reviews\ Nov 6, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Rallisport Challenge - PC - Review

This latest offering in the Rally Racing game genre comes to us from the Microsoft Game Studios and is jam packed with new graphics that dazzle the senses. New graphics is something we hear all the time, however most of the time they aren't really all that new, just reworked. Rallisport Challenge's graphics are NEW, the plants, trees, and track details take on a very realistic new look as this game whizzes by you at top speed.

A wide variety of options give you the ability to tailor this game to your individual taste. While the car set up options are rather limited, they do have profound effect on the handling of the car, and are very useful depending on the selected track. Speaking of tracks, you have options there also; you may select the time of day and even the weather. Graphics options are very important when setting this game to run on your system, the more graphics you have on, the better the game looks but runs slower. For the best gaming experience, use this game on a high end system (900 MHz or better, 256 MB Ram or better, 64 MB Video card or better) With all the graphics on, the detail level is very high, sun glare, and particles are very good and the car detail is exceptional. The new plant models are the best I have seen so far.

It should also be said that installing this game is quite lengthy; the game consists of three CD's.

A wide variety of race modes also adds to this games experience. Not only do you get the traditional Road Rally, but also, RallyCross, and Uphill racing. Race progression is linear meaning that you must race and finish a set number of races before you may progress to the next racing level and set of cars. This is a good thing since you really don't want to start out in a 500 HP+ Uphill car, you would spend more time in the ditch than on the track!

The starting cars range in the 200-300 HP range and are perfect to start with, as you gain experience you may then move up to more powerful cars and longer more difficult tracks.

A large selection of camera angles let you view the race from your favorite position, these angles make the replays fun to watch too. Getting a bird's eye view of a good wreck or a sweeping four wheel drift through a turn is just awesome!

Rally Racing has never been real big here in the states, but is the preferred form of auto racing in many parts of the world. This game makes it easy to see the appeal that Rally Racing has; racing across preset circuits, not against each other, but against the clock. Some of these circuits may take you over paved roads, gravel roads, or mud trails, or any combination of these surfaces. Now add a high powered four wheel drive car, add a navigator to let you know which way the road will bend next and you have RALLY!

I have played many Rally games over the last few years, many of which are very good, this game ranks among the top in this genre. The new graphics add a delightful new look to the game and a level of detail that is second to none. I have to give Rallisport Challenge a thumbs up! 

Reviewer's Scoring Details

This game requires a lengthy installation (3 CD's) and requires a high end Computer system to run the new complex graphics at full settings. Be sure to check the requirements.

Gameplay: 7.5
Linear Gameplay requires you to race for points to advance to the next level of tracks and cars. This is great for rookie drivers as it gives them a learning curve to complete before placing them in the highest powered cars, but veterans may find it a little restrictive.

Great track circuits full of great details and realistic car physics make the game challenging and exciting. Start out slow and steady until you learn how the car reacts, some are very twitchy!

Game supports all the latest game controllers from wheels to gamepads and is easy to set up.

Graphics: 9.4
Great new graphics that make the game visually stunning. The trees no longer have the "paper cut out” look, now they have depth and texture and look much more realistic. This adds to the game as it whizzes past you at full speed. Car and track details are also very high. The game has a great look full of well matched textures and graphic models. (A high end system is required to get the Max effect out of this game)

Sound: 8
Sounds are also very good for this type of game and it is refreshing to see a game producer take the time to make the sounds match the actions in a realistic blend. Even the engine whine and the sounds of the close ratio gearbox shifting are well done. Good sounds add tremendously to a games overall effect.

Difficulty: Medium
The games linear Gameplay sets a learning curve that must be met before progressing to the next level. However some of starting cars are quite twitchy and difficult to drive (they are race cars don't forget), it is best to start out slow and steady until you learn how the car reacts and the layout of the track.

Concept: 7.5
As with most racing games, coming up with a new concept is sometimes difficult to do. Microsoft has done a good job by adding the several forms of Rally Racing into a single game. This expands the game with a much broader range of racing possibilities.

Overall: 8
Overall I liked the game and it's new graphics and selection of fine Rally Racing machines, although I wish they had not put it in such a linear Gameplay mode (oh well, most Rally Races use much the same format so I can't complain too much). Everything about the game engine, graphics, sounds, and options roll into a well rounded Rally Racing game that ranks among the top of the genre. I give Rallisport a thumbs up!


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