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Jun. 22, 2002

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page


Colin McRae Rally 3




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It's time to strap in as we take another look at one of the premiere racing titles coming to the Xbox.

We previously took a look at Codemaster's upcoming rally offering, but after E3 and getting our hands on the game, we decided to let you know what we do - the game is looking good.

If you've enjoyed the Colin McRae rally games on the PSOne and PC, you'll be pleased to hear that the third installment of the series was recently unveiled at E3. Codemasters, the publisher behind the Operation Flashpoint series (as well as many other games) is behind this stunning sequel. Appearing first on the Playstation 2 and then onto the Xbox, the game will be designed to give players the opportunity a professional rally driver experience.

Players take on the role of Colin McRae of the Ford team who is given a three-year contract to win a series of championships. Through the main championship game, players will complete series of races across eight international rallies: Australia, Finland, Greece, Japan, Spain, Sweden, UK, and the United States. As with the professionals, you will race the full year and drive in every rally. And just like the professionals, if you foul the race or damage the Focus enough, you will be retired from that rally and not gain any of the important championship points. If you intend to becoming the champion, points will need to be made up.

Beyond the main championship mode, players can use all of the game's featured cars. Along side the Focus are three 4WD's as well as four 2WD's, classic and bonus cars are also featured. Some of the featured cars include: the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7, Subaru Impreza WRX 44S, Citroen Xsara Kit Car, Ford Puma Rally, Citroen Saxo Kit Car, Fiat Punto Super 1600, MG ZR and the Ford RS200 and Lancia 037 from the classic set.

Detail is what the Colin McRae Rally 3's development team is striving for with amazing gameplay and graphics. Along for the ride is the Ford team's rally car technicians being used to redefine the in-game car physics. Improvements are seen in the car's overall handling, performance changes for different set-ups, and how damage will affect various parts and car control. Gear heads will rejoice at the various upgrades and how handling will be affected, especially on the different terrains.

Visually, the game is just as stunning. In Colin McRae Rally 2, the car polygon count was a mere 800. Colin McRae Rally 3's cars are now 16 times more detailed with a polygon count of 14,000! Each car is fully detailed, from the interior to the engine bay, chasis detail, and even the brake discs. McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist are also seen in the driver and passenger seats with full animations and react to every movement of the vehicle. They will sway through corners, pitch forward during braking, and Nicky Grist will grab hold of the roll cage during collisions. McRae himself will operate the controls realistically using the pedals, changing gears, and even using the handbrake.

Just as in Rallisport Challenge, help is on the way through each race. Nicky Grist will pace-note every stage as if he would do in a real rally. It seems as if the development team will leave out no detail with this game.

Unpredictable weather is also a factor to gameplay and graphics. When the road gets soaked, your car may slip and slide across its terrain. Raindrops fall and splatter on the road and your windscreen, causing streaks to appear. The rocky roads definitely handle much differently than the tarmac, which handles differently than the ice covered courses. Just try driving in a snowstorm in Sweden.

Not much has been said about the audio, because there isn't a lot to tell. The focus has clearly been on the gameplay, so the standard "bells and whistles" haven't been getting a lot of attention. No word yet on if the Xbox version will support user created soundtracks, or what (if any) songs will be included in the game. What we have heard so far of the game (engines, rockslides, etc.) sounds rather realistic though.

Colin McRae Rally 3 looks to deliver on all it's promises, providing an excitingly detailed game of speed, fun, and visuals. Currently the game is set for a September release for the Playstation 2 and Xbox gaming consoles.

Scott Kuss
Why does everything remind me of Sean Connery?

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