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North American PlayStation cover art
|Series||EA Sports NASCAR series|
|Mode(s)||Single Player, multiplayer|
NASCAR '98 is a racing simulator video game developed by Stormfront Studios, published by EA Sports, and released in 1997 for the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation. This was the first game in the EA Sports NASCAR series.
The original (non-collector's edition) version includes 24 NASCAR cars and drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, John Andretti, and Terry Labonte; 10 official NASCAR tracks, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and the then Sears Point International Speedway, the short track at Suzuka Japan, and six fantasy circuits; and in-depth car setups. One player can race with all 24 cars or two players can race with 8 cars on the track. There are single-race and Championship Season game modes, and gameplay settings allow the player to race with varying levels of race length, AI difficulty, and realism, among other settings. The AI doesn't pit during long races.
NASCAR '98 includes an instant replay feature, allowing the user to view the race back until about 30 seconds before the action was paused. It can be watched from any of several angles. Non-user cars cannot be focused on in instant replays.
Damage, wrecks, and cautions
NASCAR '98 has a limited damage system. Portions of the car appear to dent inward after contact, but otherwise nothing changes graphically. A hard enough impact might result in a mechanical failure, or a tire in the region hit hardest might come loose from the car. AI cars stop immediately after contact, while user cars stop accelerating until they slow to a near stop or make contact with a wall or other car. Non-contact random damage consists of an engine failure, in which white smoke pours out from behind the AI car, which slows down and pull to the inside of the track, heading for the pit lane. User cars cannot blow an engine.
Cars can flip, but only after contact with another car and then only rear over front. A car is taken out of the race shortly after a flip in the same way it would after a lost tire.
A caution flag appears after an AI car is taken out of the race. A blue tow truck appears in front of the broken car, and the field gathers into a line just long enough for all the cars to line up. Pitting under caution is not an option, and most cautions do not last a whole lap except at Bristol.
In the main menu, there is an option to view a small profile about each driver, featuring a small picture of the driver, a small rotating version of their car, a short biography, and that user's stats for racing with that driver.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of NASCAR, a collector's edition for PlayStation with a new cover featuring a black and white picture of one of Richard Petty's 3rd generation (1971–1974) Dodge Chargers racing modern 1998 cars of the day was released. Additions to the game included 'King of NASCAR' Richard Petty in his trademark No. 43 car and Darlington Raceway, the original super speedway. The game came with a NASCAR 50th anniversary key chain as well.
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