GAME STUDIO DESCRIPTION: The action spills off the track in NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup as players fight to the top to become a NASCAR star. Progress through 4 different racing series in a groundbreaking story mode. Strive for stardom by facing competition and adversity from city streets to open wheel modifieds, trucks, and the NASCAR Series before getting the chance to pursue the million dollar purses in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Rattle rivals with the all-new Intimidator Button. Push them too far and you might find yourself in post-race confrontation-which can be settled on the track or by racing America’s top production cars on city streets. Fans react to the drama, idolizing their heroes and villains after every move. Owners and sponsors recognize talent and reward success. It’s up to you to prove yourself on and off the track.
GRAPHICS: The graphics are on the mark. The car models are done well—the logos and everything are all there. It’s in the detail. When you bump a car or touch the wall there is damage that is calculable to the amount of impact. The race tracks are detailed right down to the jumbotron.
PLAY: EA has upped the ante with Chase for the Cup. They’ve got most of the tracks (25), drivers (130), cars, etc. and so much more. The 2005 version brings a fantastic season mode where you can start from the beginning of the season or skip ahead. An interesting addition is head-to-head. Here you get challenged by another driver to a street race. You get a handful of street cars to choose from; Mustang GT, Ford SVT F-150, and more.
“Fight to the Top” allows you to be a team owner. It’s similar to the franchise mode in games like Madden. You start out small and work your way up. There is more fun than racing alone. You handle sponsorships, team colors, pit crew, and more. “Fight to the Top” includes some interesting features which allow you to decide if you want to be a hero or villain. Brilliant addition—you can be the intimidator.
Game play is top notch. The drafting and rivalries make for a well rounded experience. The AI makes for competitive races each and every time. Teammates pinch you in and keep you back and on occasion you suck it up and take a huge risk by taking the outside.
SOUND: The sounds of the race are realistic and its important that you hear your pit crew and understand what they are say. EA implemented this well—but don’t be surprised if they throw an insult your way.
FRANKLY: NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup isn’t for NASCAR fans alone. If you love racing there is something for everyone. Between the rivalries, AI, and “Fight to the Top” mode there is enough here to last you well into the spring.
+ Richie Wright