Round and round an oval, just turning left - doesn't sound very exciting does it? But then you need to consider the fact that it's all done at speeds of over 200mph and often at little more than a few inches away from either another car or the concrete wall which rings the track. So can Codemaster's IndyCar Series 2005 recreate this edge-of-seat action which makes the sport so enticing?


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This is full on simulation style driving though, and none of your short 5 minute races - here you've got full length intense races going in to the tens of laps and even the ability to take part in the mind-nummingly long Indy 500 - if that doesn't provide you enough racing for one evening's worth of Xbox Live, then you should seriously consider being a real racing driver.

One thing you will soon realise though from being in the seat of your car as it speeds around the banked curves at over 200mph is that you don't really seem to be doing anything more than hitting the accelerator and tapping the direction pad left as you turn in to the corners. It's almost impossible to turn your car around the wrong way, even when you specifically try and doughnut it.


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This might help with making sure everyone gets on with the deed of racing around the tracks in the right direction, but seeing as the simulation aspect is so strong in the game, it's just a shame that the handling physics of the cars themselves seems a little too-unrealistic and simplified.

Unfortunately IndyCar Series also falls short when it comes to graphics, and it doesn't quite hit the same mark as Codemasters' recently released ToCA Race Driver 2 - it seems to have something lacking, although it's hard to pinpoint exactly what doesn't feel quite right. There's also a slight annoyance with the way the texture draws on the track in the distance, which is slightly off-putting, but this may well be an issue which has been fixed since our review code version.


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As you'd expect from a Codemasters title, the presentation is generally very good, but just as with the previous IndyCar title it's simply not got the level of pizazz and buzz that we feel IndyCar races have - obviously the dimension of scent isn't possible with games just yet, but we really want IndyCar Series to be so near to realism that you can almost fool yourself in to thinking you can smell the tyre smoke, and smell onions drifting across the track from the hotdog stands in the spectator areas.

It'd also help if the ABC sports presenters would give more than just a pre-race introduction, and actually highlighted key points during the races as they would on TV. Despite these annoyances with the feel of the game, the actual racing is highly enjoyable, especially when played online via Xbox Live where you can take part in decent length races with 12 players going head to head on the grid, and if you're not lucky even making it around without getting shunted in to the hard concrete walls that ring the circuit.


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If the racing felt like you were doing a little more than just putting pedal to the metal and tapping the direction to turn in to the banked corners, then IndyCar Series 2005 would be a must-have racing title. Sadly though it falls short in a few areas, and fans of racing games will almost certainly find that ToCA Race Driver 2 is a more fulfilling title.

Overall score: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Codemasters
Recommended Price: 39.99
Available: Now
Buy IndyCar Series 2005 for the Xbox from Amazon