And it is Go, Go, Go! (Copycat Racing Goes Underground)

This is ridiculous. In a span of eight days we have NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup (due Aug 31), Street Racing Syndicate (Aug 31), Burnout 3 (due Sep 7), and Juiced (due Sep 7). The NASCAR game makes sense – it is timed around the new playoff format, but what about Juiced and SRS? They are coming out so damn close to each other that they are sure to stunt to the other game, not to mention that Burnout 3 has more “buzz” behind it, plus the EA marketing arm (and $$$).

The second wave of racing games starts in October with TOCA Race Driver 2 (due Oct 5), which is a surprise release. I thought it was going to remain an Xbox exclusive. I have no idea how well the first title did, but the PSX TOCA titles never did that well. I do not have actual sales data to back up that claim, but I just do not remember any of those titles being chart toppers, despite being solid racing games. TOCA 2 and 3 were way ahead of their time, complete with great racing AI and visible damage.

November will see the release of the heavy hitters – Gran Turismo 4 (due Nov 14), Need For Speed Underground 2 (Nov 15), and Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (Nov 23). I have preorderd GT4 and NFS:U2, but I have no interest in Midnight Club 3, which is going to be completely lost in the wake of the other two games.

What is the deal with all the copycat underground games? Yes, I know NFS:Underground was late to the party, but EA does this type of game so well that I do not see SRS, Juiced, and Midnight Club 3 standing a chance. Oh well, I have a feeling that 2005 will be a great year for bargain bin racing.

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