|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Torus Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 14, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda Kondolojy
It is great that there is now a game that explores the history of one of the United States' best-loved events. The Indianapolis 500 is a cornerstone of American entertainment and its rich history is a great thing to study because it involves some of the greatest drivers and rivalries in the history of racing. However, the interesting history of the Indianapolis does not really come through in this title. Sure, the game puts you in the shoes of history's most acclaimed drivers, and the inculcation of actual stock footage from the good ol' days will really delight those who have a genuine recollection or fondness for classic Indianapolis racing. But if you're looking for a really exhilarating racing experience that gives you more than just the facts about Indianapolis 500 history, then you might be a little disappointed by Indianapolis 500 Legends.
The gameplay is the major problem in this title, as it focuses way too much on just driving around in classic cars. This would be pretty cool if there were different tracks and the different vehicles drove differently, but the trouble is that it's all the same. You'll spend the bulk of the game driving on what feels like the same track in the same car. Of course, this problem wouldn't be such an issue if there was a variety of ways to play, but unfortunately, there are very few modes to this game. In fact there are only two: classic mode and mission mode.
Classic mode is essentially a quick play mode and has you choosing your car, driver, and track and then getting to it. You can also choose the number of laps you can race for, from a slim 10 to an insane 200. The real draw of this mode is probably the two-player capability that lets you and a friend race together against the thirty other A.I. racers.
But the real bulk of the game is played in mission mode, which essentially has you playing through ten years of Indianapolis history. Each year you'll play as a different driver and have up to three cars from that year to unlock and drive. You'll play through important historical races and have specific missions (such as getting through crashes or avoiding oil slicks) to perform. However, because of the simplicity of the cars and tracks, the missions are extremely easy and require almost no effort. The only really memorable or fun part of the races has to be the pit stops. During the pit stops you have to change your tires and fill up on gas. To do this, you'll play two mini-games where you'll have to unscrew the gas cap (or tire) and replace it using the Wii-mote. While this is not terribly inventive, it is a fun diversion from the monotonous racing that is the bulk of this game.
Part of this issue, however, is probably due to the over-simplified controls of the game. The game uses the Wii-mote only and has you turn it on its side. The main idea is pretty good and has you tilting the Wii-mote to steer. However the tilting motions that you make are very slight and don't feel real. You use the 2 button to accelerate, and you can perform a "slingshot" move with the B trigger. This is essentially an advanced racing move that uses the acceleration from the car in front of you to help you motor past it. And then that's it. The racing mechanic is extremely simplistic, and while that may have worked in a racing game a few generations ago, modern gamers have grown accustomed to a precise and nuanced style of racing. In addition to driving controls, there are also controls for the pit-stop mini-game. Essentially, however, all you're doing is point-and-click style movements for the different pit-stop tasks. So nothing terribly interesting here either.