Hands-on: Days of Thunder (XBLA/PSN)


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Paramount Digital Entertainment and Piranha Games are bringing Days of Thunder to the Xbox 360 and PS3 this summer and it has a major actor attached. It's not Tom Cruise, Cary Elwes, Robert Duval, Randy Quaid or even John C. Reilly from the film of the same name, though. Nope, it's Michael Rooker? "Who?," you might be asking? Remember the guy who got stinkpalmed in Mallrats? Yes, that's him. Rowdy Burns himself. He'll play your crew chief in this downloadable title, until he gets back in a race car and challenges you on the track.

Days of Thunder plays like an extremely scaled down version of EA's NASCAR series, meaning you hold down the accelerator and rarely use the brake. You can draft other cars to "Drop the Hammer" and slingshot around them and spend points on one of four categories to improve the three different car types.

Update:
Paramount has contacted us and asked us to remove the gameplay video, because more impressive material is in the works! Does that sound believable? And will NASCAR throw their weight behind this game? It was announced at an official NASCAR event, and the movie is NASCAR themed to the gills, but who knows. That license isn't EA exclusive anymore.

Check out screenshots and photos from the first-look event below, then read more details after the break.
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%Gallery-84447% The game's physics work surprisingly well, and, yes, there are spectacular car crashes. A.I. drivers will retain a bit of memory, so if you slam into them, they'll come hunting for you. Paramount hasn't announced pricing or the number of tracks yet, but the game will support up to 12 other live racers plus four different race modes (Quick Race, Time Trial, Career Mode and Derby Mode). Pit stops consist of button mashing to fill up your tank, reduce your damage, fill up your Hammer meter or all three.

The only real strategy we found comes in negotiating turns and trying to draft other racers. There's a boatload of paint customization, but you won't be in a garage tinkering with your suspension and tire types in this game. It does support Sixaxis controls; no word on racing wheels yet. Maybe gamers are looking for a simple racer to drop into, and this could fill that niche. We won't know until the game is more fleshed out and the multiplayer is working (we only played single-player), but it might keep us occupied until Forrest Gump: The Running Game comes out.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.