If I had the licence to produce a film tie-in game starring Tom Cruise and some attractive girl, I would make sure that there were plenty of digitised pics showing both leading lights, I would also incorporate some of the plot and ingredients that made the film so memorable.
Faced with the problem of finding anything memorable in Days of Thunder, Mindscape has instead side-stepped the entire problem by simply producing a stock car racing game with solid 3D graphics. No picture of Tom Cruise with his manly jaw anywhere. Methinks this is a big lost opportunity here. Someone ought to tell the folks at Mindscape that if you proudly flag a game as being "the only official game of the film to give you all the excitement of the big screen", then you should deliver something more than a rather tepid and largely anonymous racing game.
There are five race tracks including Daytona - fast banked curves around a central lake, Atlanta - deep south, blistering temperatures and slave plantations, Phoenix - a one mile oval where speeds of over 200 mph are reached, Talladega - cost $4 million to build and there are apparently 20 million people living nearby, and Charlotte - seats 118.000 people and is a 31 year old racing track. Those are what you have to race around to bring home the stock car Championship.
On your first appearance at a track, you need to set a fast enough time to qualify, which is easier if there are more cars racing (but that makes the actual races themselves harder). Unfortunately, you are not told the time you need to achieve in order to qualify, but at the end of a lap that is too slow, you're told that you haven't qualified.
Still, after five laps, gradually getting faster and learning how to navigate the very strangle angled bends, you should be ready for the parade lap. Don't bother driving around yourself because if you get out of race order position, you're instantly disqualified. This lets you see reasonable pictures of a stock car, but it means you have to qualify all over again in the next race. Leave the controls alone and the computer will drive you around. And after that, you're off. You have five gears, accelerator and brake to worry about. Just getting round some of the corners takes some skill, never mind over
The graphics are solid 3D for the most part, and look like a pre-
Scrapes in the car are inevitable, so pulling into the pit-stop is often required during a race. As well as being repaired, you can also alter tyres to affect handling, change the steering response, and refuel.
So it all continues around the course until the required and number of laps have been completed. You are then either on your way to the Championship, or the dole office.
An amusing aside is that you can race against a friend on another machine via a null modem cable. Mindscape describes this as an unique feature!