Colin Mcrae Rally 2005
Since 1998's ground-breaking Colin McRae Rally, we've had a digital 2.0, a plain old 3 and a frankly arrogant 04. This year's calendar-oriented sequel would appear to signpost the way the series is heading, following the time-honoured template of a number of sports games. The irony here is that Colin McRae no longer competes in the sport that the game is based around, having been dropped like hot shit at the end of last season.
These days he can pick and choose his events at will, and this year competed in the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race. He also had a stab at the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally, during which he suffered what he described to as "probably the most uncomfortable six hours of my life," stranded in the desert at the mercy of bandits in fear of "my virginity". As he explained, "It wasn't the helmet on my head they were after."
One positive aspect has come out of the experience though, in that the very same vehicle he drove - the Nissan , Pickup-Dakar 2004 - will appear in the new game, apparently at McRae's behest (an unlikely story, but it makes for a good press release).
According to McRae: "Piloting the Nissan in the Dakar Rally was an incredible experience and I was keen to see it have a part in Colin McRae Rally 2005. The game's development team have done a great job in modelling the car and setting the handling. It's an excellent vehicle to take out on the new game's different road surfaces, and makes for one of the most entertaining elements of my preparation for next year's event."
Elsewhere, it's business as usual, with a slew of high-powered vehicles traversing some of the world's most diverse terrain. Although the recent Richard Bums Rally has taken the genre into the realms of simulation, McRae insists that his game is still realistic.
"Definitely," he says. "When you get the bumper-cam on, especially in Australia, you get a real sensation of speed and really that's what it does look like when you're doing the real thing."
We've done the real thing, and we've also played the game, and while we have to concede there is a vague similarity, the latter was a great deal easier. A couple of tweaks have been made, there's a dazing effect after collisions, a new 'hard steer' function and Nicky Grist is back in the passenger seat. Ultimately though, fans of the series should find it familiar, and at least you can't get lost in the desert...
Download Colin Mcrae Rally 2005
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Though It's Over three years old, been superseded by a vastly superior sequel, and sadly lost the man to whom it owes its name, Colin McRae Rally 2005 can now be yours for the same price as an hour's worth of petrol.
The last official McRally before DiRT re-invented the series so refreshingly last year, 2005 honed the series' strengths, with tense racing against the clock, satisfying drift handling and graphical flair. A wide selection of tracks and cars fill out a comprehensive career mode, but it's hard to recommend this game with DiRT - which simply outclasses Rally 2005 in almost every area - being available for a tenner.
But there is a different, more hardcore focus to the earlier McRae games, and if you find DiRT too arcadey, then this is a will be a well-timed reminder of what has made this series such a mighty and enduring one. Featuring the late McRae in his penultimate game appearance, Rally 2005 is a well-executed tribute to a great sportsman, but stumping up just one more blue note will net you that superior Colin McRae: DiRT.