NASCAR 2000 re-creates the sport of NASCAR racing more accurately than any game ever has. Sure, NASCAR 99 did an amazing job of re-creating the sport, but with new options and features like interactive pit stops, a draft meter, and hi-res graphics, NASCAR 2000 is truly a much better game for die-hard NASCAR fans and casual fans alike.
You can play as one of 33 real-life NASCAR drivers, including Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon. Included in the lineup are a handful of racing rookies and legends, like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart. A new create-a-driver option has also been added.
The drivers still have their actual cars, and you can tweak them in tons of different categories. These adjustments change the car's performance in various categories, like top speed and acceleration. You have control over everything, from individual tire pressures, to gear ratios, to the angle of your rear spoiler. There are tons of stuff to mess with, and if you have the game on a higher difficulty setting, these car tweaks can mean the difference between winning and losing. The beginner setting, however, is quite forgiving, which is great for the casual NASCAR fan who just wants to race. You can race on 18 real NASCAR venues that accurately re-creates each turn and straightaway with amazing accuracy. Plus, five road course have been added this year to make the game a bit more fun.
Graphically, NASCAR 2000 is a whole lot better than the previous game. The paint jobs look very authentic, as do the tracks and backgrounds. The game still has neat visual effects like paint smudges on walls, tire marks on the track, and nice lighting effects in the night races.The sound effects and music in NASCAR 2000 more than get the job done. The sound effects of the engines and cars scraping against the wall and each other are all very realistic. Your pit crew gives you instructions and advice over the radio while announcers call the action on the track.
Playing NASCAR 2000 is really quite addicting, even if you're not a huge follower of NASCAR. With every race you see your season point totals rise and your cash earnings grow. The records in the game show who has finished first more times than anyone in a season and who has finished in the top five the most. What's more, it gives you hard, yet attainable goals that you can conquer with a little determination and a whole lot of focus.
The control is great - it's super responsive with the analog stick. The addition of the draft meter really makes playing the game a whole lot more fun. It lets you know when you're holding a line right behind the car in front of you and benefiting from the draft effect. The meter makes battling for every position more of a science, instead of just an exercise in holding a line and hoping to catch up. The rearview mirror toggles on and off, so you can flip it on from time to time to check for cars that might be coming up from behind.
In the end, NASCAR 2000 is a better version of last year's title with more than enough new options and features to warrant a purchase by anyone who already owns NASCAR 99. If you're a fan of NASCAR and want the best NASCAR game for the N64, this is the one to get. However, if you are simply a racing-game fan who's looking for a new game, keep in mind that NASCAR 2000, while definitely one of the best NASCAR simulations ever, is still all about driving in circles until your eyes bleed.