playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

GAMES


Game
Review


S.SHOT

Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3
Screenshot No.4

SCENE
GENRE
GRAPHICS
SOUND
PLAYABILITY
VALUE
OPINION



REVIEW INDEX

Get your PSX games HERE!

RALLY CROSS

Developer

Options

Distributer

Sony

1-4 Player

Game Type

Racing

Mem. Card

Review Date

March 1997

Multi-tap

Setting the Scene

What?? Yet another racing game? Ah, but wait a minute here, it's not just another racing game, it's a Rally racing game! Hey, the one area in racing the Playstation can actually use a good game in. After having played Sega's superb Sega Rally, I didn't really have high hopes for this first Playstation rally title to dethrone the reigning king of rally racers, but I thought it deserved a look see.

The game is an off-road rally style speed burner that takes you to exotic island settings, brutal frozen tundras, desolate deserts and a few other locales to test your off-road driving prowess. Does this first entrance into the rally field by Sony succeed? Read on!

Genre

Grab a bunch of suped up rally cars, throw in some four-wheelers for good measure and take off for the high ground. You my friend are about to embark on an off-road rally experience like none before. Yes, it's a racer, but oh, what a racer it is.

Graphics

ahhh, give me a minute to pick my jaw up off the ground...The Playstation's graphics just keep getting better and better. With the exception of WipEout XL, I have never seen such detail, fast, consistant frame rates and overall graphics executed with such flair. Are the graphics perfect? Well, in a word, nope, but I'll get to these minor pissy complaints in a moment. First the good stuff. The scenic locations that you are presented with are all vibrant and alive. Objects in the distance scroll up effortlessly with no poly pop-up, fill-in or breakdown. The colors used for the backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous...just take a look at the wonderfully colored mountains in the jungle track to see what I mean. The tracks are also superbly detailed and very easy to follow (at least with your eyes, getting the car to do what you want is quite another matter). The cars are very detailed and colorful as well. Decals are nicely represented and the cars animations are a wonder to behold. Tires spin, cars show visible damage when hit or when you "roll" them, you can even see the driver and their co-pilot through the rear or front windshield (sorry, you can't flip other drivers the bird, maybe version 2...). Even at the start of the race, while waiting for the countdown, you can turn the wheels on the car left or right and watch them move on the screen...now that's realism!

You are also treated with multiple views: Inside the car (useless on most of the courses because you are bouncing all over the place), behind the car close, medium and far. I liked them all and use each one for different tracks to my advantage. You also have a front-back view so you can get a glimpse on what is coming up from behind you.

Now the bad...well, not really bad, but annoying...while there is no real polygon pop-up from the background objects as they move into the foreground, there is some breakdown and polygon clipping during a closeup flip or car crash. Just look at how the graphics "jiggle" around at the starting line in the jungle screen...it's almost as if the graphics can't wait to get moving. Getting back to a car flip, there was one time when I flipped my car and found myself resting quite uncomfortably under a huge palm leaf, shrouding my view of the car. Luckily the leaf kept polygon popping in and out or I wouldn't have been able to tell which way my car was facing or which way to flip it rightside up. No, the popping leaf wasn't intentional, it was graphic break-up, it just happened to come in at a good time! On occasion, you can also notice that during a good pile-up, some of the cars graphics will break up a bit. Trust me though, this stuff that I am pointing out, while occasionally being apparent, is real, real nitpicky. It by no means detracts from the gameplay at all.

The graphics in this game are the stuff legends are made from...but nothing (at least yet) is perfect.

Sounds and Effects

Good beefy car sounds! Especially at the start of the race, when all four cars are flooring it off the line-up...VaRoooom! It sounds just like a mini explosion...cool! You are also treated to the sounds of squeaky springs as your car bottoms-out from taking a jump too high and the crunching of gravel and dirt as your tires make contact and skids around turns. There is also a very cool sound that results when you smash through the mud. I can't describe the sound other than say it's a hollow "splosh" (whatever the hell that is), but it's one I have never heard in a video game before. It's pretty damn satisfying though! Water sounds are quite convincing too. You are also treated to the crowd cheering you on during some of the tracks as you whip around a bend. I should mention that the cheering increases in volume as you approach the crowd...again, very nice touch. The cars even display a wonderfully realistic crunching and crashing sound as you flip or smash into another vehicle. The sounds are brilliant...really. Oh, and it's all in surround sound...have yourself a blast.

Music is your typical, now standard, to be expected, driving rock soundtrack...Which to me, is a good thing. Each track has it's own catchy tune, but nothing groundbreaking. Oh, I should also mention that there is no announcer in this game...again, to me, that's another good thing. You really don't need one in this type of game.

