SEGA Rally Revo Review
By Daniel Kershaw |
Now this is a SEGA game. Rally Revo isn't just a fun rally racer. It's a return to SEGA's arcade roots at just the right time; the same roots that made the company such a success as a hardware manufacturer and software producer in the 1990s. Of course, the classic arcade game design in SEGA Rally Revo also comes with a few elements that may frustrate or let down some, which is why we recommend the title with just a few caveats. One thing is for sure, though -the heart of Rally Revo is good old fashioned fun.
SEGA Rally Revo is rally racing stripped down to its purest arcade form. Customizing your ride goes as deep as picking off-road or road tires, one more suited for controlled powerslides while the other provides better acceleration and top speed. And that's about it. You can swap in some pre-made liveries and choose between a manual or automatic transmission for any of the 30 some-odd cars, but victory and visual flair are derived entirely from your skills at the wheel. Forget about tweaking the weight distribution, trading brake pads, or purchasing new rims to show off your fancy wheels. This game is so focused on the driving itself (some might even call its off-track feature set shallow), that everything outside of the race is streamlined down to just a few choices.
The success in Rally Revo comes in the fact that the game is instantly fun and attractive as soon as you hop onto a muddy track. The game essentially boils down to an exercise in powersliding around turns properly. And, well, sliding around corners is cool. Rally Revo uses a central pivot to rotate the car around as a control mechanism which is fairly standard as far as rally games go. This allows for some great arcade handling, an area where this game does not disappoint. SEGA Rally Revo does have a steep learning curve. Beginners, in fact, will likely find themselves sliding back and forth from one invisible wall to another.
As an aside, those invisible walls are seriously frustrating for beginners. Sometimes it is hard to tell where the track ends and the unforgiving barrier on the edge begins. The visual queues aren't always a cinch to recognize as the track often blends into the surrounds quite well.
But once you get the hang of letting up on the gas (we prefer to ignore the brake entirely), turning, and then slamming onto the acceleration to start the slide, you start to realize just how much control you can have if you put the time in to learn the handling. But this need to perfect your precision controls and memorize the turns also highlights something about the game that doesn't exactly help its longevity. It's an arcade game, but this isn't an arcade. The game is a tad too streamlined.
Poor Shadow, even on a car he isn't cool.There are just five areas to race in, ranging from the muddy tropics to the icy north. This provides a nice range of slippery surfaces including ice, snow, mud, puddles, and packed dirt. But then there are only three tracks in each area (six if you cheat and count the courses reversed as a separate track). This makes the championship mode, the one you'll have to play to unlock cars, new liveries, and even the reverse tracks, a bit too repetitive for its own good. 15 tracks across five environments and 30 or so cars would be a great number for an arcade game and the track design is good enough that there aren't any stinkers in the bunch. But this game was made for the home audience that presumably will be playing this game for a long time to come.
The series of fake rallies you take part in are just a reordering of the same tracks over and over while the difficulty and speed of the cars you're in goes up. There isn't much to differentiate Safari 1 from Safari 3. They look nearly identical. One just has the turns in a different spot. The cars in each of the three classes all handle fairly similarly, too. And since you can't look up the stats on them, one is as good as the next if you don't have a favorite manufacturer. Every one of these championships is a set of three of the courses with a three lap race. And there's no qualifying, so every time you start a race you'll start in last and have to work your way up to the front as the AI zips out to an early lead. Would it have killed the developers to mix it up a bit?