Indianapolis 500 Legends Review
Wii | DS
Indianapolis 500 Legends box art
System: DS, Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Torus 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. 18, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
This game would have made a good book or documentary, but it doesn't make a good game

by Cole Smith

Once upon a time the Indianapolis 500 was arguably the most famous vehicle racing event in North America. But thanks to faster and more powerful vehicles, which include everything from monster trucks to NASCARs, the 500 isn't as omnipotent as it once was. And thanks to Indianapolis 500 Legends for the DS, what was once omnipotent is now virtually impotent - or at lease less important.

Indianapolis 500 Legends screenshot

Indianapolis 500 Legends for the DS attempts to recreate the heyday of the Indy 500. It focuses on the decade between '61 and '71, what some would call the golden era. Of course that's subjective, but you'll witness a lot of changes during this epoch. The track is updated to reflect how it looked during each year, starting with the Brickyard track in the first year, which was covered with asphalt the following year. You'll see the various changes to the stadium and sidelines, complete with the appropriate sponsors and advertisers of the era. The developers, Torus, really put a lot of effort into this game in terms of content and attention to detail.

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Fans will delight in the classic, and occasionally eccentric, open cockpit vehicles which are incredibly well detailed, down to authentic engine audio samples. In the early years you'll get to see a lot of experimental vehicles since there were virtually no "rules of the road." Vehicles varied in different engine sizes, rear or front wheel drive, and aerodynamic contours, with some employing turbines to maximize their speed. In later years you'll see the vehicles become more consistent in their design, both mechanically and esthetically.

Indianapolis 500 Legends screenshot

Top racers of each era are featured. There are more than 30 licensed vehicles and legends. Excuse the pun, but you'll also get a crash course in the history of the Indy as well as tons of unlockable memorabilia. But let's face it, this isn't a book or a documentary, this is a video game, and it's all about the gameplay. Sadly, under the hood, Indianapolis 500 Legends is just an average racer running over the same old track.

There is no shortage of variety in Indianapolis 500 Legends. As you might imagine, driving around a track 500 times can only hold so much appeal. You will have the option to choose the number of laps for each race. The DS is a portable gaming system so there's no reason to have to be locked into a marathon race while you're trying to kill ten minutes during a coffee break.

Indianapolis 500 Legends screenshot

To the developer's credit, they have included a plethora of missions and objectives that shift the focus from a long-term race to a series of immediate challenges. These objectives range from avoiding accident scenes to maintaining the lead position for a specific time. For completing these objectives you'll receive medals and various unlockables.

Each year features real-life racing legends such as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, and Dan Gurney. One thing I was impressed with is how the overall level of old-school class is portrayed in this game. You really get the feeling that all participants, as well as the spectators, have nothing but respect for the sport. It's a different time, and it shows. Considering there were so few rules, these guys played by a series of unwritten gentleman's rules that ensured good sportsmanship and the continued preservation of the event. It's easy to see why so many fans have remained faithful to the Indy for so many years.

Screenshots / Images
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