Feb 17, 2013With 98 opponent times I always felt like I was making progress and stages so long that 20 minutes per run were pretty common. Only once or twice did I finish the first rally of the championship, usually the car didn't pass the technical check somewhere halfway through. Loved it anyway. Today (feb2013) the once "photo-realistic" graphics may look like crap, but the atmosphere is stillWith 98 opponent times I always felt like I was making progress and stages so long that 20 minutes per run were pretty common. Only once or twice did I finish the first rally of the championship, usually the car didn't pass the technical check somewhere halfway through. Loved it anyway. Today (feb2013) the once "photo-realistic" graphics may look like crap, but the atmosphere is still there, when you ride in the middle of the night, with the lights turned off, since their near-dead flickering only hindered you ability to see the white road in the darkness as more snow slowly falls around you. And then you loose the second gear. Enjoy the rest of the stage, your position slowly falling with every remaining time check. Man I wish current rally games with graphics like Dirt 3 had 99 positions to place at (so I am not almost always last...ahem) and well made stages one drives through for twenty minutes instead of two. Oh and no retarded people talking about pointless crap all the time I can't even skip. Why do those Dirt games have to act like rally events are some kind of energy-drink parties for rich parent's kids?… Expand
Sep 17, 2014This remains to this day, somewhat sadly, the best rally game so far made.
Sure, Richard Burns Rally had "better" physics; even Colin McRae 2 had "better" physics. Just about anything more recent had "better" graphics. (But more on that later.) However, NOTHING else has what this game had when it came to the combination of these three things: 1. Simplicity, 2. Immersion, 3. TheThis remains to this day, somewhat sadly, the best rally game so far made.
Sure, Richard Burns Rally had "better" physics; even Colin McRae 2 had "better" physics.
Just about anything more recent had "better" graphics. (But more on that later.)
However, NOTHING else has what this game had when it came to the combination of these three things: 1. Simplicity, 2. Immersion, 3. The STAGES.
There was no idiotic product placement(present however are the obvious and fitting basics for car and tire manufacturers). There are no over-enthusiastic energydrink-fueled hand-holding ego-boosting voiceovers when you complete a stage, or a race , or even just a service park session. There is no over-the-top animation in the service park or the menu system, which in comparison seems positively stark and utilitarian(though, i don't know about you, but that is all i want: a menu system that is simple and that works correctly).
Anyhow, what the game DOES have, are real looking and feeling rally stages that are absolutely every bit as long as they are in the real rallies the game is based on. This is by far the greatest element of this game. No other rally game/sim has yet come near this stage standard since. They feel like real logging and country roads because they ARE real logging and country roads, and are accurately based on real maps.
The graphics are extremely dated, BUT, it is more apparently so when viewing the very low polygon car models than really the stages themselves. The stages are built of extremely well-taken source photos that have the subdued saturation and well-chosen detail that makes the environment look much better than its nasty sprite trees and extremely low polygon geometry has any right to look. For the time it was actually amazing-looking. And today, the stages still look more "real" than anything else more modern. There is nothing too glossy, and there has been a very carefully measured manipulation of the source images, to work in the game engine, but not to look "better than life" or overly contrast-y or glossier. It is a perfectly simple and subdued graphical approach to game model texturing that i wish more modern game developers would examine more closely, especially for driving sims.
The damage system is progressive and believable, affecting the car's speed and functionality in pretty much exactly the expected manner, with a whole slew of things that could go wrong, from gearbox, to electrical, to cooling, to suspension, etc. Small damage issues can become big problems over the course of an event, especially when the service park repair times make sense from a realism standpoint, which means: that you may not always be able to fix everything that you want to before the next stage. So you might have to nurse that half-broken gearbox for two more stages and hope you don't lose too much time before the next service(and hopefully you won't break too much more before then, so that you can actually GET to the gearbox repair at that time).
Now, the cars do not necessarily handle perfectly realistically. They tend to pivot quite easily around the game's prescribed "center of gravity" for the car, but with what appears to be little or no account for weight transfer,. There clearly is not a very complex virtual suspension model in place. Nor is there a very advanced tire/slipangle model working here.
In spite of that however, the cars still somehow respond well to being driven correctly around the stages. The delicate balance of actual rallying where 10/10ths usually means you have broken something and gone into the trees, but 9/10ths might mean that you find yourself with the slowest time, the game actually rewards those who strive for and achieve that elusive 9.5-9.9/10ths attack. It rewards you for holding back where it makes sense and for letting loose where it is possible. As does actual rallying reward those who can find that balance and ride along its edge.
So, this imperfect but workable physics implementation, in conjunction with the occasionally gloriously long(but also often properly short, as in real life) and realistically formed/flowing stages, and the utterly simple and well-devised service park frequencies and repair times, results in a sense of immersion that, in my view, no other rally game has ever really provided before or since.
In closing(if anyone got this far), I really wish some developer would just absolutely remake this game, exactly as it is, structure-wise, but with a modern physics/sound engine. It is still what i go back to when i want to remind myself how a rally game COULD be, if the developer felt strongly enough to put the work in to make it so, and exercised the restraint to avoid trying to make it "MORE". Rallying is a sport that doesn't need to try to be more than it is. If the right elements are in the game and the rallying vibe and immersion is built in, the game can be just as engaging as a real event.
To me, this game is the proof of that.… Expand