August 14, 2000

 Overall Score: *85*ESRB Rating: Everyone (E)

Colin McRae Rally 

by Codemasters  Reviewed by: Sam Bishop  


Rally racing has always been a fun video game genre. In case you were wondering, the biggest difference between rally racing and other race games is the varied surfaces that are raced on... and this game has them all. You can race on the snow and ice in Sweden, some Aussie gravel down under, the icy tarmac in Monte Carlo, dusty gravel roads in Greece, or rutted mud tracks in Indonesia to name some of the eight different host countries. This game is endorsed by the World Rally Champion, Colin McRae, so I expected a realistic racing simulation and I wasn't disappointed.  This game is one of the most complete and well thought out rally games available.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Rally racing differs from other motor sports in a few ways. The cars normally run at one minute intervals competing against the clock rather than directly against one another. Another difference is that these cars race on different surfaces: asphalt, gravel, ice, snow, sand, dirt, you name it -- each surface requires its own techniques and strategy. The other major difference is the complete reliance on your navigator, who rides shotgun, to guide you through the race course. His job is to give verbal direction on upcoming turns, intensity, and any hazards. The co-driver in this game is the voice of Colinís real life navigator Nicky Grist. Any questions about the importance of a co-driver are erased with your first race at night -- now that was tough going.

This game does not require you to acquire licenses to compete but the lessons learned in the Rally school will help newcomers learn how to drive a rally car, how to understand your co-driverís cryptic messages, and how to correctly set up your car. You can change tires, suspension, brakes, steering, and gear ratios based on the conditions of the upcoming stage. There are three different game modes: Individual stages, International Rallies and Championship, which covers an entire season of eight countries with six stages each.

ScreenshotYou have a nice selection of rigs to choose from. The Subaru Impreza is Colinís ride of choice and is a 300 hp, AWD (all-wheel drive) beast. This thing is built to withstand massive jumps and still pulls 0-60 in a little over three seconds! Initially there are four AWD and three two-wheel drive cars to choose from and there are five other cars that can be ďunlockedĒ by winning some special stages within the championships.

The driving in this game is very realistic, you will not be catching monster airs on your jumps (too bad). The different surfaces force you to change the way you attack each course. Gravel requires precise sliding or drifting through corners, while the mud and snow levels are quicker if you focus on staying on the road. The levels are long and go through varied terrain and weather conditions.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics and sounds are very good. The textures are crisp, the backgrounds and colors are realistic. The replays are the best I have seen. They are similar to Gran Turismoís with changing views of your car, but these are better because of the superior graphics.

System Requirements

Windows 95 or 98, Pentium 166, 16MB RAM, 20 Mb Hard Disk, DirectX 6.0 supported Graphics Card with 4 MB RAM, 4x CDROM.

Recommended: Pentium II 233, 32MB RAM, 8x CDROM.

ScreenshotBottom Line

This is a very complete and well thought out rally car simulation with 48 stages, eight countries, 12 cars, full crash damage effects, eight player LAN support, and changeable car and set-up. This game wasnít hard for me to play, unlike other comprehensive driving games (see NASCAR). Itís got a lot of detail and realism if youíre into that, but it also succeeds as a fun off road rally game for the rest of us who just want to jump in and kick up some dirt. The graphics for the cars and backgrounds are crisp and detailed, the game engine was smooth, the levels were long and varied, and the replays are phenomenal.

Review Posted On 14 August 2000.

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