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IndyCar Series

Developer: Codemasters | Publisher: Codemasters
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 05/21/03 | Genre: Driving

Are you a fan of arcade-style racers? If so, you will probably want to steer clear of IndyCar Series--the latest from Codemasters. But for those of you who don't mind playing a simulation racer, this game, based on the IndyCar racing league from Codemasters, may just offer what you are looking for.

IndyCar is a sport, much like NASCAR, that has grown in popularity over the years. In this league, drivers are successful when they strategically make their way to the front of the pack without crashing or making any mistakes. Of course, that is easier said than done...

Players can choose from over five different modes--including an IndyCar Series season or jumping straight to the biggest racing event in the league--the Indianapolis 500. In the IndyCar Series season mode, players can compete in a full season that spans 15 races. As the season progresses, you will climb the ranks in your journey to be the best IndyCar driver in the world. One major flaw with the season mode is that it allows you to compete in a single season. It would have been much more realistic if developer Brain in a Jar would have used their brain to include more than one season. Perhaps playing a full career as a IndyCar driver. Your career could have been shortened if you were in a bad accident. Alas, this type of mode was not included...

For those of you who are not very skilled at higher difficulty levels within simulation titles, you may have a difficult time with IndyCar Series. On higher skill levels, if you crash, you will be disqualified and have to start your qualification for the race all over again. On the easier skill levels, this won't happen. But if you choose to race on the easier skill settings, there is a big difference. You will have unlimited fuel, no wear on your tires, no damage to your car, and no worries about managing any of this while in the race. This means that making a pit stop won't be necessary like in real life--or in the case of this review--like on the harder difficulty levels. Instead of taking away these simulation options on the easier difficulty levels, it would have been nice to have the player choose what they want in the game. This way, besides the game being overall easier, they would be able to gradually get used to monitoring their tires, fuel, and body damage.

On the higher difficulty levels, IndyCar series shines as one of the closest games to mirror the sport. However, this comes at a very high cost. Players will need to know about how to modify their car to get the best performance out of their vehicle for each race. They will also have to avoid crashing into walls or getting into wrecks. To help accomplish this, I highly recommend the use of a steering wheel--complete with an accelerator and foot brake setup. This will help you get the most out of the game.

Visually, the game looks good. However, the Xbox has a much higher frame right and the visuals are overall much cleaner. Still, there are some nice details in the PS2 version. For example, when qualifying, there will not be as many fans in the stands as there are on an actual race day. Besides the graphics, the audio is pretty bad. While the sound effects are just fine, the soundtrack is horrible. Unlike other soundtracks, like in the Gran Turismo series, the music doesn't come close to comparing in IndyCar Series.

If you are a fan of the IndyCar league, this is probably the game for you. However, for those of you who enjoy a deep racer with more of an arcade feel, it is probably best to look past this one. Only the most hardcore of fans need to bother with this one.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 07/20/03
ESRB Details: Mild Lyrics, Violence
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Screenshots for IndyCar Series

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