Jarrett & Labonte Stock Car Racing Preview

Jarrett & Labonte Stock Car Racing is based on Codemasters' popular TOCA racing series.

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Jarret & Labonte Stock Car Racing is based on Codemasters' popular TOCA racing series. While not an official NASCAR racing title, the game is a realistic stock car road-racing game, which is endorsed by up-and-coming drivers such as Justin Labonte, Jason Jarret, Lyndon Amick, and Hank Parker Jr. These drivers have been selected to be the game's spokespersons, and they are consulting with the development team working on the game.

In terms of features, the game offers 42 cars, including models from well-known manufacturers such as Audi, Dodge, BMW, Alfa Romeo, and Chrysler. In addition, the game will feature 23 real-world tracks - such as Laguna Seca, Hockenheim, and Bathurst - spanning over five continents. The tracks have been painstakingly re-created using various methods - from countless photos and tons of video to helicopters and laser scans of each track - to ensure that each track in the game is as accurate as possible.

The game plays quite realistically, thanks to an accurate physics model and tight controls. The cars all react quite faithfully to collisions, turns, and even damage when you're playing the game. If you slam the front end of your car into a wall or an unfortunate opponent, your bumper is likely to fall off. If it's a serious collision, you may cause an engine fire. The damage your car takes affects how it handles, and since Codemasters is using what it calls a "dynamic polygonal deformation damage system," the part of the car that gets hit will show the appropriate amount of damage.

Even in its current state, Jarret & Labonte Stock Car Racing is quite visually impressive, and the car models are very detailed. Playing the game from the cockpit view lets you see everything you'd see inside of a real stock car, including a working instrument panel. The camera views as a whole, in and outside of the car, let you see everything. The game even features a Matrix-style 360-degree freeze-frame camera effect that highlights exciting moments, such as collisions during the game's replay of a race. Little extras, such as hot air balloons in the sky and other small but interesting elements that draw the eye, can be found around the track when you're racing.

In the audio department, Jarret & Labonte Stock Car Racing is packed with all sorts of goodies. The soundtrack to the game includes music by the Offspring, Methods of Mayhem, Radiator, Lit, and Moby. Ned Jarret provides the commentary for the game, which is a great addition since he's been doing it for the real sport for over 30 years now.

So while we have to wait and see how the final game comes together, it's fair to say that fans of Codemasters' previous racing games will be more than happy with Jarret & Labonte Stock Car Racing.

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