Rally Cross 2
|a game by||989 Sports|
|Editor Rating:||7.7/10, based on 6 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.7/10 - 3 votes|
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|See also:||Rally Games|
Rumblin', tumblin' four-wheelin' off-road action returns to the PlayStation with Rally Cross 2. Under the guiding hand of the designers of the original Rally Cross, this sequel stands a good chance of ripping up the off-road turf. In RC2, one to four players can choose from 20 new off-road cars and trucks that they can customize, refining everything from tires to suspension to gear settings and even paint jobs. 989 Studios is ramping up RC2's graphics horsepower to render realistic racing environmerits and enhancements such as damage sustained by your ride. It's also improving the controls over the previous game's. You'll speed along on the game's 24 newly designed tracks, which will take you through jungles, deserts, mud, ice, and snow. Six game modes should rev the Fun Factor over the redline.
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989 Studios is putting less bounce in every ounce of its off-road racing sequel, Rally Cross 2. The original game's gooey suspensions turned away many drivers, so 989 has tweaked the physics model to offer realistic, but more manageable, racing action. As for everything else, however, the law of sequels prevails. Ten new cars, eight fresh tracks (plus a track editor), Rush-style shortcuts, adjustable car setups, a paint shop, and analog Dual Shock support prove that more is still more. This one's loaded out of the showroom.
Fans of the original will still get their thrills and spills, with the return of forward and backward runs as well as the suicide races. Split-screen contests only sweeten the deal. Whether you loved or hated the original game, keep an eye on Rally Cross 2. It's shaping up to exceed its predecessor in every my.
THE ORIGINAL RALLY CROSS certainly took its lumps. Many racing fens were turned off by the cars' springy suspensions, which led to more bouncing around than actual driving. There's still a lot of bumpin' and jumpin' in the sequel, but the overall experience has been sufficiently enhanced--maybe enough to win back some of the critics.
My Name Is Mud
Rally Cross 2 isn't afraid to get dirty, offering eight tracks and ten off-road vehicles, ranging from sporty coupes to baja trucks.The courses and cars are unlocked through skillful driving in season mode; to earn them, you'll literally have to learn the tracks backwards and forwards, while keeping your eyes open for shortcuts and alternate paths--which your CPU opponents already know where to find!
Track to the Future
The track development in Rally Cross 2 really deserves special praise.You'll plow through construction zones, icy mountain passes, airport hangars, and more; and each path is littered with obstacles and tricky corners and features cool weather effects. The courses are challenging, realistic, intelligent, and reasonably attractive to look at, while dynamic replays will give you plenty of good views of the tracks' nuances.
When you've learned the secrets of all the existing courses, the track editor enables you to plan out your own--down to the track's last whoop-dee-do. Although this track editor is not as advanced as Moto Racer 2's, and you can't make courses equal to the ones that come with the game, RC2's editor is easy to use and lets you create instant, new challenges at will.
Rally Cross 2 offers many more user options than its forebear, including tweakable steering and suspensions (which addresses the first game's main problem) along with a paint kit that allows you to slather the color scheme of your choice onto your car and save it to a memory card.
The realistic vehicle physics will no doubt still scare some drivers away, but gamers who like a good off-road ruckus will enjoy Rally Cross 2's enhancements. They're all shifts in the right direction.
- A well-timed tap to the bumper of your opponent can send them careening off-course-Just be careful not to get caught up in the accident
- The moment you feel your car start to flip, tap L2 or R2 to roll the car back into place as It lands.
- Most shortcuts, like this one to the right of the bridge on County Air, feature tough terrain. Don't attempt them until you've mastered your car's handling.
- Head for the beach, then take this useful shortcut through the rocks on Turn 2 of the Construction course.
- lay off the gas while you jump; you'll have better traction if your wheels aren't spinning when you land.
- Hug the side of the train to avoid the whoop-dee-dos on the back straights of the Switchyard.
- The baja jeep is, in technical terms, garbage. Never use it.
Low-res textures allow the game ample speed, but that doesn't mean you won't notice them popping in late and dropping out early.The sight of 2D fens standing in front of 3D buildings seems freaky, too. Still, it's a good showing.
Adjustable steering sensitivity does much to keep these squirrelly little buggers on the right track. Dual Shock does little more than buzz at you, but the analog steering is nice. Powersliders will get what they crave.
The garage-rock tunes sound so generic that you might not realize they're playing. And do the engines sound like blenders or lawnmowers? You be the judge.
The original Rally Cross was a physics experiment; Rally Cross 2 has grown into a legitimate racing game. Excellent track construction, the track editor, and clever shortcuts make it a must-play.
