Aug 16 2009
This review was originally written by me in 1996. Looking back and judging Rally Championship and its successor Intl Rally Championship by the standards that have been set since then by the likes of Colin McRae Rally, Rallisport Challenge and Rally Trophy, we can see that this game holds its own. Colin McRae was a little too sim and Rallisport Challenge a little too arcade, the closest would be Rally Trophy, but it lacked the ‘being there’ feel. Perhaps it has something to do with developer Magnetic Fields, who had already made two of my all time favourite driving games - Supercars and Lotus Turbo Challenge.
Original Review – 1996: For a long time I swore to myself that I would never get a steering wheel for my PC. “Can’t be that much better than a joystick” I thought. It wasn’t until I played this game that my opinion changed. Fanging down nightmarishly narrow English country roads, snow piling on the windscreen because I stuffed the electrics in the previous race by rolling the Subaru, was an experience that could only be truly felt with a steering wheel gripped – white knuckled – in my hands.
Already shot to number 1 in the UK and fast becoming number 1 here in Australia, Rally Championship sets the standard that all others must follow when it comes to racing simulations, particularly when it comes to Rallying. There is just no denying it, Rally Championship looks amazing and plays just as good as it looks!
If you have played all the others and found them a bit ho-hum, wasted countless dollars in the arcades, then strap yourself into one of the six rally-bred cars and get ready to take on the best as you fight to stay on at least 2 wheels long enough to complete each of the 28 stages. There’s over 250 miles of non-repetitive road in this game! Covering all types of terrain from forests to twisty mountain roads to the traditional tunnel and bridge tracks.
Now that doesn’t sound too hard now does it? Well throw in fog, rain, snow and the occasional night-time drive and then you really will be put to the test. Even the rain and snow are amazingly real, with the snow getting bigger as it comes towards you, it even settles on the car itself and in the rain your car gets dirty!
Rally Championship burst onto a PC gaming scene obsessed with the arcade antics of Sega Rally, Daytona and Ridge Racer with a fresh, realistic, good looking and extremely playable rally game. Now Europress & Magnetic Fields are all set to do it again – this time on the world stage.
Having played the demo (a lot) I can certify that this is a huge improvement on what was already the best Rally game available. In the demo they appear to have fixed the intrusive walls and given us back the best thing about Sega Rally – powerslides!
The in-box 3DFX support apparently gets framerates of up to 70fps! Cool. So all those of you with 3DFX cards & steering wheels are in for the ride of your life!
The major features include – 3 NEW cars making a total of 9 cars, A fab Track Editor, Split-screen 2-player – same PC mode, Modem, Null Modem Cable and Network play, support for 3DFX, Direct 3D & Power VR card support, Load and play tracks made by other players, Save your own tracks out and let others play your efforts. Support for AWE 64 and all other sound cards.
IRC has stronger arcade game elements than its predecessor, without sacrificing any of the authentic touches. The game features nine cars in total, including accurately portrayed rallying models from Ford, Renault, VW, Proton, Skoda and Subaru, and five different types of scenery each with 3 difficulty levels.
The terrain used in the new game has a truly international flavour, from deserts to jungle to snowy wastelands, and various weather effects add to the unpredictability of the game. Car handling has been improved, the crashes are now more spectacular and can be viewed and replayed from many different camera angles. There’s also spoken commentary on your progress throughout the rallies.
You can compete in IRC in five different ‘modes’, designed to make playing the game as flexible as possible. In Arcade mode, for example, the race is a dash from checkpoint to checkpoint, set over three difficulty levels and with computer-controlled cars making the journey even more hazardous. Simulation mode, on the other hand, aims to portray a rally championship as realistically as possible, in which each track must be completed and a league of drivers generated.
IRC can be played as a solo or multi-player game: on the PC with a serial or modem link, or with up to eight machines on an IPX network link.
- In-depth replay options from different camera angles.
- Map overlay showing course and car positions.
- Over 60 minutes of CD music.
- Three difficulty levels for each of the five different scene types.
- Many weather effects, both random and controlled.
- New FMV footage.
- Improved graphics.
- Leave skid marks or just do a doughnut and burnouts for fun.
- Players names are now above the cars in multiplayer races.
- Animated spectators and animals on the side of the road.
- Wider tracks, improved trackside objects and on-road obstacles.
- Many different countries including Australian tracks.
- All repairs are checked to make sure your car is not too damaged and suitable to race.
- Support for Steering Wheels, Joysticks, Keyboard and now MOUSE.
- Support for Force Feedback joysticks and steering wheels.
- All game modes are now available in multiplayer mode.
- Instant replays can now be edited and sections can be saved.
- Tracks can now be flipped or reversed for a quick change.
- Ghost mode on Time Trial.
- Wider tracks enabling off-road driving.
- Tracks can either be Point to Point or Closed circuit.
- 5 scenarios including Snow, Countryside, Alpine, Desert and Jungle. Each with 3 tracks giving 15 tracks in total.