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RalliSport Challenge

Digital Illusions



1 - 4


Buckle up. Microsoft takes to the dirt in its latest racer, and there's no slowing down.

Since the Xbox's release, there have been several mediocre racing titles released that haven't exactly lived up to expectations. Even Project Gotham Racing turned me off through many of the similar, short tracks. As a fan of racing games, I've been waiting for something to fend off my lust to keep me sitting on my couch for more than 15 minutes. When it came, however, I did not expect it to be Digital Illusion's new rally title, Rallisport Challenge.

So thus I sat down and endorsed what faced me; speed, graphics, challenges, and excitement. The first thing I noticed, though, was the beautiful graphics. More notably, the extremely detailed tracks and lighting present in the game. Sometimes I risked my position to get a better look at my surroundings, after all, it was hard not to. The swaying trees, ground, hills, etc. no longer look flat or unattractive, Digital Illusions did a great job in making them look as real as possible.

Ice, tarmac, mud, water or dirt, they are all rendered in a very realistic fashion. The ice looks slippery and shiny, as if the sun is actually shining from above. Mud sprays from your tires as you take that sharp turn. All in all, I would say Rallisport Challenge has the best looking tracks that have ever graced a console.

"Racing through each course and mode is just a blast and indeed very fast. "

The car models are also well done including reflections, coatings of mud as you race through muddy tracks, and even a pair of racers clearly visible in the interior of the car. However, one of the coolest things about the cars is that they take damage through rolls, flips, collisions, etc. After making some very bad judgments and literally falling off a cliff or rolling it several times off the ice and into the snow, the car started to look like a crumpled up piece of paper. You can literally blow the hood, windshields, and hubcaps off the vehicle. However, as cool as it may seem, your performance decreases so it would be best to try and not send your little steamroller into hell.

Unlike other Xbox titles, (Shrek anyone?) with these great graphics also comes great gameplay. Throughout the game you'll have the chance to play through four distinctive types of rallying; RallyCross, Ice Racing, Hill Climb, and traditional Rally. Rally, unlike other races, takes place on a point track. There are no laps involved, your goal is to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible. Competition does not take place wheel-to-wheel, but alone trying to finish with less time than your opponents. As you cross checkpoints, your time will be displayed as well as others so you can see how you are progressing.

Unlike Rally, Rallycross is more of a traditional type of race. This time you must complete an amount of laps, wheel-to-wheel, through mixed terrain. You'll be pitting your machine against three others all at once for some intense competition.

Certainly the most out of control race type, Ice Racing is exactly what it sounds. You'll compete wheel-to-wheel on a slick, treacherous track. The ice physics are very good, so you better learn the key to success with breaking and acceleration to keep from throwing yourself off the track and into the snow banks.

"Intense racing, easy controls."

The last type of race, which is certainly interesting, is Hill Climb. Once again, you'll be racing through treacherous courses full of weather and rough terrain. You'll be pushing your car to the limits as you race up against steep inclines and corners. Careful, you don't want to slide off the cliff.

Each race type is very fun, however, you must play through Career Mode to unlock the levels to race in them in Single Player, Time Attack, or Multiplayer Modes. Career Mode starts you in the Pro circuit with a limited selection of cars. You choose your car for the type of race you select and try and win the stages in the race. However, you do not have to complete each stage with first position to win the race. After completing a stage, points are awarded. If you get the highest amount of points at the end of a race, you win the trophy.

As you progress through the different race classes - Pro, Expert, Classic, and Unlimited - new groups of cars will be unlocked to compete with the higher classes. Being a consistent superior racer will open up special bonus cars (such as earning 120,000 total points). Each class has different race types as well, thus giving you the opportunity to play them and their tracks in new modes.

The other types of modes include Single Race, Time Attack, and Multiplayer. Single Race lets you compete against three other computer-controlled opponents on any unlocked track. You won't earn any points but you can use Single Races to improve your skills on the multitude of tracks included in the game. The other mode, Time Attack, let's you race undistracted through any track you unlock. No other racers will be present and you won't attain additional points to add towards new cars and events.

The significant difference between Single Race and Time Attack is that, once completing your best runs, you can save a ghost in which you can re-race anytime. This gives you the opportunity to race against yourself and try to improve the mistakes you made on the track in the past and get better times. You can only create these ghosts in Time Attack Mode.

Now who doesn't enjoy the thrill of kicking the crap out of your friends in your favorite games? Multiplayer Mode lets you race up to three other players and hopefully "own" them and win that ten-spot you bet them. If you're really tasting that money, you can set a Time Elimination option which drops a player from the race when he/she is 30 seconds behind the leader. That 10 dollars is almost in your grasp!

Now that we've covered all the race types and modes, let's move onto the real gameplay. Fun, as well as other factors come together to make Rallisport Challenge exciting. Each level was designed perfectly for races and not just for looks. You may be heading down a long straight at high speeds and suddenly have to hit an unpredictable hard, right turn. Your car reacts to each, different environment, speed, and turn, so it's a good idea to learn how to control yourself in mud, wet tarmac, or ice.

Having some trouble learning the track? In Rally and Hill Climb races, a "co-driver" will provide voice and visuals to warn you and direct you throughout the track. There is an option to turn these off, however, I wouldn't advise doing so. His directions can help you in determining when to slow down and when to hit the gas, which ultimately are factors in winning the race.

Racing through each course and mode is just a blast and indeed very fast. Sharp turns, slick roads, intense jumps and more; the action of the race never ceases. Damageable vehicles make you fight for position as well as conditions. Prepare yourself, for you won't be leaving your TV for quite some time.

The audio quality also fits in with the quality of the graphics and gameplay. You can always hear your car's engine raging, the sound of your tires on different grounds, the collisions and rolls. Of course, the most important audio element is the ability to add your own music soundtracks. Not many Xbox titles have incorporated this great feature yet. Who doesn't like the idea of listening to your favorite songs for some intense racing?

Intense racing, easy controls. You use the right trigger for acceleration, the left trigger for break, and the stick to control the movements of the car. A is used for emergency break while B and X are used for gear shifting. Other important controls are Y to change the camera view, Black to look back, and White to reassert the car on track. You shouldn't have any pain racing throughout Rallisport Challenge, control is fairly easy.

Scott "VeX" Kuss
Too many gas fumes made him forget to include a tagline.

RalliSport Chalenge: The Scores













The Final Word:  Rallisport Challenge features quality all around and non-stop fun. It's the best racer out on the Xbox. If you want a solid, great looking and fast paced racing title; Rallisport Challenge is the one to own.

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