#299 Sega Rally Championship

Posted: 27th August 2012 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

174th played so far

Genre: Driving
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1995
Developer: AM5
Publisher: Sega

Did I ever tell you my father did some rally driving? While he was more often around to repair the cars (for one of the better teams in the country), he also got to be a navigator on a few races. This went a bit beyond just telling where some curves were – I remember him coming home one day out of the hospital – in a tricky bend the car had rolled over and crashed into the glass front of a building. Nothing bad happened, no real injuries, just a lot of damage, but it is one of those awesome stories I now have.

This (of course) makes me uniquely suited to comment on this game. Another Arcade with immersive elements, similar to the earlier Final Furlong, it places you in sort of car, with steer and pedals and all that, and lets you drive around the tracks. Awesome.

Our Thoughts

The mechanics of these driving games are fairly simple, and these systems were later ported to home use, where I remember us having a wheel and pedals connected to the PC for a later game. Even so, it was fun to play them these times, trying to figure out the controls and get used to the sensitivity while racing around.

To the point though, these controls are interesting and good. Normally, when racing, it’s difficult to get much feedback – how far are you going, how sharp’s the bend and how well do you control its speed. This system gives better feedback and control. Even so, it’s tough to find the limits – while the car won’t usually go as far as spinning, it can some time to figure out how far you can push your car.

For the sake of the blog we really needed to play this in the proper arcade fashion… but this really did not work with me. Being over 6’2” half of the seats of the games were so short that I was unable to fit in… and the others meant I had to sit spead-eagled in the middle of Piccadilly Trocadero whilst trying not to drive a rally car into a tree.

The game beyond that is fairly straightforward, and we’ll see more of it in the future in the Colin McRae series, but gives you enough time to draw you in (the first track is quite manageable) but then slaps you down as you think you can do better – just not easily (we both went out 30 seconds into the second track).

Graphics are, of course, flaky – old style semi-3D, with rather fake people – but in the end, they’re not that required. They show you where you need to go, and you don’t really want to look at the environment anyway. Your navigator could be a bit more clear – it’s hard to understand him sometimes – but that’s almost down to the limits they have.

The real fun of this game lies in playing this competitively with a mate. It’s fine to play by yourself against the computer (fun even) but is is so much better to do so against someone else so you are able to sabotage and (possibly) yell abuse at each other. Plus it maked the competition a two-way race instead of a seemingly unfair race against 15 competitors who get one hell of a head start.

In the end, the difficult part here is the accuracy of racing and its controls. Using the proper controls for this works in favour and makes for a better driving game than most.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so the fact that I was unable to play this due to my height may cloud my opinion somewhat but the best thing about this game is that we only have a few games where special controls are required. Soon… this list will be so much easier.

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