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|Setting the Scene:
If I were only allowed a single word to describe all of the games released by Codemasters over the entire life span of the Playstation 32-bit console, it would have to be 'consistent'. Allow me the privilege of a two-word description and I would say 'consistently good'. To their credit they have two of the best available sporting simulations being Jonah Lomu Rugby and Brian Lara Cricket. Meanwhile the entire racing genre seems firmly wrapped up with the quality arcade TOCA Touring Cars series, sheer realism of Colin McRae Rally and two splendid cartoon Micro packages in the form of V3 and Maniacs.
The original Colin McRae Rally at first seemed a somewhat risky venture. there were no qualifying laps to achieve the best possible placing on the starting grid, nor any jockeying for position on the first corner. In fact there wasn't another car to be seen in single player mode. It was simply you. and your vehicle. against the clock. and it worked!
But what's so different to justify a sequel so soon? A new graphics engine, gradual damage effects, all-new 6-car arcade mode and a two player split screen mode to start off with. So let's take this baby out for a spin and see how she handles.}
Type of Game (Genre):
Colin McRae Rally is the only official racing game of the champion rally driver. Colin was again closely involved with the game's production to ensure it replicates the nerve-wrecking handling of rally cars - including his new Ford Focus.
Sound and Vision:
If there's one thing for sure, should the local games store decide to leave Colin McRae Rally 2.0 running on demo mode then their sales will surely rocket through the roof. The rolling highlights make the arcade version of Sega Rally look like the retro Pole Position in comparison, but we don't fall for that old trick anymore. do we?
Of course not and don't those developers at Codemasters know it. because the in-game graphics on single player mode are much BETTER than the rolling demo. In fact I would go as far as saying that many of the effects are so amazing that they sometimes become a distraction. Imagine tearing through the barren outskirts of Greece on a clear summer evening. Kicking a trail of dust into the faces of the watching crowds (sadly they are still cardboard cutouts, but PS2 should put an end to all of that). concentrating purely on the narrow winding contours. when a 70° left will suddenly leave you driving straight towards a blinding ball of golden yellow sunlight. The instant reaction is to reach for the sun visor, but I actually paused the game, dug out my shades and popped them on. It worked a treat! Now that's what I call realistic effects.
Rally mode is packed with these special treats and non-more so than the all-new damage effects. Watch in amazement as your immaculate, authentically recreated WRC rally car slowly disintegrates on each contact with the environment. It starts with a few flying chips of paint and a nasty scratch on the wing. But hit a tree square on and the windscreen shatters, the headlights explode, the bonnet pops up and the entire front-end crumples when taking the effect of the force. Swing the rear into a barrier and the boot catch breaks off, leaving the hatchback door bouncing open and shut for the duration of the race. The spoiler partially disengages from the body and is dragged along (sparks flying) until the effect of a hump back hill severs it completely. Wheels buckle, bumpers crumple and finally the engine blows. Eat your heart out Destruction Derby!
Arcade mode is fine for a few quick thrills but the inclusion of five other vehicles means the graphical detail does take a nosedive. More so on the two-player split screen mode where detail is lost on the cars and scenery pops up at arms length.
The car engine effects are much improved over the last effort, while during the race every slide and collision appears to have been well captured and duly increase the overall atmosphere of the game. To further add to the realism of the event Colin McRae's co-driver, Nicky Grist, makes a welcome return constantly shouting out helpful information on how severe each upcoming ditch, hump or bend is along with the recommended gear required to safely pass through the hazard.
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