Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4617)
Written on  :  Feb 01, 2001
Platform  :  Windows

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fun rally game though not enough rallying

The Good

The different cars sounds and feels different. The Canary Island course looks very authentic. The physics are quite well done, and the variety of different cars and courses are quite interesting. The multiple game modes (head-to-head rally, traditional, four-car circuits) with random selection of cars definitely means driving is more important than cars. Online play available or setup your own server.

The Bad

The AI is very non-competitive except on the Canary Island course and the USA course, then all of a sudden they turn into super-human drivers that does everything perfectly. The five different difficulty levels are non-competitive except that very last one. The times recorded are NOT in accordance with reality. I and AI record times that are 40% faster than the REAL Race of Champions (we did about 1:15, while the REAL RoC record was about 2:00).

The Bottom Line

Rally Master is a rally-type game that features the "race of champions", where the best Formula 2 and WRC drivers go head-to-head on the "superspecial stage" at the Canary Island. As the drivers race identical cars, with the model randomly chosen from a list, the race is a true test of who's the better driver. There are also alternate modes where you race on different tracks, circuits, and even do some traditional rally racing. There are five different difficulty and over 20 different cars (some must be unlocked with wins).

The driving model feels quite authentic as you slide through the mud, counter-steer through the corners with hand-brake turns, and more. Some of the courses are quite tight, and rolling the car over is quite possible.

There's several annoyances in the game though. First of all, the game suffers from console-itis. Even though it's a PC game, it does NOT use the mouse at all. Instead, you must use arrow keys or the joystick to select menu choices.

Second problem was the AI. As mentioned in the "didn't like", they are absolutely non-competitive until the hardest level, except at two of the tracks.

Third, if the car departs "normal" attitude (rollover, tail flip, etc.) due to any factor, the game switches to a THIRD-PERSON view, even though the car is still under your control! So if you landed back on four wheels, it'll be a second or two before you get back into the first-person view to keep driving.

Fourth, the ridiculous lap times. The cars are just TOO FAST. I was doing times that are MUCH faster than actual world records, in inferior cars no less!

All in all, if you're looking for rally action, this would be a secondary title. It's exciting, but the problems I mentioned made it a little difficult to enjoy the title.