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by Microsoft

2-01.jpg (5471 bytes)Since the launch of the Xbox we have seen a variety of games released covering various genres. One genre that seems to be light in comparison to some of the others is racing games for the purists. Well, racing fans sit up and take notice! Microsoft has taken the reigns and brought us a racing game that you’ll be proud to have in your collection. Comprising the four styles of rally racing into one package, Rallisport might not be a Gran Turismo killer, but it is the best there is for the green machine.

3-01.jpg (5508 bytes)Rallisport Challenge shows the diversity found within the sport of racing. You are not limited to just driving in off road courses against other players. This game gives a more accurate portrayal. There are essentially two ways Rally races are performed. One is racing for best time on a flat course. There are no laps and you do not race head to head with competitors. Also there are mountain rallies in which the track runs uphill. There are also races in which you do compete head to head with other drivers. This is done with the circuit and Ice tracks. Both types of racing must be mastered in order to succeed in the Career mode. To do so you have at your disposal a multitude of officially licensed cars in various classes. The object is to succeed in each race to earn enough points to unlock everything. Did poorly? You can go back and perform the whole stage over again. The challenge is to use everything in your car at your disposal such as finding the right tires to win; usually they are not even the ones that are designed for the specific elements. There is plenty to accomplish to give long lasting freshness to the game. Three other friends can also compete against you as well in circuit rallies. Finally is the time trial, essentially a means of practicing. This is recommended when attempting a new coarse to get a feeling for it and become aware of the major turns.

9-01.jpg (6915 bytes)Controls are solid and you can definitely tell the difference in each course you are on. It's up to you to adjust your driving style accordingly. You will find that on Tarmac your car will stick to the road preventing you from being able to power slide through turns. The best button you have though is not the gas, but the one that picks you up and places you back on the track. I say this because there will be plenty of time that your car ends up on its side and the computer itself does nothing to help you. Quickly pressing this button will greatly reduce your time, but the real object is to stay on the track. It's nice that this is available though in case you do need it. The analog sensitivity does need to be tightened a little for more precise driving; it’s way to easy to overcorrect.

6-01.jpg (7549 bytes)Rallisport Challenge takes full advantage of the hard drive and its ability to store ripped songs. You can even select specific tracks from a soundtrack instead of the whole soundtrack . The songs found on the game itself are not bad by any means. It's just always nice to be able to play exactly the songs that you want. There is more to hear than just music. For one there is the familiar sound of roaring engines. One sound not heard a lot in racing games is the voice of your navigator. In rally races your co-pilot informs you of any upcoming turns and the severity of them. It’s nice to actually have this feature in the game, and they should be listened to because they definitely know the course better than you do.

1-01.jpg (5507 bytes)The shining star in Rallisport is the graphics; despite whatever flaws are mentioned, this is definitely one game that is enjoyable to watch. With the current consoles being as powerful as they are, having fully detailed car models should be standard practice instead of the exception. Rallisport goes the extra mile by not just relying on the bare minimum to make the game exceptional looking. As you are competing in a race, you will notice your car getting dirty. It’s the little things like this that make this game a must own for racing and non racing fans alike. It must be said that there are a couple of flaws. First is the destructibility of the cars. Any damage stays on the car, but you can never fully destroy your car. Most of the damage happens to the windows and lights. The other flaw does not really pertain to how the game looks but the physics involved. While on the ground your car reacts just like its large counterpart, but once the tires leave the ground then the car does not react as it should. It’s as though gravity becomes heavier once it is airborne throwing around the car in a manner that is quite unnatural.

8-01.jpg (6905 bytes)Those flaws might prevent this game from reaching perfection, but it is the closest thing to it for the Xbox. This game is essentially for everyone. Racing fans who are used to tarmac styled racing will enjoy the new challenges found within. Newbies to the sport will find that this is perfect to get their feet wet with the variety of tracks and elements. Rallisport Challenge is a member of the Xbox elite and moving a step closer to have a Gran Turismo killer that is not on the PS2.

Jake Carder   (04/16/2002)


Ups: Great control; beautiful graphics; lots of attention to detail.

Downs: Some tricky physics.

Platform: Xbox