Monday, 17 September 2007

Sega Rally Demo Impressions

Now THIS is exciting. Sega Rally Championship is one of the all-time greatest racing games. The arcade version is one of the last games that I can remember truly making a stir in British arcades. And the Sega Saturn version was a brilliant conversion. I couldn't tell you how much of my life was spent perfecting every little movement on the Desert track at home. Sega Rally 2 kinda came and went for me. I played it a little on my Dreamcast, but it didn't hit me like the original did. And it had HORRIFIC frame-rates.

And now, Sega Rally. Coming to the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PSP and PC from the 28th September. By my calender, that's two days after Halo 3, which means I won't be able to afford it. But if you opted for a Playstation 3, you'll be ok.

It's fucking awesome. Absolutely everything I wanted it to be. And I can't go any further without mentioning the skies. They're so blue! Only Sega do skies like that. When I play this demo, I feel like I'm on holiday. In fact, everything looks great. The environments are detailed and lush and the cars are... well, cars. There's no damage to the vehicles, unfortunately. To be fair, that's a big loss to me. But it IS an arcade racing game, I suppose. And that's the point.

By all accounts, the full game features just five tracks. That doesn't sound like many, but if the three that aren't featured in the demo are as well designed as the two that are, I'll be SO happy. Typical Sega, every little detail on the tracks is there for a reason, and within a few days of playing, you'll be memorising those details in order to thrash your way to victory and shaving milliseconds of your times as you do it.

One of the big things about Sega Rally is the track deformations. As you bomb it around the courses, your tyres leave tracks in the mud/sand/whatever. As the race goes on, the tracks start to look more and more knackered due to all the vehicles power-sliding around every corner. But these deformations aren't just aesthetic. They actually affect how your car handles on the track. You can feel each little bump through the vibration of your pad (which leaves me wondering about the Playstation 3 version which, famously, doesn't support vibration in it's SIXAXIS) and you have to learn to react to this changes in surface to aid you in winning the race. It's PERFECT.

And the music! It's like a Megadrive gone mad. Brilliant!

One thing, though. The demo features two tracks, and two cars. The original Sega Rally Championship (the best one, obviously) featured only THREE tracks and two cars. So, by just playing the demo, you've kinda got a bit portion of the game. Obviously with the full version you'll have a championship mode, online play, the other three tracks and more vehicles, but, until I can actually afford it, I'll be more than happy playing this demo every day. :-)

The demo is available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

"Game Over yeeeeeaaaahhh....."

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