Indianapolis 500 Legends - hands-on

Oct 24, 2007

It turns out that from 1961-71 there were no guns, turtle shells or otherwise attached to any racecars in the Indy 500, at least if the historically accurate Wii and DSgame Indianapolis 500 Legends is to be trusted. We weren't about to let a sub-standard arsenal keep us from having a good time, so we focused on the one thing Indy 500 is really about: driving a car.

The game takes you through ten years of the Indy 500 with historical drivers, cars, track conditions and everything. You can see how the track changed from year to year and listen to the sound of your car's engine, which will sound like the real thing.They dragged out these fifty-year-old hunks of metal from some museum to record their engines for the game.

For the Wii version, the cars are controlled by balancing the Wii Remote horizontally in your hand and turning to go left or right. The DS uses the stylus to virtually turn a steering wheel in the bottom screen. You hold down a button to go and another one to back up. It's an uncomplicated control scheme for a game that runs on simplicity and purity - pure like premium gasoline.

That's about all there is to it. There are movies to watch for each year of the game, so you don't have to worry about catching up on your Indy 500 history. If you pull into a pit stop there are a series of mini-games to play to get your car in working order. We accidentally lit our car on fire because the handling was a bit tricky, but we imagine things will get smoothed out in time for the release. And you can even attempt historically based challenges, like navigating a dangerous pile-up or a daring come from behind win. Then you cansee if you're as good as your favorite racecar driver from the 60s.