Andretti Racing

Andretti Racing
Game Name: Andretti Racing
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): Press Start Inc.
Genre(s): Racing
Release Date: March 1997
Serial Number: T-5020H-50
Region: PAL

Andretti Racing Screenshot

EA Sports dumped some really quite poor conversions onto the Saturn, ported from the PlayStation code, time and again we knew that the Saturn was capable of so much more, if only EA could untap the machines potential, Andretti racing is one of those titles.

The Saturn version suffers with a shorter draw distance, more pop up and clipping than its PlayStation counterpart. In all honesty the game looks rough, yet I’m about to recommend it…

The Saturn has a number of racing games, mostly arcade ports, such as the incredible SEGA Rally, which all feature better handling characteristics than this, but no Saturn racing game offers the depth of Andretti Racing.
In game you play through a career mode, either Open Wheeled Indy Cars or NASCAR Stock cars, and in order to complete the game fully you need to master both series on a range of ovals and street circuits. The variety of the tracks is staggering and best of all the Stock Cars and Open Wheel cars handle very differently. This is in effect two games in one!

Andretti Racing Screen shot

There are a veritable cornucopia options in Andretti Racing, you are able change the length of races, play quick races, adjust the damage effects, change many handling features on the cars, include or exclude pit stops… the list goes on. It’s a motor sport fans heaven.

As you’d expect from EA, menus and cut scenes are slick, the game is presented almost as a television production which adds nicely to the atmosphere. If you’re a fan of American motor sport you’ll recognise many familiar faces and voices.

The game can be tricky to play initially as the controls are not always as responsive as you’d like, and sadly use of a wheel does little to help, but with practice you become accustomed to this and game can become a seriously immersing experience.

Problems? Yep, there are many. If too many cars crash on a section of track for example then the Saturn is unable to display them all on screen, so EA put in a strange giant car to block the track which looks daft and ugly. Opponent’s AI is very iffy too, particularly on ovals, but the sheer number of people your racing adds to the challenge, at least it does for a single player, nothing here for those looking for good multiplayer action.

One final issue is that the game takes an absurd amount of space to save, you need to own or purchase a memory cartridge to save this game, and there is little enjoyment to be had here if you don’t have room to save the career mode.

No this game isn’t perfect, and the PSX version sadly was considerably better, but for a petrol head it’s worth a spin, and it’s significantly better than its ‘sequel’ NASCAR ’98!

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