Here's an example of a sequel done well. RC2 retains all the flavor of the first edition while improving in almost every category across the board. New things like better cars, a track editor and sharper graphics are nice, but are overshadowed by the much-improved game-play. The frame-rate is so much better, it makes the first edition seem slow. It wasn't though, it's just RC2 is just that much faster. For proof (should you decide to buy this game), fire up the old jungle track, which has been included. You'll be amazed at the difference. Also making a major impact is the vehicle physics and collision detection. The cars are much stiffer and don't bounce around as much. Nor do they get hung up on walls or fences as badly as last year. As far as Al goes, most races are kept relatively tight even when all seems lost. A few good laps will usually get things close again. That's not to say it's too easy, it's just balanced well. And while it may not be the most realistic rally game, the excitement of launching off ramps, power-sliding and flipping over bumps and hills overrides any realistic elements that may be lost. The 2P Mode works well. Not much slowdown, if any at all. I miss the four-player option but it's no biggie. It's a tough call, but I actually like this game better than Sega Rally, which was my former favorite.
I was completely taken aback at how great this turned out to be. I wasn't a particularly big fan of the original, but this is superb. Graphically it's not the greatest thing ever (the art's not great, and there's a ton of polygon tearing) but it's smooth, and more importantly, it's fast and the controls feel great. The thing that really brought a smile to my face though was the track editor - it's easy to use, .anc adds hours of life to the game.
I wasn't too happy with the first Rally Cross, and even though Rally Cross 2 is obviously a big improvement over the original, I'm still not all that blown away by it. There's plenty of cepth (lots of cars and tracks), and the game is well-balanced, but I don't like the touchy feel, and I can't stand how the cars flip over. It was lame in RC, they should've cut it out entirely for RC2. On the other hand, the Track Editor is real impressive.
Rally Cross 2 is a very impressive improvement over the original, which wasn't a bad game in the first place. The sequel's faster, smoother and most importantly, more fun. In particular, I like the track designs. You can race them in a fairly straightforward fashion, but you can really spend some time learning the tracks' nuances to improve your times. Nice, clean graphics and controls only add to this already solid package.
Like many of 989 Studios' new games, Rally Cross 2 has been rebuilt from the ground up. Standout improvements include a much-heralded (by Sony at least) Mstate-of the-art" 3D game engine, licensed cars and a load of physics and Al improvements. Uhmm, "state-of the-art game engine" doesn't mean much to anyone outside of the game development field.
In fact, you probably won't notice anything earth-shakingly amazing about the game's physics. But assuming you played the original Rally Cross (a great game by the way), you'll definitely notice RC2 has a different personality.
For starters the cartoony cars have been replaced with actual licensed vehicles (hip hip hooray): the new VW bug, a BMW 3i8i and a Tigra, to name a few. The licensed cars definitely give the game a more legit look and feel. Beyond that, the standard brakes, transmission, tires, gear ratios and steering tweaks are the extent of the mod options. For pretty paint jobs an interactive paint scheme features colors of any shade imaginable. A three-tier adjustable graph lets you pinpoint a unique color from a spectrum graph-cool feature.
As far as the courses go, 989 Studios didn't stray too far from last year's themes: jungles, mountains, deserts, coastline, etc. Instead they put their creative energies toward the content of the courses. Railroad switchyards, junked trucks and deep waterways litter the courses. Interestingly enough, the deep waterways can be driven through without harm to the vehicles. In fact, some of the shortcuts involve just that.
But for flat-out road racing or several variations of, the game's easy-to-use track editor is the way to go. While RC2 has taken on a lot of new characteristics, it certainly hasn't strayed too far from its roots. Many of the sound effects are the same, as are the four-car field, flip-overs and the trademark spring-happy car suspensions. But unlike before, the cars can handle the bumps and jumps of the road while maintaining high speeds, a direct result of the revamped physics no doubt. Happily, flip-overs require just one button tap to right the car rather than time-consuming rocking. On a sadder note, the game no longer has a four-player split-screen option, though four people can still play via link cable.
Whether you look at Rally Cross 2 as a sequel or a stand-alone rally sim, it seems quite capable of both roles. Either way, Rally fans will soon get their fill of off-road goodness.
The first game that was ever released that supported a vibrating controller was Rally Cross. Unfortunately, the original vibrating controller ran into some problems just prior to release and was scrapped. Now we have the rock solid Dual Shock controller to take care of our vibrating needs (umm, you know what I mean). What does all of this have to do with Rally Cross 2? I have no idea, other than the fact that now the whole world can enjoy off-road racing in its full vibrating glory.
