Narrow scope, but it delivers.
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Indianapolis 500 Legends, though very narrow in scope, delivers on giving you the classic Indy 500 experience. Some have knocked this game for only having one track, however, that is the whole premise. And it is done very well.
The game spans an 11 race period (1961 through 1971) of the famed race. This span of time, historically, saw the greatest period of innovation that American auto racing has ever seen. Cars began to have spoilers, front wings and even Parnelli Jones' turbine powered jet car (which is included in the game).
You really feel the differences as you progress through the years as well. Top speed in the 1961 cars is about 150-155, however that climbs to 185-190 mph by the end of the decade. The developers have done a great job in making you feel that change in speed.
The game can be played in 2 layers, classic and mission modes. Classic mode allows you to pick a year, number of laps and begin racing. Mission mode actually allows you to recreate and work through specific situations that happened in that year's race. Successfully completing these missions unlocks another year that you can race the 500.
Indianpolis 500 Legends strives for accuracy, and, in my opinion, gets it. There are even changes in the track from year to year. For instance, in 1961, the track's front straightaway was completely brick (The entire track was brick until 1936, hence the nickname, "The Brickyard"). However, in the 1962 race, the front stretch is asphalt with the 1-yard stretch of bricks that lines the start/finish line.
There are two drawbacks to the game. The first is that, while there are many legendary drivers in the game including A.J. Foyt, Jones and Mario Andretti, unless you are a student of the history of the races and the paintjobs, you won't know who you are racing with. There is no indicator that allows you to see precisely who you are racing, but hey, that does add to the realism.
Also, the game has only one track and so once you have completed the missions and raced the 500 for each of the 11 years, you're done. Therefore, the lifespan of the game is rather short.
Lastly, the controls are excellent and very intuitive. The cars of the early years are wide and stable and relatively easy to control, however as designs get more radical and speeds increase, it becomes a little tougher to keep it all together.
All in all, if you're a racing fan, and especially an open-wheel racing fan, this game will give you some solid enjoyment for hours.
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