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Newman-Haas Racing (PSX) Review

Background Info

From the makers of such games as Formula 1 and Wipeout, comes another racing game: Newman-Haas Racing.

Presentation/Graphics : 85
Newman-Haas graphics are done well, with minimal popup. The cars are all accurate models (I guess there is only one), with the appropriate paint job for the driver. You have the option of 5 camera angles in single player, and 3 in multi-player to offer you the best camera angle for your driving style. I know I like to be right on the track, while some of my friends prefer the "above the car" view more. Tracks are done nicely, with tires lining the walls, and fences to protect the fans. The crowds are basically flat textures, but you won't notice when whipping along at 250 mph. While racing, you'll have a nice selection of indicators to check: speed, position, a map and more. Although there are lots of indicators, they are strategically placed so as not to interfere with your view of the track. One real neat thing is when I smoked my car into a corner, and the nosecone came flying off!

Presentation/Audio : 75
The audio in this game is really a mixed bag. What I can commend Bizarre for is the great Dolby surround. When cars go tearing past you, it's really a trip. It sounds amazing! Although the generic car engine noises are great, the audio falters almost everywhere else. The commentating, when not inappropriate, is totally annoying. There is a limited amount of voice samples, so you're sure to hear many multiple times in even a three lap race. When cars collide, it sounds like someone trying to duplicate crashing noises yelling into a microphone. Once you get past the Dolby, the audio falls flat on its face.

Interface/Options : 90
The interface in Newman-Haas is done quite well. It's easy to navigate, and the graphics are all sharp and clear. The main menu is a spinning circle from which you pick car setup, driver, track, gameplay style and more. The game features the top 16 drivers and 15 tracks, why Psygnosis didn't go for the whole Indy license is beyond me, it's something that really could've helped this title over the top. Oh yeah, and tons of options as I mention in the next paragraph.

Gameplay : 88
Newman-Haas runs off the F1 engine so if you've played that, you pretty much know what you're getting. Car physics are accurate in Newman-Haas; my only complaint is the collisions between them. When two cars collide, they sort of bounce off each other, but not accurately like you would see when watching your favorite race on TV. It's almost like the cars are bumper cars. Pygnosis claims that Newman-Haas' drivers each handle differently, but if they do, it's minimally. Unless you are a hardcore fan, you probably won't notice. You can tweak your car in many different ways including: Transmission type, fuel load, tire wear, tire pressure, gear ratio turbo, springs, steering assist, brake assist, front downforce, and rear downforce. Although I didn't spend much time with it, there is enough here to occupy a sim-fan for a long time. The digital control is what you'd expect, but plug in that analog, and you're in for a treat. The analog controller is extremely accurate, utilizing the left pad for steering, and the right pad for acceleration/brake. This right pad setup is a real nice feature, that I would like to see in more racing games, as it really gives you a feeling of control.

The gameplay breaks down into three modes: single race, championship, and challenge. You best familiarize yourself with the controls and the physics during single races before you try your hand at championship mode if you want any success at all.

Difficulty: 90
In rookie mode, while racing automatic, you should be able to place in the top 3 your first time round if you pick Mario Andretti speedway. But as you move up, and race a stick, the game gets significantly harder.

Overall : 85
I found Newman-Haas to be an enjoyable experience. The graphics were nice, and the gameplay was fun and simple, but deep, so the sim-fan has a lot to dig into. What let me down was I felt this game with just a little more work and polishing could've been great. In a nutshell : A fun game, nice graphics, good control, a mixed bag of sound, and enough options to satisfy the die hard fan.

By: Andrew Carty 7/19/98

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