Playability

Of course we all know that all of the flashy graphics and engrossing sounds in the world wouldn't be able to help a game if the playabilty is not in there. Well, sorry to say but this games play mechanics suck! No!! JUST KIDDING!!!

Actually this game delivers graphically, sound-wise and where it really counts...GAMEPLAY! The intent of this game was obviously to present the player with a realistic rally/offroad racing experience. To do this, the game provides you with a vehicle that has four wheel fully independant suspension, realistic physics and challenging courses to unlease these beasts on. In this presentation, the game succeeds very well. Your cars and trucks need to be handled with pin-point accuracy to prevent them from flipping or fish-tailing uncontrollably about the track. Once you become accustomed to the handling, you can almost anticipate and prevent a roll-over from occurring by counter-steering out of the spin. Make no mistake, this requires quick reflexes and accurate timing to consistantly pull this off. Some people may even complain that the physics are too unforgiving and retract a bit from the gameplay. I disagree...yes, the game is HARD but it is also a challenge and a pleasant one at that.

Afraid you may get bored too quickly? Forget it...you are given 6 tracks to "play" on. Each track can be raced forward or backward to make it feel like 12 tracks and each course has three variations for a total of 36 "tracks". While using all these variations to get 36 tracks may be stretching it a bit, you will be playing for hours before you even unlock the original 6 courses. You are also initially awarded 8 cars. There are 8 more cars to obtain and 4 "hidden" trucks. Here is how everything breaks down: You start in the season mode at the rookie level. You are provided with 8 cars to choose from and are able to race on the first 3 courses. You can set up three options at this point; regular season, where you race the three courses twice, once forward and once backwards or choose head to head where you race the course heading into the pack or random, where the console randomly selects a head to head, backwards or forwards race for each of the six tracks. Beat this season and you are awarded cars 9 - 12 and you unlock track four. You now compete as a veteran in 8 races. Beat this and you unlock tracks 5 and 6 and get cars 13 - 16. Beat all the tracks in pro and the final track variations are unlocked. Beat all the tracks in pro level again and you receive your first truck. Beat the game again and get your second truck. Keep doing this until you receive all four trucks and all 36 track variations. As you begin to see, this isn't something that you will do in a few hours. Each car has it own handling characteristics and should be carefully selected and familiarized with if you expect to get very far.

There is also a two-player split screen mode that is just as fast paced and graphically gorgeous as the single player mode. You also get a four-player split screen mode that, while being a bit hampered in the frame rate department, will provide you and three friends the racing time of your life. You can also select to drive each course solo without the rest of pack and take as many laps as you feel you'll need to prepare yourself to win a season game.

One thing I would like to mention, as I do with all good racing games...get yourself either a Mad Catz steering wheel or a NeGcon controller. It makes all the difference in the world and consistantly snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. Don't expect to get very far, very fast without one.

Oh, and here is the clincher my friends...There is a neat little word that appears under the controller options menu...that word is "feedback". Yep, you guessed it, this game has been designed to use the forthcoming Sony analog gamepad with the force feedback feature. There, are you sold now?

Value for Money

36 tracks, 16 cars, 4 trucks, 1, 2 or 4 player racing options...this game packs quite a wallop for your gaming dollar. What are you waiting for? Get in your car, drive through a couple of neighbors backyards, plow through a few cornfields and get to your nearest Playstation dealer today and pick up this game!

Opinion

TOM

GRAPHICS:

Brilliant

The ultimate in rally road racing games. This one is gonna be tough to beat. The game features creative track designs, a large number of vehicles and a gradually increasing difficulty level. The graphics, animations and sounds are all top notch and fit perfectly into the game. Add to this the fact that it is the first official game released to use the forthcoming dual analog pad with the force feekback option and you have yourself a real winner.

SOUND:

Good

PLAYABILITY:

Good

VALUE:

Brilliant

OVERALL
9/10

MARTIN

GRAPHICS:

Good

This is certainly not a pick-up-and-play racing game but Rally Cross definately grows on you. I found the steering was over responsive to the joypad commands but this improves with practice. Similar to the original Wipeout driving errors are severly penalised as your vehicle will undoubtably end up wheels high. To correct this you must rock the car side to side using the shoulder buttons. Rally Cross is a difficult but highly rewarding racer.

SOUND:

Good

PLAYABILITY:

Brilliant

VALUE:

Good

OVERALL
9/10

Get your PSX games HERE!