an abundance of racing games on the PlayStation over the last two
years there is still one category that has yet to be cracked.
Development teams have been working tirelessly over the past year to
produce a quality rally game for the Sony unit and we are only now
beginning to see the results of these efforts. Rally Cross was the
first to raise it's head and was not a bad effort, although the way
that the cars bounced around the tracks was more reminiscent of 4X4
racing. Other titles mentioned this year are Grand Champions Rally,
Int. Rally Championship, Project Rally, RAC Rally Championship,
Rally Q, Viper Project Rally and the almost complete Total Driving
Next out of the traps comes NFS-Rally from French developers
Infogrames which is based around the World Rally Championships.
is the game that will surely put Sega Rally in it's rightful place,
because the PlayStation finally has a rally racing game that is
worthy of the best next generation console on the market.
There are 60 tracks set over 8 world venues, 4 modes of play
including a two player spilt-screen mode.
once I am lost for words. To say the graphics are brilliant would be
putting the game down. Gorgeous and excellent would best be replaced
with magnificent and superlative. Pulchritudinous, now there's a
good word. Apparently NFS-Rally is the first game to write raw code
straight onto the chip set. If that is so then here lies the future
of graphics. Fast, smooth and definitely a thing of pulchritude.
During a race there are a few nice touches worthy of mention
such as the way that the sunlight reflects onto your windscreen or
the rise of dust from the cars in front of you. Unfortunately,
because you require maximum concentration to guide your way around
these tricky courses, much of the graphical splendor passes by
without notice. But fear not as NFS-Rally includes a replay mode of
the highest quality. Rather than charging straight into your next
race, sit back, put your feet up, relax and enjoy a replay of your
triumphs and disasters. This can be viewed from an alternative view
or a TV camera perspective that captures the racing from many
amazing angles. Now you can enjoy that sunset on the horizon, the
snow cover pine trees, the sheep grazing in the fields, the
spectators sheltering in the trees, driving through tropical
rainstorms, dense fog, blinding sunshine.....
I could go on for hours about the quality graphics but not
wishing to spoil the initial impact that awaits you I will just
quickly mention the lighting. NFS-Rally is worth buying alone for
the experience of driving in the Alps, at night, in total darkness,
during a blizzard with only the beam from your headlights to lead
you through. It couldn't be more realistic if you were actually
sound effects in NFS-Rally are superb. Each venue has identifiable
sounds associated with the country it is portraying. Lining up on
the starting grid in Spain you can hear the racket of crickets
clicking away. Indonesia has that collective chirping noise that can
only be associated with a tropical jungle, while the silence of
Safari is broken by a blast from an elephant or the hoot of an owl.
Once the race is underway most noises are drowned by the roar of the
realistic racing engines and the small clusters of spectators
cheering their approval as you pass them by.
The music on the other hand is pretty crap and is NFS-Rally's
only failing. Wailing guitars thrashing out their rock tunes somehow
does not compliment the game and was quickly switched off at the
plays unlike any other racer you have loaded into your 32-bit
console. Apart from the expected reactionary skills, sharp eyesight
and a certain amount of luck that is required to succeed in other
racing titles, NFS-Rally requires patience, and plenty of it.
Throwing it in gear and charging straight into championship mode
will only end up in frustration and possibly tears.
Most racing games include those two dirty words that are
frowned upon by egoistic wheel burners - Time Trial.
"What? Practice? - that's for whimps!" I hear you
Listen! NFS-Rally is different and your chance of success
without learning the tracks and how to handle the cars is about as
realistic as you jumping in a high powered Mitsubishi and completing
the first mile of the Lombard RAC Rally unblemished - virtually nil.
Practice makes perfect and Time Trial offers all 18 arcade
courses, in varying conditions, to test out your selection from the
11 rally cars that are modelled on specifications and data from all
the real teams. There's even a ghost car of your best lap time to
Every car must be taken for a test drive over several terrains
as the variance in handling is unreal. You cannot just sit down and
play NFS-Rally, you must learn how to drive it. Try out a
lightweight Peugeot 106 Maxi with it's front wheel drive, 1·6
ltr atmospheric engine and max 200 bhp at 9,000 revs. Next take the
Subaru Impreza WRC, 4 wheel drive around the same course as the 2
ltr turbo charged engine hits 300 bhp at 5,000 revs per minute. The
difference is awesome, but you can unbelievably clock up the same
lap times if driven correctly.
Other racers give the player a choice of vehicles that have
either excellent handling, rapid acceleration or maximum high
speeds. NFS-Rally presents a choice of car that looks, performs,
handles and most importantly feels like no other on offer. I tell
you, it's so real. Other cars available are a selection of front
wheel and four wheel drives such as the Citroen Saxo Kitcar, Skoda
Felicia, Nissan Almera, Seat Ibiza EV2, Renault Maxi Megane UK &
FR, Peugeot 306 Maxi and of course the Ford Escort WRC.