The original Rally Cross had a sort of cult following. The game had some problems, but people loved it because you could use your multi tap and play a four-player split-screen race. Well, gone are those days, because this game only plays up to 2 players. What you do get is a nice little track editor, a new 3D engine, the ability to customize your car, and some challenging racing action. If the idea of racing on courses that look they were designed for motocross racing sounds appealing, then this game may be right up your tailpipe.
With the number of racing games that are available for the PSX, you would think that there would have been a decent off-road rally-style racing game mixed in somewhere. But no, we get stuck with losers like Need for Speed V-Rally. The closest thing to a decent rally game yet has to be the rally tracks on Grand Tour Racing '98, but since that is only one part of the game, you can't really call it a rally racer. What I am trying to say is that there may not be much room in the racing arena, but if Rally Cross 2 could just pull off being a good off-road racer, it might just find its niche.
I guess you are reading this paragraph to find the answer, right? Does Rally Cross 2 pull it off? I would have to say yes and no. There are some things about the game that I really enjoyed, and there are other things that I did not. Is this game going to win in awards? No, but you will not get flogged by an angry mob if you're caught buying the game, either. If I had to describe my feelings of the game in one word, I think it would have to be "average."
Let me get to some of the features of this game to give you a better idea of what to expect. The first thing I want to talk about is the cars. This game does a good job of giving you a wide selection of vehicles to choose from. You can pick little cars that are light and fast, or you can go for the heavier trucks that stay on the road better and are harder to roll (more on this later). You give up speed on the heavier vehicles, but you will make up for it in stability. One of the cool things is that the game lets you change your vehicle before each track, so if you are racing on a twisty, turny track, you can change to a vehicle that is better suited for this type of track. After you unlock the first batch of vehicles, you should be able to find something that will satisfy your tastes.
Speaking of the tracks, this is another area where the game shines. They did a really good job designing the track. You will be racing through tunnels, snow, ice, rain, and water and jumps are everywhere. Some of the tracks feel like they were designed for a motorbike racing game, but you get to race cars and trucks on them. Needless to say, you will spend a great deal of time flying through the air. I don't want to make it sound like all the tracks are this way, but a great majority of them are. I personally liked the snow course. It has you winding down a hill, making sharp corners all the way down. I think the traction is probably not really that true to life, but it is still a fun course.
It seems that track editors are becoming the norm and Rally Cross 2 does not want to be left out. This means that when you get tired of playing the tracks that come with the game, you can create your own. Now, I personally don't usually have the time to spend making up tracks to race on, so the track editors are not that huge of a deal to me. Some people really enjoy the ability to create a track, and they find this feature to be god-like. If you are one of these people, then you should be happy.
This game does have one cool feature that I have never seen in a game before. You have the option of racing a standard race, which is you against three other computer-controlled opponents. You can also race head-on. This is you against one other vehicle and you race going in opposite directions on the same track. This means that you are guaranteed to cross paths. There is only one thing that will scare you more than flying blindly around a corner and running head-on into another car -- it's called the suicide mode. This has you racing in one direction and three other computer-controlled cars are racing in the other direction. So the one thing that is scarier than hitting a car head-on is hitting three cars head-on. I am sure that you are wondering why I didn't just avoid the oncoming racers. That works sometimes, but it always seemed like the other cars showed up as you flew around a blind corner. These modes were definitely great additions to the game.
Now for what I didn't like about the game. My main complaint was that it was just too easy to tip your car over. I liked the idea that you could roll your car, and I also liked the fact that you had to use buttons to flip your car back over, but I did not like the fact that your car would roll off something barely larger than a stiff gust of wind. If you clipped a corner, you might as well be prepared to flip, because it almost always happens. I can't tell you the number of times that I was winning a race, and on the last lap I clipped a corner and rolled my car, only to be overtaken by the 3 computer-controlled cars. Talk about frustrating.
My other complaint with the game is one I seem to be having more and more often lately. After playing for a few hours, my interest started to wander. The game was fun and learning the tracks was challenging, but I just seemed to lose interest in the game fairly quickly. I can't really explain why, but I think the game may have just lacked that spark that makes great games great and keeps average games average.
I have seen better and I have seen worse. The game looks good enough, and the effects look real enough, but there is really nothing earth-shattering about the graphics. The cars all look cool and you can customize the colors of the cars, but there was nothing overly spectacular. They do get the job done, and it is cool how your car shows damage during a race, but it still will not blow you away.
I have to say that this is the best game on the market for PSX that is devoted strictly to off-road rally racing. Be warned, because the only reason it is the best is because the rest of the games are all pretty crappy. This game definitely has its bright spots and you should get some enjoyment out of it, but I think the long-term playability may suffer. If you enjoy creating your own tracks, you may get a few more miles of enjoyment out of it, but I still suggest a rental first.