Nascar Thunder 2004 for Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)
NASCAR Thunder returns to PlayStation 2 with all 23 authentic Winston Cup venues and 11 new fantasy tracks. The Career mode features a redesigned interface as players strive to develop relationships with sponsors, crews, and research teams during a span of 20 years. Aggressive drivers will no longer be tolerated in the game, with computer opponents aiming for retaliation if players cut them off or brush against them during the heat of the race. The consequences of wrecks are also more apparent in this version, as errant cars flip, ricochet, and bounce back into the field of play before bursting into flames.
Returning game modes include the NASCAR Thunder Speed Zone, where players practice their technique in a series of mini-games testing skills such as passing, drafting, holding, and more. Also available is the Lightning Challenge hosted by Michael Waltrip, which features a new lineup of 40 challenges taken from the 2002 season with authentic radio calls of each race as recorded by the Motor Racing Network. Thunder License features video tips from various NASCAR professionals on how to approach each of the 23 real-life tracks featured in the game.
To increase replay value, the developers once again included more than 100 collectible Thunder Plates, which allow players to unlock special bonuses by winning events and completing challenges. These bonuses include hidden drivers, tracks, paint schemes, and video footage. A total of 60 events are available to race through in the game, including night races, all-star events, and more as players compete amidst a full field of 43 vehicles vying for a first-place finish. Exclusive to the PlayStation 2 console version is the ability to race against friends online, with added support for ranking systems, text chat, and buddy lists.