Do you feel the need for speed? Then you're in the wrong movie, pal, because the new Days of Thunder game coming from Paramount and Piranha is all about the race cars, not the Tomcats.
Seriously, get it straight. The "need for speed" line is from Top Gun, the 1986 film in which Tom Cruise played Maverick, the macho-yet-sensitive fighter pilot who's forced to conquer his fears on the way to becoming the hottest jet jockey the U.S. Navy has ever seen. In Days of Thunder, which came out in 1990, Cruise played Cole Trickle, the macho-yet-sensitive race car driver who's forced to conquer his fears on the way to becoming the hottest wheel-man NASCAR has ever seen. Got that?
Anyway, for some reason Paramount Digital Entertainment and Piranha Games have decided that this would be a good time to put out a new game based on the old cheese-fest and thus we have Days of Thunder, a "multiplayer arcade title" that will support online racing action for up to 12 players as well as four single-player modes: Quick Race, Time Trial, Career Mode and an unlockable Derby Mode in which the name of the game is to trash every other car on the track.
But who are we kidding? This is a multiplayer game based on Days of Thunder, a movie that had about as much to do with real racing as Moonraker had to do with space exploration. Every game mode is going to be about demolishing every other car you see and that's why I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this game - that's right, Days of Thunder - may just be the first movie-based videogame that doesn't suck.
Think about it for a minute. Realistic driving physics, weather effects and an endless array of adjustable car settings are great for die-hard racing nerds, but what would you rather do: Try to cut an extra two-tenths of a second off your lap time by adjusting your outer tire pressure, or go out there and smash into things? A Days of Thunder game is a racing game by default, but that doesn't mean there has to be a lot of racing involved.
Some car customization options will be available and the game will feature stuff like damage meters, pit stop mini-games, Trophies and Achievements, AI designed to emulate characters like Cole Trickle, Rowdy Burns and Russ Wheeler, and more. Early screenshots aren't so hot, but Piranha does have some experience with racing games, having released Need For Speed Undercover on the PSP, so I remain hopeful. Days of Thunder is currently scheduled for release this summer for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac.
And remember: You can't outrun the thunder!