Take 2 Interactive – Leadfoot Stadium Off-road Racing review

trucks, bigger trucks and really big trucks
Photo of Take 2 Interactive – Leadfoot Stadium Off-road Racing
£19.99

The world of off-road stadium racing is the subject matter for this particular racing game – and we’re not talking about zooming into Old Trafford or Wembley for a speedy spin. No, this is the fast-paced world of off-road buggy and pick-up truck racing.

Leadfoot offers a number of options to the would be off-roader. There’s a quick race mode, a full season and multi-player options. The quick race does exactly what it says on the box, while the season (or career) mode is the heart of the single player action.

In this you begin your career in the amateur leagues, racing little dune buggy style off-road vehicles with a meagre pool of money and no sponsorship. The idea, as usual, is to win races to make more cash, gain notoriety and better sponsors, and eventually upgrade your car with all manner of extras. Or buy a new, faster, souped-up model. Success will take the enterprising driver into the big leagues where the huge pick-ups are raced, and the wearing of a checked lumberjack shirt and baseball cap is compulsory.

Each race is run very seriously. You practice the track before moving on to qualifying, which determines your start position in the race. While practicing you can adjust all sorts of setup details for your vehicle, including the suspension, clutch weighting, gear ratio, tyre grooving and so forth. Trash your pride and joy and there’ll be repairs to fork out for too…

Leadfoot plays quite realistically, though it’s a bit slide-happy and cornering becomes a test of steer and counter-steer. Rather like Sega Rally in the arcades, you feel a bit like you’re driving on ice. It’s actually very difficult to compete initially even on the amateur skill level, and ‘pro’ is incredibly tough. This isn’t a game for lightweight racers.

Probably the most obvious rival for this game is Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness 2 and Leadfoot compares reasonably well to this heavyweight competition. It’s not quite as sharp graphically, neither are the tracks as interesting – they are all relatively bland stadium affairs as opposed to MM2′s roller-coasters through varied scenery. Leadfoot certainly has the edge in the realism stakes, though, and it’s less of an arcade game and more a sim. Although it hardly has the complexity of, say, Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix games.

Company: Take 2 Interactive


Verdict
Leadfoot is a reasonable crack at an off-road racing game. It pulls a decent line in realism and has a well-implemented career mode, although the gameplay balance is rather on the tough side. Controlling slides and maintaining traction is quite tough even on the amateur level and it can be frustrating at times, but off-roaders who like a challenge will be in their element.