reviews\ Dec 15, 2002 at 7:00 pm

V-Rally 3 - GBA - Review

A month after its European release, V-Rally 3 hits stateside as the first texture-mapped GBA game, and it looks pretty darn good.  The game is one of the most visually impressive games on the Game Boy Advance; it even rivals some of the Playstation's early efforts.  However, the gameplay isn't quite on the same level as the graphics.  The AI is rather dim and there are some pretty flaring collision detection issues.  While it’s got some great eye candy, V-Rally 3 turns out to be pretty average in the gameplay department.


V-Rally 3 features more than thirty different tracks in seven different world locations.  Each of these locations has a different feel than the others, depending on road and weather conditions.  You can optimize your rally car to deal with these changing conditions.  Players can choose to race alone in time trial races, or you can race against other cars in the Rally Cross mode.


The gameplay is pretty decent, although there are some major problems apparent.  The AI in the Rally Cross mode is one such problem.  The opposing cars are frightfully slow, offering almost no challenge whatsoever.  As you progress through the seasons in the game, the cars get a bit more difficult, but never to the point where they offer any real challenge.  The collision detection is also a big problem.  Cars will seemingly pass right through you and other racers without any problems.  Also, cars going around a curve will appear in front of the curve as opposed to behind the curve as they should be shown.


As I had said earlier, the graphics in V-Rally 3 are definitely its high point.  This game pushes the Game Boy Advance hardware to its limits.  The 2D car sprites are nicely rendered and look really good.  The environments are amazing, featuring great, detailed textures and a full 3D layout.  Honestly, I had no idea the Game Boy Advance could pull off such neat tricks.  While there are some problems (like the strange pasted-looking transition between the 2D cars and the 3D tracks), this game remains one of the most visually impressive games on the Game Boy Advance to date.


The sound manages to be pretty decent.  The music is European techno, which you'll either love or hate.  The sound effects sound pretty nice, from the engine sounds to the voice effects.


V-Rally 3 is great to look at, but it falls a little short in terms of gameplay.  The AI is simplistic and the collision problems can cause much undue frustration.  However, if you want a title that will dazzle you with amazing graphics, then V-Rally 3 puts on a great show. 



Gameplay: 7.0

The racing in V-Rally 3 is pretty solid, but there are some pretty glaring problems.  The AI isn't as thought out as it should be, and the collision problems are very irritating in the Rally Cross modes.


Graphics: 9.0

V-Rally 3's graphics are among the most impressive on the GBA.  The texture-mapped environments look spectacular, and the car sprites look pretty nice. The only noticeable problem is the awkward transition between the 3D backgrounds and the 2D sprites, which tends to give the cars a very superimposed feel.


Sound: 7.0

The techno soundtrack is subtle yet satisfactory, and the engine sounds and voices sound pretty good.


Difficulty: Easy/Medium


Concept: 8.0

The game features a few different play modes, from solo time trials to a Rally Cross against three other cars.  The tracks are nicely executed, and each has its own distinct feel. 


Multiplayer:  7.5

The two-player races are pretty nice, but some four player action would've been nice.


Overall: 7.9

While the graphics are spectacular, V-Rally 3 falls a little short in the gameplay department.  The dim-witted AI is too easy in the Rally Cross and the collision issues cause much annoyance.  However, gamers looking for a pretty title to show off to their friends just what the GBA can do should look no further.


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