domingo, 15 de março de 2015

Rally Trophy [2001, PC/Windows] Review - It's a Pixel THING - Ep.#42



Established in March 2000, Bugbear Entertainment started its successful career in video game development with this amazing Rally Trophy that raised the bar in the racing genre.

Published by JoWooD Productions in November 2001, this Windows exclusive title was considered, by many, one of the most realistic and challenging racing games for its time.

Being based on historic rally cars, the physics models, combined with no traction control or ABS or any kind of driving aids, turns Rally Trophy into a pretty good rally racing simulation, a totally new thing that only PC gamers had the chance to try! There was also a planned Xbox version that never came out on the system. Never understood why.

I totally believe that it scared many players, hoping to find a Colin McRae style of racing. That’s why this title is so enjoyable: the difficulty of the controls, the skills needed to master this game, all this attracted me like a magnet!

There are 42 beautiful and highly detailed stages across 5 countries and we’ll encounter several types of road surfaces in Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Kenya. So, be prepared to drive a aidless historic car in tarmac, gravel and mud! I can guarantee: it’s super fun! And your co-driver is always goofing around punching you with all kind of hilarious comments!

So, Rally Trophy isn’t just another boring world rally championship game.
I remember that, back in the day, the game was really demanding, graphically speaking. Fortunately it remained playable on all windows versions that came after XP and I could later play it with all graphical options on its maximum. And I can tell you that this is one hell of a gorgeous game to look at! An example of this is, ‘till its release date, the presence of the most complex and dynamic sun flares and effects ever seen in any racing game! And, speaking of effects, those dust clouds and flying particles are a sight to behold! Just beautiful!

We’re given the option to drive a classic, amazing and hugely deformable rally car from yesterday. All vehicles are very well modeled and detailed, with those awesome dashboards with fully functioning dials and such, and it’s an extreme joy to try them all and, probably, slam them into a tree ‘cause your co-driver screamed at your ears that an animal was crossing the road!

The cars available are the Mini Cooper, the Saab 9-6, the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Fiat 600 Abarth, the Opel Kadett, the Lancia Fulvia, the Ford Cortina and Escort, the Volvo Amazon, the Alpine A110 and, lastly, the amazing Lancia Stratos. Each car handling is well balanced between being realistic and challenging. Also the fun factor is a major player in this game making it extremely rewarding to drive; and sliding is very well implemented, mainly in those cars with rear wheel drive.
I must advise you that Rally Trophy has a steep learning curve. So, if you’re looking for a driving game that you can master in a few hours, you’d better look somewhere else.

Variety is this game’s middle name, with the already mentioned 42 stages with its own and special types of terrain. Now, throw some night stages with snow, mud and rain, with included lightning bolts, and you get a wide range of different extreme driving conditions to dominate. Try to maintain your car intact! Otherwise, if you crash and brake the headlights, you won’t see, like Portuguese people say: “the tip of a horn” (in Portuguese: "a ponta de um corno") on those night stages! And that will be a serious challenge!

To keep the bar really elevated, the developers have taken the engine noises directly from the actual rally cars they are based on, so the sound design aspect of Rally Trophy is also extremely well produced.

As for the gaming modes, we can choose between single race, championship and multiplayer mode, but there’s also an arcade option where we get to play a rallycross type of race with other opponents simultaneously on track that, back then, had a frame rate issue ‘cause there were a lot going on at the same time. Fortunately this was the least important feature in Rally Trophy. So, don’t bother trying.

If you just want more tracks, cars, skins, sounds and other stuff, just head over to nogripracing.com and you’ll be amazed by the quantity and, most of all, quality of the work put together by Rally Trophy’s online community.

To conclude this review, here’s a tip to unlock all modes, cars and tracks: in the game menu simply use this combination of words “KALJAKOPPA” as your name and magic will happen!


Rally trophy is a demanding game, no doubt about it, but, in the end, you’ll be hugely satisfied for completing one more stage! Also, listening to your co-driver yelling at you ears, is, as Portuguese people would say, “to crack the coconut with laughter” (in Portuguese: "de partir do coco a rir")!


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