|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||RALLY CROSS 2|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Distributor:||989 Studios||1-2 Player|
|Game Type:||Racing||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||March 1999||Dual Shock/Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
Well now, how the hell do you like that...a sequel to one of my all time favorite driving games, Rally Cross, has just arrived on my cold dank porch. Yeah, yeah I know I lot of people did not like the original RC game. I remember hearing all the sissy boys crying about the fact that the cars flip too much, or that it was too unrealistic, or boo friggin' hoo, I can't get my car upright...get a grip! Well someone besides me must have liked the game because 989 Studio's has decided to release the follow-up, Rally Cross 2 to the waiting public. We all know, sequels don't normally happen unless the original sold well or there is a damn good chance the new game will attract ample attention. RC2 is somewhat of a rally style game where you get to select unsanctioned cars or trucks and beat the crap out of them through a variety of different terrain and weather conditions. Try to stay on the track and pay attention for those sneaky little shortcuts because every second counts in this wild race to the finish! Oh yeah, and for all of you wussies out there...RC2 has a new overhauled game engine that is much more forgiving than the original game. Flipping is still in there to be sure, but it is much harder to do now...sheese, damn cry babies...spoiling all my fun...
Rally Cross 2 is a rally / off road style driving game that should appeal to all of you driving fans out there.
I remember the time when I first saw the original Rally Cross game and I was completely enthralled by its graphics. Well, time moves along and graphics continue to improve and Rally Cross 2 is a case in point. The polygon-landscaped foreground is wonderfully depicted in RC2 with a good amount of detail, colors and shading effects. Everything looks and flows quite realistically and there is virtually no pop-up to be found except for the occasional tree, as you race along the courses. The distant backgrounds are pre-rendered, match in with the foreground and are probably done to minimize the pop-up. At times it seems to be pasted back there, just looking pretty and at other times it seems to roll smoothly into the foreground...weird. All I know is that the parallax scrolling between the two in done in perfect unison and creates a nice field of depth. The weather conditions are wonderfully done especially the falling snow, the rustling leaves and lighting effects over the entire landscape during a lightning storm. The snow courses are truly like driving through a winter wonderland complete with snow covered tress, snow capped mountains and hills and icy patches in the road for you to skid around on. There is also some nice active graphical effects that occur to the vehicles like specular lighting off the windows and metal and mud or snow that coats the body...only to be convincingly removed when you splash through a river or puddle...very cool! Overall the graphics are a nice step up from the original game. Unfortunately I suppose to get this level of detail something had to be sacrificed...alas there is only a one or two-player version...gone is the magnificently implemented four player split screen mode...grumble. Oh well, the one and two-player games sure do look though.
Sounds and Effects
Perhaps the weakest part of the game is the sound effects and music. The sound effects are pretty much identical to those found in the original RC game. Don't get me wrong, the sound effects are fine, just not any major improvement over the first RC. There is still that great sound you hear when you slosh through mud or dip through water and the spring noises and collision sounds are as tasty as ever...just nothing new. The music is all over the board, leaning more towards basic rock tracks than anything else. There is a specific song for each track and each one is quite fast paced and energetic. I definitely chose to leave it on, just not cranked over the sound effects.
The first Rally Cross game was a hit or miss in terms of its popularity. Some people loved the "floaty" feel of the vehicles while others just did not think it was worth the time and effect to keep the four wheels planted to the ground. I was definitely in the former group of people and found it a true challenge and quite hilarious trying to compensate for the vehicles constant sway and tilt. In an effort to try and please everyone, the designers tweaked up the game engine to keep the cars a bit more stable but also included a setup menu where you can adjust the shocks to soft or firm. This was a good compromise, not only because it should please fans such as myself but it just makes more sense. After all, there are many different track layouts and players should be able to adjust the shocks accordingly. Rally Cross 2 comes with the ability to initially race on 3 different tracks. I know the track selection sounds rather skimpy at first but you need to realize that you can also race the courses in reverse mode to bump the count to 6. There are also some secret tracks that you can unlock if you are good enough! So far I have managed to open 8 tracks that can be raced forward or reverse. This works out pretty well and the tracks themselves are very creative and challenging to race on...some being downright sadistic. It doesn't stop there though...RC2 includes a track editor! With this little beauty, gamers can design and create their very own tracks to compete on. The editor is a very clean one that is easy to use with various icons representing the different portions of the track (hills, jumps, streams, etc.) that are simply plugged in wherever you want to put them. This slick little feature offers virtually unlimited tracks to race on, although to be honest you are limited to the size of the track and you cannot create your own icons to place on the track. I was also not able to make huge jumps or death-defying drops. It would also have been nice to been able to create your own championship races with the tracks you have created. Oh well...not to be. The vehicle selection is also rather sparse at the beginning of the game with your choice of 2 trucks and a car. Not to worry though, win a couple of races and more vehicles are unlocked. I believe there is a total of 10 cars and trucks to choose from...there may be more but I haven't found them yet. Each vehicle is very customizable. You can adjust the brakes, shocks, gear ratio, steering play, tires and gearbox (auto/manual). You can also go in and custom "spray paint" your machine. I really liked all of these little adjustments and appreciated the fact that I could tailor make a car or truck to suit my needs or to match each track that I am about to race on. The actual races start out a bit on the slow side as the initial batch of vehicles you get to choose from are a bit slow (top speed of 94 mph). That turns out to be a good thing though and should be used to familiarize yourself with the way each of these beasts handle. As you progress through the races the new cars you unlock are faster and the track designs more demanding. I also liked the fact that in addition to the normal race mode you have the option of racing head-to-head or in suicide modes. It's hard to put into words the feeling of suspense you feel as you are driving down a strait away and you just know that around the next bend a bunch of traffic is going to be coming at you in the opposite direction. My advise it to either grab the heaviest truck you can and ram the suckers or choose a quick, maneuverable car to get out of harms way. The physics model in the game can definitely detect the heavier vehicle and in this case, size really does matter. Overall I really liked this game. It gives the same thrills as the original title and has been tweaked to look and control a lot better out of the box. I would like to have seen a few things added though. #1: more cars to race against (three plus you is not enough), #2: computer controlled cars in the two-player mode, #3: a 4-player split screen and finally, #4: the ability to create championship races from the courses you created in the track editor. I still consider the series to be the best rally style games available on the Playstation, I just wish it kept all the good stuff of the original in addition to the new stuff that was added to RC2.
Value for Money
Hey, it's a driving game and driving games are usually always up there in re-play value...unless of course the game sucks. Well RC2 does not suck, and it offers gamers a lot of reasons to keep coming back for more (secret tracks, vehicles & loads of race options). The track editor adds a lot of value for the money. If you are the creative type, you can certainly make some truly outrageous courses. The two-player mode is great with very little loss in detail and should provide hours of competitive action.
great game in it's own rights and an unusual sequel when compared to the
original. Lot's of good stuff was added that was not in the original,
but lot's of good stuff that was in the original was taken out of
RC2...go figure. I was surprised to find that only four vehicles compete
in a race and the wonderful 4-player split screen is history.
The good news is that there is now a track editor to create your own courses, much improved graphics and vehicle physics and a vehicle customize menu to set each machine up the way you want it.
It's clearly a game that will get a lot of playing time on my PSX this holiday season, but it could have been so much more. Oh well, there's always RC3....