though Im an excellent driver in real life, racing games have evolved
past me. The more realistic the games get, the worse I am at them.
Granted, I have never driven a race car (I did get my grandmothers
Cadillac up to a hundred and five mph once), but you would think that a
racing game would be easier the more realistic it is. Oh well; I have
long since accepted my inadequacies in this department.
When I got
Pro Rally I immediately enlisted the help of my roommate, a racing game
fanatic. Something interesting happened. We sat down to play, and it
wasnt long before I was the one winning. My roommate was instantly
displeased with the unrealistic physics engine. Not me. I was winning.
Furthermore, I was having a blast. Thats right. Im giving this game
props for failing where so many games succeed. Sounds silly, I know. But
its been a while since I had a really good time playing a racing game.
I can tell you right off the bat, in fact I have been telling you,
this is not a game for the hardcore driving simulator fans. Very little
about this game speaks to reality. It was a little jarring the first
time I hit a street sign and stopped dead in my tracks. I worked five
summers for a Traffic department, fixing street signs, and I can tell
you that signs dont stand up to being hit at seventy miles per hour.
Your brakes work in a similar fashion, stopping you on a dime. I only
wish my brakes worked so well. For those of us not looking for
hyper-realism, the intricacies of Pro Rallys physics are easily
too bad not all of Pro Rallys flaws are as endearing. It seems a bit
silly that a rally game doesnt allow you to move more than a couple of
feet off track before resetting you, and this constantly interrupts the
flow of the game. Corners that you ought to be able to cut are off
limits. Of course, you always reappear on the track a few places behind
where you were.
Throughout Pro Rally 2002 you are supplied with a co-driver. He
forewarns you of curves and the like, with a nifty British accent. If
you are anything like me you ignore the co-driver. That is, until you
screw up, at which time it becomes the perfect scapegoat for all your
woes. Some people may find it helpful, but I just found it to be
annoying. The rest of the sound is equally uninspiring. The engine noise
and background noise arent quite up to par. While the music is
competent, it could be easily confused with every other generic, techno,
videogame soundtrack. On a positive note, it does support Dolby Pro
the graphics are just as mediocre, but there are a few nice touches.
While driving you can see into your back window and watch your driver at
work. It is cool the way your car picks up the mud or snow as you drive
through it. On the whole, Pro Rallys graphics really cant compete with
a lot of the driving games out there. Damage is an important part of the
game; sadly this isnt visually represented on your car. Instead we are
given damage icons that pop up on the screen. "Cough, cough, lame!" I
mean come on. Half the fun of racing is crashing your car.
The Single player game consists of four modes: Time Trial, Arcade,
Trophy, and Professional. The Arcade and Trophy modes will need to be
unlocked before you can access them. Time Trial is an easy, quick way to
get into the game but it offers little challenge other than the clock.
The Profession mode is comprised of School and Championship modes.
School mode must be completed before you can go on to the Championship.
There are ten tests, six in a parking lot, and four on actual tracks.
This portion of the game can be particularly frustrating. Most of the
trials seem to be impossible at first, then just absurd. Mostly you
navigate around a series of obstacles; the slightest touch and you will
have to restart. You are then graded on your performance based on your
time and the amount of damage you take. Had this been an optional mode
it might have been fun. Forcing the player to go through it before he or
she can get to the real game was a mistake.
Once I got to the Championship mode I started to have a lot of fun,
and then the game was over. In less than a couple of hours I had
completed the championship mode. It was a little disappointing. It did
unlock the Arcade and Trophy modes, but I wouldve much rather had more
Championship tracks to go through.
mode allows you to race head to head with other cars. In reality, this
is more like a pinball game. The opponent cars bounce you around all the
way to the finish line. In the Trophy mode you must take first place in
each race in order to advance.
The multiplayer has a Versus and a Trophy mode. Versus is pretty
straightforward, you and a friend race each other. Trophy mode allows up
to eight players to compete in turns. Both are decent but once again,
Pro Rally comes up middle of the road.
Pro Rally is the first rally game for the Gamecube. It features
twenty officially licensed vehicles and forty eight tracks. The game
isnt all bad but numerous faults keep this game from being anything
more than mediocre. My advice, rent it, beat it, take it back, and wait
for the next rally game.