Sega gets back in the race with this revamped arcade classic
There are essentially two types of racing game: there’s the ultra-realistic racing simulation and the arcade racer.
A simulation goes all out to recreate the in-car experience down to the tiniest detail using virtual versions of real-life tracks, exact replicas of vehicles and a garage system that allows you to upgrade and tinker with your wheels.
The arcade racer firmly rejects such slavish technical accuracy in favour of good old fashioned fun. And this is the category into which Sega Rally falls.
The cars in Sega Rally, for example, all have an exaggerated, almost buoyant feel rather than realistic handling. The idea here is not to mimic real-world physics, but to make the driving action as fast and furious as possible.
Similarly, it’s impossible to go off road. In similar titles (such as Colin McRae Dirt), taking a corner badly can see you slide right out into the shrubbery, but in Sega Rally, invisible walls keep you squarely on track.
Even the gameplay is based in a heightened version of reality. In traditional rally racing, you drive alone and your ranking is dictated by how your time compares with that of the other drivers. In the Sega Rally universe, players find themselves racing against computer opponents who are physically on the track at the same time as they are. Once again, it’s not realistic, but it’s certainly fun.
That’s not to say that Sega Rally ignores realism altogether. The car models, based on real ones, are spot on and, while the general look and feel of the graphics are more cartoonish than other games of this type, the environments are beautifully detailed.
The tracks, though limited in number, are all ‘deformable’, which means that on the third go round you’ll still be able to see your tracks and skid marks from the first two laps.
The result of all this is that Sega Rally is a great looking, highly enjoyable game - but it’s all a bit superficial. A timed mode and multiplayer options add minor distractions from the main Championship mode, but there’s not a great deal to keep you racing once the initial thrill has worn off.
Vista compatible: Yes
Read more reviews
Good points Great graphics Fun gameplay Deformable tracks Bad points Lacks depth Can be quite difficult to beat AI drivers Needs joypad or racing wheel for best results Overall Sega Rally is a colourful, enjoyable but ultimately shallow racing experience.
Updating your subscription status