Written by  :  Chris Martin (1204)
Written on  :  Jan 30, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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A great rally racing game for the PC platform

The Good

Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (CMR2) is a fantastic rally racing game for the PC.

For those of you who don't know what rally racing is, it's a high-endurance, off-road race that's run in multiple legs to a finish line. But unlike NASCAR and Formula One racing, where you race at the same time against other cars, you race on the rally legs by yourself. Well, yourself and your co-driver. The co-driver's job is to tell you what type of turns and obstacles are ahead on the road. Whoever completes the rally's legs the quickest wins the rally. So the challenge lies in the fact that you are driving against the road, and the times that the other drivers raced.

Now that the basics are covered, the game itself is a very good game. It has it's flaws (more on that in a bit), but it's a good overall package.

The Graphics are really excellent in the game. From lens flare when driving towards the sun, to the detail of the trees and buildings, the graphics great. And the details of the cars are on par with the graphics in Gran Turismo 2 and 3. One of the cooler graphical features is the replay of the race after you complete a leg. The replay replays the entire race (not just clips from different parts), from multiple camera angles - it look likes you're watching it on ESPN or the Speed Channel.

The controls are either done using a gamepad or the keyboard (I believe a steering wheel can be used, but I'm unsure). The controls are simple, but actually driving can be tricky because each car handles differently, and each car handles differently on various driving surfaces.

The gameplay is good and bad. The good of it is that it's real easy to get into the game and start playing. Although there is no "racing-line" like in traditional racing games, you need to know how to go into a turn and then time your slide so you know when to hit the accelerator to get you out the turn at the fastest speed. During the rally portion of the game, you can take damage from your driving (or crashing). After every 2 stages, you have the ability to save your game (highly recommended) and make repairs and changes on your vehicle. And the neat way this works is that you have 60 minutes to make your repairs, but the amount of damage to each system will determine how long it takes to repair them, So you have to balance repairs with how much time you have and make the repairs that you need most. But you also have to determine the best tires for the next 2 legs and whether or not you need to have lights or better brakes. So there is a bit of strategy that you need to have.

The tracks are vaired and very detailed. And the only time you racing against anothe opponent in rally mode is at the end of some of the rally, where you race head-to-head on a crisscrossing track.

After completing different races, you also unlock cheats and new cars as well.

The arcade mode is fun, where you race against 5 other cars at the same time. There are only 6 tracks in the arcade mode, but they are fun to drive.

The Bad

The Sound is great, the motor sound and trie squeal sound great - BUT - for some reason they incuded music to listen to while driving. While that may work with the Arcade mode, it doesn't work with the actual rally racing. You have to concentrate and pay close attention to your co-driver, and having music in the background is one huge distraction for me.

Another downside details 2 parts of the gameplay factor. First off, all the rally legs are not playable right off the bat. You need to complete both the novice and intermediate level of racing before all the track legs are unlocked. Which would be great if it weren't for the fact that the difficulty of the game is ramped up between novice and intermediate. I blazed through the novice part, but it's much more difficult to do the same in intermediate.

The second gameplay downside are some glitches in the track design. Sometimes when driving around a corrner and sliding off the track a bit, I've ran into - NOTHING. My car will stop like crashing into a sign or fence, and there is nothing there. Which is very frustrating, because you loose precious seconds due to that fact.

And in the UK tracks there are hay blocks that mark the sides of the course. But when you hit them, they don't scatter like you see in real races, but you hit them like they are made from solid concrete. Again, it costs precious seconds while trying to make first place.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the game is a very detailed and soild racing game. Asides of the few graphical glitches and quirks, it's a demanding game that is ultimately rewarding, that takes concentration and patience to win.

A solid game for any racing fan, and easy enough to pick and play for the casual gamer.