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RalliSport Challenge Review Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 10:06 PM EST on 6/10/2003
File Under: Games -> Xbox -> Review

Whoah, I'm back already!? Yep... I've been bored lately, so I decided I'm going to go through some of my older games and do reviews. Nothing in-depth, though. Afterall, there are about a billion and three different game sites you can go to for that. I'm just going to give my quick, albeit honest, thoughts on the games, and make a final recommendation. Hey, it's not like anyone in print magazines writes three page reviews, so why should all websites have to? Anyway, here we go with Rallisport Challenge for the Xbox:

After becoming inexplicably addicted to Sega GT 2002, I completed the game and moved on to a different Xbox racer - RalliSport Challenge. Damn, that was quite a jump. Sure, they're both racers, but going from the forgiving road racing mechanics of Sega GT to the crazy powersliding-heavy Rallisport Challenge required a complete change of strategy. There's no doubt this game has a formidable learning curve. Once you get the hang of it, though, there's nothing quite as satisfying as coming up on a hairpin turn, letting off the gas, and sliding right through it without ever hitting the brakes.

Once you get over the fact that it's hard as hell to control your car at first, there are a few other things you'll notice. Like the graphics. The absolutely beautiful graphics. Once you see the sun reflecting off of the ice on a winter course, or the wet mud on any number of other tracks, you'll finally realize what all the hype over bump-mapping is about. I always counted it off as a pointless feature for fanboys to rant about on internet messageboards, but it really shines here.

After you get past the graphics, the next thing you'll probably notice is great damage model for the cars. This is one of the few games out there with real, licensed vehicles that actually show damage during a race - and it's done better than any other racing game I've seen. Drive your car hard enough, and you'll be busting tail lights, windshields, and bumpers all over the place. Hell, you can even knock out one light but have the other shine bright when you slam on those brakes. The damage and the subtle way your car becomes dirtier throughout a race combine for a great effect. The attention to detail is downright excellent.

So, what about the bad? Honestly, there isn't too much to complain about. I guess the only thing I really have any gripe about is the opponent AI. Frankly, they race like you're not even there. Go race a rally cross, and nine times out of ten, the third place car will swerve like three car-widths straight into you just to get onto the line it was programmed to race. Also, you'll never see the AI cars fight for position amongst themselves. They'll get into their 1-2-3 order, about one or two seconds apart, and not budge for the rest of the race. This area of the game could have definitely used a little extra work.

Oh, and I have one other complaint, and this is something that a LOT of racing games are guilty of. So, say I'm driving along at 100 mph and I hit one of the long, short signs on the side of the road. It will go flying and slow me down substantially. So, why is it that when I hit one of the bigger fixed signs, it stops me dead in my tracks with no damage to the sign? You would think a 3000 pound car going 100 miles per hour would crash straight through a piece of wood...

Anyway, I'll break it all down for you:

  • Incredible graphics
  • Great vehicle damage
  • Lots of modes to play through, and a deep career mode

  • Formidable learning curve
  • Poor opponent AI
  • Hit and miss physics

Final Verdict: If you're a racing game fan, do yourself a favor and go buy this game, since it should be dirt cheap by now. Once you get used to the handling, you'll be in for a treat with a deep career mode, beautiful graphics, and good sound all around. It's quality stuff, considering it's just a first-generation title.
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