Ford Mustang Racing

Ford Mustang-only racing? A game too far?

Making Ford Mustang-only game may seem like taking the Ford Racing series a little too far (what's next, 1980 Ford Cortina MkV Racing?), but although it could be a little too specific for some tastes, what lies under the bonnet isn't too shabby at all considering the price - proof that budget games don't have to mean budget thrills. Much of Mustang takes heavy cues from the likes of Burnout, in that points are rewarded for near-misses, powerslides, and 'phat air', but it also finds itself burdened with a kind of Need For Speed Underground syndrome - too much gloss and not enough horsepower.


The Career modes are fine and dandy, though, encompassing the major cities of America, and arcade modes such as Elimination and Slalom add a depth to the game that would otherwise be sorely lacking thanks to the limited car variety. Still, there are plenty of motors to be unlocked, many of which will only become accessible after at least a good ten or 15 hours play. But it's a shame so few areas of the USA are used in the game, given that you're expected to put in those kind of hours. As cool as haring it around Chicago and New York may be, we'd have perhaps liked to have seen some Wild West action, or maybe something in the frozen wastes of Alaska. Cities at dusk may be enough to keep us enthralled for a while, but that's all you get, and it soon becomes repetitive.

Despite the variety (or shall we say, lack of), the cars all handle sweetly, throwing up sparks when hit, or burning serious rubber when on a roll, and the sound and throttle behind these classic American cars only complements the weighty feel of driving one. We preferred the third-person perspective when driving though, because the firstperson mode is set a little too close to the ground, making the judgement of corners and obstacles something close to guesswork. We wouldn't mind so much if the damage was realistic but, like so many licensed games with official vehicles in them, no matter how hard you drive it, you can't so much as dent a fender. We'll just have to chalk that one up to American craftsmanship.

Mustangs may not be to everyone's taste (sneering motor expert Jeremy Clarkson reckons they handle like buckets), but what they lack in the thrills department they make up for in sheer guts. It's all perfectly meaty, well-constructed stuff, and there's little you can fault, other than the fact the subject matter isn't particularly engaging. If you want a no-frills, workaday driving game then perhaps this will do the job, and if you're a massive fan of the Ford Mustang then you're in for a treat. But if you're expecting more, even with the Burnout flourishes you might be put off.

The verdict

A decent, well-crafted racer with an obviously limited content. Could have a cult appeal to some, though.

Racing / Driving