Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 100
    Gone are the days when bouncing off another car to make a turn was acceptable. In Thunder 2004, you can still pull crap like that, but don't be surprised if your victim stuffs you into the wall on the next lap. [Oct 2003, p.63]
  2. In Thunder 2004, you take the track with 42 of the most vindictive drivers ever to hold a wheel. [Oct 2003, p.118]
  3. 90
    If you're the kind of hardcore NASCAR fans that will revel in the challenge of Career mode, you'll have an absolute blast with Thunder, particularly now that Tiburon has included a ton of in-game help and redesigned the interface to be massively more usable.
  4. It's quite a phenomonal take on the sport. Where most developers spend their time making sure their physics engine, models and sound effects accurately portray vehicles driving extremely fast, EA Tiburon has already accomplished this years ago, so instead they focused on the personality of the sport and it makes all the difference.
  5. 88
    As long as you don't come in expecting any serious realism in the driving model, there are many ways to play and enjoy this title...The game is simply PACKED with playing modes and features, all of which look and sound great.
  6. The improved career mode, new SpeedZone, online play, and more crashes are nice, but the title's draw is the AI. Finally, a racing title breathes life into the cars around you. [Oct 2003, p.120]
  7. Extremely fun to play and highly addictive! And there are so many options that will keep you running back to your videogame system time and time again.
  8. The "Madden" or "Tony Hawk" of stock car racing games. It's as close as you can get to the real thing.
  9. 85
    Does an excellent job of representing the sport that it is supposed to replicate – the trouble doesn’t really lie in EA – it stems from a sport that is shallow - painfully repetitive to watch and even more so when you’re playing.
  10. 85
    The meat of the game is in the career mode, which is incredibly deep, but takes a real time commitment to get the most out of.
  11. Taking the checkered flag involves strategy, which the Grudge/Alliance feature exemplifies perfectly. Still, the controls are a bit too unforgiving for the casual racing fan. [Oct 2003, p.132]
  12. A well-done racing title that strikes a good balance between realism and accessibility.
  13. An awesome trip around the racetrack. [Nov 2003, p.48]
  14. 80
    It has enough useful, new features to make it a worthy addition to the family, including the tremendous inclusion of Internet play and a fully fleshed-out career mode.
  15. Fanatics will tweak tire pressure, suspension, and build dynasties, alliances, and sponsorships; rookies can learn the nuances of drafting, passing, and holding position on dozens of real-world tracks.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 4 out of 40
  1. jewseph
    Sep 1, 2005
    I give it no hands down a f*$%ing 10.
  2. Aug 10, 2014
    This game is probably one of the better NASCAR games in terms of difficulty and just how much fun it is. It might not be for the intendedThis game is probably one of the better NASCAR games in terms of difficulty and just how much fun it is. It might not be for the intended purpose but wrecking your opponents going the wrong way around the track is very fun and addicting. This game got me into NASCAR when I was younger. Full Review »
  3. JamesT.
    Dec 15, 2006
    This game is bettter than 2007 but 2003 still beats it.