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SummaryFun in the arcades, borefest at home.
The GoodFirst of all, just as pretty much every SEGA PC conversion, this is a virtually flawless port of the original arcade hit, which is no small feat to accomplish and deserves it's recognition. The graphics are there, the sounds are there, and the "feel" of the original SEGA Rally are there in your PC. Furthermore, the "link-up" multiplayer gameplay that made it so popular and became a must since Daytona USA is faithfully recreated via full multiplayer LAN support. You also have a new beat the clock-like mode, where the game stores the data behind your fastest run and then reproduces it as you race in the form of some sort of "ghost" car for you to race against, essentially providing a much greater incentive than that of the usual time-trial modes.
So that's the conversion, what about the game itself you ask? Well, SEGA Rally is a rather amusing arcade diversion that is low, low, low on realism and high on action, and uhm... er... well, I guess I can tab my way to "the bad" now...
The Bad....Ok, as I mentioned the premise behind SEGA Rally is that of a mindless arcade racer, the likes of which we have seen since the dawn of time, however SEGA Rally and many other games of it's ilk are simply a complete bore when ported to the PC or any other home platform and usually result in lame games that offer little or no entertainment regardless of how they were ported. SEGA Rally is no exception. Why? Because the mechanics behind each platforms (arcade and home) are different! And nowhere is this more evident as in the arcade racers (particularly those developed by SEGA). The reason you play a game in your home is because you really want to spend time with it, the reason you play a game at the arcades (generally speaking of course) is because you want to kill some time and amuse yourself for awhile... See the difference? What does this translate to? Arcade games are usually quick action-fests that maximize their fun factor to be played out in a time span of 2-4 minutes and just die out after that. So why was SEGA Rally (or other racing games such as Cruisin' USA or Daytona USA) such a hit in the arcades? because it perfectly understood that rule and abided by it religiously. SEGA Rally doesn't offer you a complex career mode or a lenghty campaign mode with dozens of cars to choose from... that doesn't work in the arcades. Instead SEGA Rally throws you into a "championship" of 4 short races (make that very short races) with 3 possible cars... races that are as flashy, straightforward and strategy-free as possible in order to give you that great "quick-fix" that made it such a good game in the arcades. Cool isn't it? Well as you probably guessed by now, that may cut it in the arcades, where it only costs a quarter to amuse yourself, but on the PC things are a little different and you soon realize that SEGA Rally is, to put it simple: a borefest.
The game just runs out of fuel after the first 5 minutes, sure, the tracks seem dynamic and impressive the first 500 times you race through them (which will happen quite fast since the tracks are reeeeeaally short) but afterwards, when you realize you feel like shooting that stupid helicopter and start noticing the crappy floor textures, you'll realize that 4 tracks just don't cut it, and neither do 3 lousy cars (and I'll be damned if I know what the difference is between them). And while it may be amusing to play it with some friends, the absence of any really interesting game modes turns the entire game into some sort of Twilight Zone-ish arcade hell, where you are seemingly forced to play the same 5-minutes long game over and over and over again until you die!! Wait, no... you can take the cd out and use it as a coaster! That's what I did anyway... thank god I pirated it...
The racing physics are non-existant, and while that is a pre-requisite on an arcade racer such as this, this game takes it to the extreme. As anyone who has ever seen a rally race can confirm, slides and powerturns are the order of the day but SEGA Rally seems to think that's all there is to it, making the entire game some sort of 3D pinball simulator where you just lunge your car in a general direction and bounce around the track while making turns and slides... Fun the first 5 minutes, hell afterwards...