Indianapolis 500 Legends By Destineer

Indianapolis 500 Legends is a video game that has been recently released for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems. The game features the decade of the 1960?s at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the backdrop to the racing action.

The 60?s were a time of change at the Speedway with the demise of the front-engine roadsters and the evolution of the open-wheel rocketships into the cars that we see racing today. Drivers that challenged the track during this timeframe included the legends of motorsports such as A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti, Jim Clark and more.

To jump in a get the feel of the game, the first time player will choose the Classic Mode. In this mode, the player can run 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 laps. The year and car can be chosen or the random choice will allow the game to select the ride. Damage can be turned on or off and there is also the option to qualify or start near the back of the pack. Two players can race each other in this mode as well.

The Mission Mode allows the player to accomplish scenarios starting in the year 1961 and running through 1971. In each year, the player runs three to four missions with three different cars. The missions range from making a pitstop to avoiding a multi-car crash to finishing in the top three while running the ten laps of the race. At the completion of a mission, the player either passes or fails the mission. If the mission is passed, a gold, silver or bronze medal is awarded based on how well the mission was accomplished and new missions, cars and years are unlocked.

The Slingshot maneuver allows a car to pull up behind another, catch the draft and ?slingshot? ahead to take over the position. In the game, the player will be able to see the draft as blue waves appear when the car is catching the air from the car ahead. When the waves turn from blue to pink, the car is ready to ?slingshot?.

Using the functionality of the Wii system, a new way to accomplish pitstops is now available. During a fuel stop, the player will spin the fuel cap off, remove the cap, put the fuel into the car and then replace the cap. To change a tire, the knock-off cap needs to be spun off and removed. Then the old tire is removed and a new one is put on. Finally, the knock-off cap needs to be spun back on.

Car handling dynamics – The team at Destineer really focused on the way that the cars drive around the track. Playing in the Mission mode, one can really experience the differences in the cars. From the thin tires to the wide tires and front engine to rear engine chassis, each vehicle has its own personality and making it through the turns requires a different driving style and skill.

Mission Mode ? The Mission mode proved to be the most enjoyable part of the game for our testers. Each mission takes only a short time to accomplish? or fail. Because of this, the mode became addicting as we kept pushing to unlock more missions, cars and years. The competition level was turned up as well with each of us trying for the gold medal, silver was not acceptable for us.

Game View ? Destineer also did a great job on the detail of the cars and the track. It is awesome to hit the track in the older roadsters and go wheel to wheel with the other competitors. Seeing the changes as the decade progresses is truly a plus in this game.

Settings ? One thing that I was looking for was the ability to change the view of the track for driving. The view is the classic shot from behind the car. An in-car view would be interesting to see. [Note: I missed the notation in the manual but I have been informed, there is a cockpit camera. To access it press the “Up” directional on the D-pad while racing.] Also, while I am not much for tweaking the chassis, I know a lot of players are and will be missing that aspect of the game.

Glitches ? There seemed to be a couple of issues during the Classic mode. At one point, I am sure that the announcer said the yellow flag was flying but there never was a caution period. The biggest issue though was keeping track of the position during the race. There were a number of runs that the position indicator stayed in the lower twenties even though I had passed more than half the field.

Not having played with the Wii system very often, I found the controller usage to be a new experience. Getting used to the Wii Remote was a bit of a challenge. The steering sensitivity worked better than other controllers that I had used in the past. I would rate it a small step down from an actual wheel. The throttle button proved to be more of an issue though. I couldn?t really find a comfortable way to hold the controller and use the button. It got a little better, but I?m not sure I could stand to run 200 laps.

The attention to history at the Indianapolis 500 makes this game a must have for true racing fans. Each year of the mission features classic video footage of that year?s Indy 500 race. Plus, the ability to see the changes to the cars as well as the track itself add to the experience of the ?Greatest Spectacle in Racing.?

The racing AI makes the game fun as well, although the divers back in the 60?s sure seem to be aggressive in the turns. The game play and especially the challenge of the Mission Mode will keep players coming back for more. I hope this game is the cornerstone for more racing games from Destineer.

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