Racing is not a sport, it's an art. The road is the canvas and the car is
the paintbrush. A well-raced lap is a thing of beauty. It takes many years
to become proficient at this craft. Many people long to capture the
checkered flag, but only a handful will succeed. The determination and
drive of the racers sometimes leads to spectacular crashes, but they also
lead to Victory Lane. Are you prepared to meet your destiny?
Newman/Haas Racing is yet another CART style open-wheeled racing game which
challenges you to race low to the ground and high in the rankings.
Psygnosis, the creator of the highly-touted Formula 1 game, has come out
with another game to whet the appetites of race fans. How does Newman/Haas
stack up? The answer is not very well.
Let's start with the graphics. From the outset, I had high hopes for the visual presentation. However,
after I peeled out from the starting line, things began to fall apart. The
cars would break up and sometimes parts would seem to jump out of the shape
of the car. When I careened into a wall head-on, a
part of my front wing would fly off, but then magically reappear on the car
after I drove off. The real damage comes after several trips into the walls
and barriers. Then your car starts to break down big time, with sparks and
smoke coming out of your engine. At this point you can't shift past third
gear and are reduced to plodding around the track at less than 100 mph. The
tracks are realistic to a tee from the scenery past the track to the
pit and its crew. However, the horizon is difficult to discern. Even
using the widest angle outside view, it is hard to see the sharp turns
coming up. This doesn't pose a problem except on the especially curvy and
winding city street tracks. I had to rely heavily on the map to anticipate
The sound in this game is just as good if not better than Formula 1
and Cart World Series. Even though commentators Danny Sullivan and Bobby
Varsha don't go into histrionics like the "Look at this!!, Look at this!!"
commentator from Formula 1, they still do give the race order and make
little comments appropriately placed during the race. Also, they are not
above letting you know that the race "got off to a good start, but I think
we've seen the best of it" if your driving becomes sucky after a while. The
sounds are realistic because they were recorded from the Newman/Haas racing
team, although the crashes tend to sound more like dead bodies dropping than
metal on concrete.
The racing itself matches up to Formula 1.
The cars are not too hard to handle and they don't drift like they tend to
do in the other game. In fact, they drive more like Nascar machines rather
than Indy machines. The driver and the tracks are authentic and have
individual personalities and racing styles, as is the norm. These include
such big time names as Jimmy Vasser, Scott Pruett and the Newman/Haas
winning tandem of Christian Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti. No matter what
skill level you are, this game will not be hard to play because it is easy
to recover from crashes and you can always wimp out and drive automatic with
The split screen racing in this game is excellent, allowing a fairly wide view from the
outside and a pretty complete view from the cockpit. There are also a lot
of adjustments that can be made to your car to tweak it and custom tailor it
for the particular track you are racing. Actually, there are so many
different ways to set up your car I just give up and run it on the default,
which works fine for me. I am not a big fan of tweaking because I lack
expert mechanical skills, but it's nice to know that the option is there.
Two things about the game especially bothered me. If you make any contact
with the wall, you are automatically shifted down into first gear. This
means you have to run through all your gears and can mess up your pace,
especially if you are about to run through some chicanes. Also, if you make
contact with another car and are using one of the outside views, the camera
pans back for a second and then returns to normal. Not a big problem, but
slightly annoying at times. I did like the fact that there was a turbo
gauge, which you could use to give you that extra kick when hitting a long
Once you get past the graphical glitches, Newman/Haas is a pretty fun game
to play. The driving experience is realistic and exciting. The
commentators are lively and engaging. The peelouts, crashes, and "rubbing"
make for a complete driving experience. However, when all is said and done,
Newman/Haas is just not as good as F1. Play it for a different flavor and then go
back to Formula 1.