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Jahanzeb Khan
01 Jun, 2011

Sega Rally Online Arcade Review

360 Review | EASY LEFT! EASY RIGHT!
The original Sega Rally on the Sega Saturn was the premier 3D rally racer that kick started a subgenre that is now dominated by games like Dirt. Sega Rally became popular for its highly convincing rally racing mechanics but it wasn’t a serious rally racing simulator. Instead, it was a good old fashioned Sega arcade racer that anyone could pick up and enjoy, but it had enough to reward skill and dedication. Sega Rally was all about mastering courses to get the best possible times, and the fictional courses in that game are still considered to be among the best track designs seen in the genre. The rally cars were real world machines, giving it a simulator vibe. A sequel appeared on the Sega Dreamcast which also received praise, then in 2008 Sega Rally 3 popped up in arcades and can still be played today. Strangely, the game never got ported to consoles. The recent Xbox Live Arcade release Sega Rally Online Arcade can somewhat be seen as a home conversion of Sega Rally 3, as it shares a lot in common in terms of courses and cars but it's not quite a proper port as an overall experience.

Sega Rally Online Arcade features the basic modes of play that we’ve come to expect from the franchise. There is a championship mode where you start at the bottom of the pack (22nd place) and work all your way to the top by finishing each race at a higher rank. There’s the usual quick race mode and local split-screen multiplayer. The time trial mode on offer here is pretty cool because you can go up against the ‘Ghosts’ of not only the in-game AI, but also go up against the Ghosts uploaded by other Sega Rally players. Finally, there is a bit of nostalgia in the form of a Classic mode where you take part in one-on-one races using one of the two stars of the original Saturn game, the Toyota Celica and the Lancia Super Delta. The classic mode takes place in the Desert track from the original game and it’s a nice mode that will please longtime fans.

The main mode that sets this version apart (and is made evident in the title of the game) is the online multiplayer mode. The online mode allows up to six players to race and if there aren’t enough players then AI opponents substitute for missing human opponents. The online features are simple but robust. We could always find players online and the netcode was quite solid as we didn’t experience any technical issues or lag.

Things quickly get messy.

Things quickly get messy.
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There are thirteen rally cars to chose from, and include the likes of Citroen Xsara Rallycross, Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and the classic cars that we mentioned earlier. There are also some obscure looking cars that are unlockable. The five fictional courses in the game show off the same intuitive and clever track design that the series has become known for. You’ll be racing through canyons and tropical islands. There’s definitely some creativity and in terms of design they each offer something different.

Sega Rally Online Arcade plays like the classic Sega Rally that many gamers have come to know and love. It’s a game that’s really easy to get into as the controls and mechanics succeeds at providing a fun rally racing experience, with each of the cars offering something distinct. The game does indeed have that strong arcade racer feel to it. The classic Sega Rally drifting and turn precision is present, along with the same hint system where the co-driver shouts hints like “EASY RIGHT”, “EASY LEFT” to give you an indication of how to approach the incoming turn. Annoying yes, but it wouldn’t be Sega Rally without it.

The Toyata Celica is like the Sega Rally mascot.

The Toyata Celica is like the Sega Rally mascot.
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The graphics are nice and clean, with that bright simplistic arcade game look. It’s nothing terribly exciting or noteworthy but it runs smooth as silk and does the job nicely enough. The dirt effects are still intact but gamers have seen much better in the Dirt series. Musically, the game is interesting as it features a nice mix of styles and instruments, overall providing that nice groovy and cool arcade racer music.

Sega Rally Online Arcade is a pure and honest Sega Rally experience. It doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel, introduce new systems or anything like that. Instead, all it really does is offer the classic Sega Rally experience to the modern gamer. The Sega Rally name may not command the same awe as it did back in 1995, and it may not be as relevant given the quality of the racing franchises that lead the current generation, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun racer. For 800 Microsoft Points you get a decent arcade racing package that offers a fun online component, which at this stage has a reasonably active community. Racing fans of this console generation probably won’t think much of it, but fans of arcade racers and long time Sega Rally will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The rally racing genre has certainly reached new levels, but Sega Rally still has its place in the crowd.
The Score
The Sega Rally name may not command the same awe as it used to, but it's a fun racing package for fans of classic arcade racers. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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6 Comments
2 years ago
Nice review. How many tracks are there all up? And how many points is it?
I downloaded the demo, sucks that it's only one car and one track, that got old pretty quickly. And yeah it's more of the same Sega Rally stuff but that's not really a bad thing.
2 years ago
Five courses, 800 points, courtesy of the review icon_wink.gif

The Smug Bastardry is a free extra.
2 years ago
just grab the other sega rally out of my room, its cheaper
2 years ago
Sega Rally forever!
2 years ago
hahahhahahhahahaaa ok i stopped reading the review at some point, you caught me... did scan for something that looked like numbers, too

Fetid: how will i ever be a good little consumer if i keep borrowing your games?
2 years ago
Didn't mind the demo, will buy it when it drops to 400 points.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  18/05/2011 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Sega

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