Indianapolis 500 Legends also comes with a more traditional "Classic Mode," which allows you customize a race to your liking. Not only can you set the game up for two players (no four-player support here), but you will also be able to choose the number of laps you want to play (all the way up to 200), whether or not you want to run a qualifying race and what year you want all of this to take place in. For some strange reason the developers have decided to lock all of the years out from the get-go, so you're going to have to go through that single player mission mode and unlock everything. While I'm sure there's a good reason to do this, it's sad that people just looking for a fun two-player game have to go through the single player experience to unlock the most crucial parts of the game.
Outside of the two main modes there's not much else to do. Beyond viewing your profile and changing the options, the only thing left for you to do is check out the Indianapolis 500 Museum. As you can guess from the name, the museum is a collection of photographs from the race's history. While this isn't the kind of thing I look for in a racing game, I'm sure there are plenty of Indianapolis 500 fans who love seeing this kind of nostalgic footage.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, the controls are kind of a mess. Basically you have two different options, one that involves you trying to play with the touch screen, and a traditional mode where you play with the D-pad and face buttons. While neither control scheme is perfect, there's definitely one that is a lot better than the other. The touch screen control scheme is a little awkward, it involves you using the screen to steer the car and the d-pad to accelerate or brake (assuming you're right handed). At first playing this way is a bit awkward, but after awhile you'll start to get the hang of it. But don't confuse getting the hang of it with it being a better alternative to the standard racing controls. It's definitely possible for somebody to play through Indianapolis 500 Legends using the touch screen, but I found using the D-pad just felt more comfortable and was more precise.
Besides the questionable controls, the game does have a few other problems that dog this otherwise entertaining racer. For one thing the graphics aren't very good, especially when compared to what we saw on the Wii. While I certainly understand that the Nintendo DS has its limitations, I didn't feel that the hardware lent itself well to this kind of game. In the Wii version it was interesting to watch the course change over the years, however in this game a lot of that nuance is completely lost. Thankfully it's not all bad news, it's worth noting that Indianapolis 500 Legends moves at a brisk pace and keeps the frames per second locked.
Another minor complaint is that this game doesn't offer download play. Given the niche audience this game is targeting it would have been nice for this game to allow me to play multiplayer with only one card. I was also disappointed that this game wasn't all that different from the slightly better Wii version. I suppose a lot of this translates well to the Nintendo DS, but it would have been nice to see a few added modes or something.
Indianapolis 500 Legends is not a bad racing game; it's an average racer that has a unique (but ultimately flawed) premise. It's hard to make a full game out of only one track, and Indianapolis 500 Legends proves that. While I definitely like some of the ideas that the developers put into the game, I found myself getting bored of the experience after a few short events.
With its poor controls, ugly graphics and limited track list, Indianapolis 500 Legends is not one of the better Nintendo DS racing games. Then again, it's not one of the worst. This game does a few things well, but none of it can save it from being just another average racing game with an interesting gimmick.
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!