, ranging from country roads, to city streets, to beach courses, to pig farms. The tracks are riddled with shortcuts and surprise paths that jump over standard paths, or lead to new branches, or criss-cross above normal paths. In some cases you need to take risks to get to them, by attempting to bash through wrong way signs, houses, mine shafts, or dangerous hollows. Whatever hiding technique you desire, the development team designed the courses to be a hell of a lot of fun.
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