Drag racing that's really intense
September 1, 1999
(IDG) -- Bethesda's Intense Import Drag Racing targets two groups: fans of drag racing and gamers who are curious about it.
The former will find it an rewarding experience -- notably for an array of options that allow you to tinker with your car, changing things like camshaft types, configuration, and timing, lifters and compression ratios. The goal is to shave a few tenths of a second off your times, and you can spend hours in the garage searching for the optimal configurations.
And for the latter, IIDR is an excellent introduction to the terms and surprising complexity of drag racing.
Gameplay consists of four basic areas: reconfiguring and tweaking your car (which can be ignored in favor of a simpler racing model); "quick races" that take place on one of 20 different tracks; event racing (a series of races at a single event); and a season mode which pits you against opponents in a series of events.
The racing itself is more complex than you would expect. It's more than just hitting the accelerator at the right moment. You have to go through a burnout stage to heat your tires properly, and then you can inch forward as the race is about to start (deep staging) or stay back and hope for a better elapsed time since the staging beam won't be triggered until you move. It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.
Graphically, the 3D-accelerated graphics are a bit blocky and uninspiring but serviceable. The sound also doesn't do much to generate excitement. You get the expected engine revs, peelouts and squeals you'd expect, but they could have been lifted from any racing coin-op game that has appeared in the last 10 years.
Intense Import Drag Racing also supports mutiplayer games over null modem, modem, IPX, or TCP/IP. It's a solid title for those interested in this genre, but it won't attract non-racing fans because the racing action is pretty slender in 10-second strips. The meat of this simulation is found in preparing for the races, which is something that non-racing fans won't find interesting.
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