Everbody knows that the N64’s "quality" racing sims are spread pretty thin. On top of all that how many "Rally" titles have we seen in the last year or so? I mean let’s be honest they’re like a dime a dozen, each proclaiming to be different than the others. In truth the only variation between them are colorful case covers.
I’ve played many rally titles across different systems, and in the end they all gave me that all too familiar "Where Have I Played This Game Before" feeling.
But Woohoooo!!! Finally, somebody’s got it right! That’s right you heard me correctly people, SouthPeak Interactive’s Rally Challenge 2000 delivers to hardcore rally fans the winning ingredient that racing sims of this type have fallen short on for so long a time. They perfected the powerslide!
Anyone who has watched these types of races on TV would probably admit the most exciting moments occur during the race when you see drivers powersliding around a sharp turns at top speeds, shredding up waves of sand (and sometimes tires) and making it appear as if they’re surfing on land. Thus the meat and potatoes of any rally racer title is always gonna come down to this sole maneuver, and take my word for it no other racing game of this genre does it better than SouthPeak’s Rally Challenge 2000.
The driving engine of this game is quick and responsive. The power steering is extremely analog sensitive. One wrong move of the stick too far to the left or right could leave you spinning donuts. But it’s this type of precision handling that really nails down the power-slide feature and keeps players coming back to race. I’ve never enjoyed taking sharp turns in other racing games as much as I have with this one. I’ve literally powerslide around mountainsides. Once I just missed becoming wall graffiti while skidding around a 90 degree street corner; the whole time wheels were spinning and screeching with my windows rolled down and my head stuck out yelling, "Awwww Hell Yeah!!!"
Add to this excitement very clean and polished graphics and plentifully detailed 3D racing environments and this game is looking to be pretty GiN good.
However, it’s my duty to bring you the whole truth and nothing but the truth as a game reviewer. While Rally Challenge 2000 has so many good things going for it, there are some noticeable lack-luster details that can’t go without being mentioned.
Let me speak on background music for just a moment. Weak. Very, very weak. Music is undoubtedly an important part of a racing game as it adds to the excitement of the scenery and further stimulates your motivation to drive on. Let’s just say that thankfully the screeching of tires and raring of car engines helps to drown out those painful noises and keeps you from retiring from the race early.
Secondly, the small selection of cars to choose from, only nine, can be a bit disappointing. But again South Peak makes up for this in the fact that there aren’t any "dud" cars that no one would be caught dead driving in. Each car is eye candy and extensively detailed with logos, decals, and cool aerodynamic bumper kits. The one thing we can possibly hope for is that there are more hidden cars to be unveiled. I’ll let you know.
My main complaint about the game would be the shortness of the tracks. You don’t really notice this too much until you start racing in the Championship mode. You start back in last place and because the tracks are short, you’ll find yourself high-tailing it more than often on the last lap of the race just to catch the lead car or even nab a good position on the pole. Where some might come to appreciate these hair-raising episodes, others might be more discouraged and hang up their race suits.
So thats the scoop on this new racer from South Peak. To sum it all up, Rally Challenge 2000, with a few exceptions, is a fast-paced, smooth, well-polished racer with a dynamite gameplay engine and is sure to be a lot of fun for any dedicated follower of the WRC races. I give this game a solid 4 out of 5 possible GIN gems.