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Colin McRae Rally 2
"Up to four players may now enter and compete in the WRC tour, taking turns to clock up the fastest times"
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Developer  Codemasters Game Type  Racer
Distributor  Codemasters Review Date  Mar 01
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      An ungarnished front end makes setting the game up very easy with options to adjust graphics, sound and controller configuration. Unlike many other racing games the analog sticks may be combined with digital buttons for the perfect set up. Next it's time to create a driver profile including team name, driver name and even your own date of birth (no fibbing!). This information may then be stored on a memory card and updated after each race to provide a constant database of your racing achievements.

Game modes are split into Rally and Arcade. Again, each has a Championship, Single Race and Time Trial. However, Rally mode now includes the option to practice each stage (very useful on the more difficult circuits) and an impressive multi-player Challenge mode. This takes the form of a knockout competition where two cars line up alongside each other, but on separate circuits. The tracks regularly cross over each other to ensure that the distance is always the same and makes for a great release from the pressure of the time trial driving. Up to eight human players may take part with the remaining places taken by the computer. A random draw sets up four head-to-heads with the winner going through to the next round.

Another form of multi-player gaming may be accessed via the Rally Championship mode. Here up to four players may now enter and compete in the WRC tour, taking turns to clock up the fastest times. Points are awarded for position, with a league table produced after each of the eight venues. Don't be put off by the sound of this 'time trial style' formula as I can promise ample thrills and spills over the varied courses.

The gameplay within the Rally Championship could almost be regarded as a full-blown racing simulation because each vehicle must be set up according to the conditions of an individual stage. Before a race begins you may view the course map and study the road surface and weather conditions. Decisions are required on the type of tyres, suspension, brakes, steering and gear-ratio required for the terrain with a limited time allowed to carry out vehicle repairs. In this the damage received actually affects the overall performance of your vehicle in the following race. Electrics, suspension, brakes, engine and gearbox must always be maintained or else your circuit times will surely suffer.

Each of the stages lasts about three to five minutes with regular check points recording your current session time, difference between the leader and current race position. You never see another car but are always aware that the slightest slip will see you plummet down the leader board. There are over 80 new international tracks set within the 8 world locations. Each country features its own unique climate and surface conditions affecting the driving style players must employ. Times from each rally are combined and championship points are awarded at the end of every stage.

Game Options:
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 2 - 3
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 8
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): Yes (2)
• Other accessories: Steering Wheel
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes

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Staff Opinions
Martin   "The handling in Rally mode is dependent on how well you set your vehicle up. Get it right and the car will hug the corners, shaving valuable seconds off your stage time. Get it wrong and the vehicle will career down the track like a pinball trapped among the bumpers.

Handling in Arcade mode is pretty much as you'd expect. A smooth frame rate will give the impression of travelling at speed, but always ends up feeling like slalom run. whether travelling on snow or tarmac. But hey. it's a pick up and play mode! Overall, as a package, there is much more to admire than groan about. "
Graphics  18/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  9/10
Lastability  19/20
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