Practice perfected and it's on with the show. Arcade mode is
not unnecessarily a race to the line but a test of your driving
skills to reach checkpoints within the given time limit. Your three
opponents seem to have been coded with an AI to slow down your
progress by taking you out as often as possible - a sort of
Destruction Derby that you cannot afford to become involved in. Try
making the first corner before the pack and you will be shunted and
slammed into oblivion, but in fairness a CPU car will take out
another if obstructed. With practice you can carefully ease a rival
off the track but beware as they will surely return to shunt you
from behind when least expecting. Let them go at first, it's not
worth it, as a collision cost you vital time and result in your car
performing more spectacular acrobatics than a Chinese gymnastics
It's also great to see that opponents can commit the same
driving errors as yourself. You will often slide around a
particularly difficult corner only to see another car tumbling
uncontrollably down the track due to an unforced error. How
Beginning with three credits you must complete the first four
stages in Easy mode over differing terrain. This will open up a
further six new tracks in Medium mode before entering the eight
final challenging stages.
Loading up your first race opens up a secondary option screen
where you select your car, number of race laps from two to six and
if you wish to implement the catch-up, then car boost must be
selected now. Once you leave this screen the settings cannot be
Your first race will be on the asphalt surface of sunny Corsica
but before the race begins you can customize your car to suit the
terrain. There are three settings for suspension and gear ratio
while the handling may be scaled from under to oversteer. Extra
credits can be gained by winning an individual race while failure to
complete the course will reduce your chances by one.
Once the race is in progress you must use the knowledge gained
from Time Trial to judge your braking, steering and acceleration. If
the thought of leaving the track in Formula 1 gave you sleepless
nights then prepare for nightmares with NFS-Rally because straying
from the racing surface is unforgiving. Braking before corners is
essential until you learn the art of sliding around them and once
this art is perfected you will reduce your lap times by several
seconds. Handbrake turns will whip you around those hair-pin bends
while grass verges may be cut over if you ease off the gas. To help
you judge the coming bends your copilot will inform you of the
sharpness with calls of "easy right", "medium left"
or "hard left". If you miss his call then an on-screen
indicator will keep you right.
As you progress through Arcade mode you will sample the
delights of not only eight varying settings such as the streets
circuits of Spain and Corsica, the open countrysides of England and
New Zealand, the tropical conditions of Safari and Indonesia and the
snowbound Alps and Sweden, but each race can take place at morning,
noon or night. Weather conditions range from cloudy, sunny, raining,
fog bound, sleet and snow. Each a challenge in it's own right. If
you complete Arcade mode on expert setting there are a further 18
tracks to play which are extremely narrow.
If you fancy a break from the pressure of matching those check
point times then why not attempt a full blown Championship. Points
are awarded for your finishing position over 24 stages, three
completely different courses for each venue. A night-time race
through the forests of snowbound Sweden is the ultimate test for any
hardened racer. How about a romp through the Safari swamp as you
aquaplane uncontrollably during torrential rain storms.
what do we have so far? 3 difficulty settings which are Rookie, Pro
and Ace. 18 Time Trial courses to perfect your driving skills with,
or without, a ghost car. The same 18 courses in the time-testing
Arcade mode. If you finish the mode Arcade difficult in level
Expert, you can play the same circuits but on a more realistic
scale. It means also that they are narrower. 24 completely different
tracks and weather conditions in the challenging Championship mode.
That's 60 stages in all. Is that enough?
You want more? You've got it.
NFS-Rally includes the best two player split-screen available
on PSX. No slow down, horizontal and vertical viewing options, two
player head-to-head racing in Time Trial mode.
You want more? You've got it.
How about a two player split-screen race against the CPU cars.
Join forces for an Arcade challenge where either driver must reach
each checkpoint over the 18 Arcade courses. That gives you two
chances to complete the game. One car can take the CPU vehicles out
of the race while the other strolls to victory. You could also race
individually scuppering each others chances for winning the race.
Value for money? You bet. Go out and buy this game now.
last you can say to your mates, "Sega Rally? Ha, I've got
NFS-Rally. Come around to my place for a change". Although the
learning curve may be too steep for some, I found NFS-Rally a real
challenge. The graphics must be seen to be believed.
If Formula 1 '97 lives up to expectations, then combined with
Rage Racer and NFS-Rally we will have the definitive racing trilogy
for the PlayStation that no other console will come near to for
many, many years.
rally is dead - long live the new king of Rally Racers! This game
features so many tracks, so many cars and so many options, all of
which will ensure that it has a massive lifespan. The control of the
cars is very unnatural at first, but soon becomes second-nature.
This is one of the very best PSX games ever to have been released,
so the advise is quite simple - BUY IT!