|Rally is the automotive racing
sport where opponents not only drive at breakneck speeds, they do it through the streets,
and roads, highways and byways that are used by you and I everyday. It is an exciting
sport and Sega Rally 2 Championship creates it for the Dreamcast in a beautiful,
fun-filled and very detailed way. Sega Rally has existed in several forms, from arcade to
PC to console, but SR2 for Dreamcast is by far the most amazing one yet.
Being an arcade port, I wondered, "Now what could they have done that would make me want to own it at home; everybody knows that these games are much better in the arcade." Until now. Sega has added 12 additional tracks and a slew of cars. If that's not enough, throw in customizability for the cars, 2 player action, 3 additional play modes and the ability to watch replays of your races from any angle, and you've got one hell of a racing game.
The learning curve for the game is pretty steep. Sure, you can turn it on, drive the cars around and have some fun, right out of the box. But if you want to do well at the game, an investment of time and energy is definitely required. Sega Rally 2 is for the type of person with very dexterous hands. Between accelerating and braking, steering and shifting, you barely have enough fingerpower left to pull on the "Hand Brake," a new feature added to the Sega Rally sequel. It allows the driver to pull on an emergency brake to lock the rear wheels and manually initiate sliding into a turn. At any rate, it took me several hours to really get the hang of the handling on the cars.
There are 4 main game modes: Arcade, 10-Year Championship, Time Attack and 2 Player Battle. The game has 19 cars total to choose from, you start out with eight standard cars and unlock one car every time you complete a year in the 10-Year Championship. These cars include Mitsubishi, Subaru, Peugeot, Lancia and Toyoda and Fiat. You can also gain a super-secret car by ranking first place in the 10-year.
One of the most impressive features about SR2 is the level of detail that is maintained throughout the entire game. The customization of the cars that you drive is a fantastic option. You can change the steering response, gear ratio and transmission, front and rear suspension brakes and tire type. If you have a VMU, you can save your personalized car settings and fine tune your favorite cars over the course of your Rally career.
Play control for SR2 was pretty intuitive. You can use the standard Dreamcast controller, or the Race Controller steering wheel. The analog triggers are defaulted as gas and brakes, so you can adjust the amount of gas that you give the car, much cooler than a standard digital button. You can use either the analog D-pad, or the digital control pad for steering. I found that the D-pad was a little more useful, but couldnt really compare to the feel and control of the Race Controller.
The 2-player option is pretty standard. You can choose track, cars and game type. The game type settings make the action a little more interesting. You can select Free Run where there isnt a time limit; you just race your opponent until youre ready to quit. Timelag allows you to set a time limit, and if the trailing car is more than that much time behind the lead car, the lead car automatically wins. You can also boost the speed of the trailing car to create a more even match.
Game delivery is important to me, and Sega really went all out this time. The graphics are stunning. Of course, the rendering isnt going to be as nice as the arcade version, but the Dreamcast is a powerful machine and SR2 takes full advantage of it, including everything from tire tracks in the dirt to spectators flashing cameras at you as you drive by at 100 MPH. The soundtrack was decent. It wasnt annoying or too "in-your-face", but nothing that made me wanna hook my system up to a 500-watt amplifier and allow my neighbors to enjoy it also The "Co-Driver" helps out quite a bit, he/she tells you when youre reaching a corner. The Co-Driver also describes the turn so you can plan out your execution of it.
Sega Rally 2 is a super game. Period. It has fantastic graphics and action that really gives you an "In-the-driver's-seat" feeling. The selection of cars is great, and the feeling of control really changes from car to car. It was a little difficult to get used to at first, but that is to be expected of a game with such detail. Above all, whether playing alone or with a friend, the game is truly fun.