IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005

IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005

Russell Garbutt

On paper, it all sounds so perfect: IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005, the latest sequel in Bethesda’s motorsports sim, would sport a brand new game-engine accurately simulating the sensation of plowing a 6,000-horsepower dragster down an asphalt runway. But all this ado over reinventing the wheel for this year’s IHRA offering only serves to exacerbate the fact that the game is every bit as dull and pointless as last year’s IHRA Drag Racing 2004. Even for fans of the genre.

The graphical improvements included for this year’s trip off the strip are minor and random. Although the details on tracks and cars are improved, the graphics have gone from “zzzz” to merely “meh.” Racing 2005 suffers from a “hardcore only” appeal that will be of interest only to those who are focused on the reality end of this already niche sport or those who enjoy immersing themselves in minutiae. If the idea of being able to choose from 100 available parts with which to tweak your dragster sounds appealing, Racing 2005 may be your game. But be warned—your hard-won races only come after wading through endless customization options and are rewarded with fanfare equivalent to blowing a roll-open noisemaker at a fifth-grader’s birthday party.

The real problem with Racing 2005 is that, from a design level, the game makes little effort to make the sport of drag racing fun as interactive entertainment. Like its real-life counterpart, the events here are over almost as soon as they begin, which, in essence, doesn’t make for very compelling nor satisfying action. Even the few audio improvements over last year’s version lack impact, as they usually take a backseat to the repetitive fuzz-pedal whining of the music. Best to roll up to the starting line and blast away from this title at the highest speed possible.

PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks // DEVELOPER: Bethesda Softworks // PLAYERS: 1-2 // LIVE: No // MSRP: $19.99 // ESRB: E

03 Out of ten

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.