Need For Speed: V-RallyNeed For Speed: V-Rally is one of the most successful PSX games in Europe, and one of the best-selling racing games of all time. Is it really that great?
Publisher: Electronic Arts|
With so many high-quality PSX racing games out there, you really have to stand out from the crowd to be anything special. Need For Speed: V-Rally does that for me, but that's partly because I'm a massive fan of off-road rally games, and in the rally genre, it has no equal.
Developed in Europe, where rallying is immensely popular, V-Rally gives the player an opportunity to take the wheel of one of a great selection of small, but highly powerful cars, and supplies a variety of tight, twisting courses to race them on.
The cars are really cool. OK, so most Americans have never heard of vehicles like the Ford Escort Cosworth (makes a Mustang look like a lard-ass snail), Renault Megane, Peugeot 106 and Citroen Saxo, but these things rock! It's all about power-to-weight, and these beasts have little weight and tons of power. Stick 'em on a tight and twisting low-grip track and that translates to fun, fun, fun!
There are the usual gamut of options, with Arcade, Championship, and Time Trial modes to test the solo driver, and also a split-screen two-player mode for more social racing. So there's plenty in it, but what does it look like?
Well, excellent, to put it simply. Fast, nicely detailed and realistically colored, the tracks look great and the cars are brilliant. In fact, the only thing I didn't like was the bloody stupid lens flare effect. Please. No more lens flare. Lens flare bad. Ba-a-a-a-a-d lens flare.
The car engine sounds are also cool. The only disappointment is the music. I nearly keeled over with heart failure when I heard no techno music at all, but it didn't take long before the cheesebag rock tracks that are there had me fiddling with the music volume button on the options screen. Hah! There's no pleasing some, eh?
It's in the gameplay where this really delivers the goods. The car handling is great fun, and you can set up the car in a variety of different ways, so that it either understeers horribly, or spends most of the time driving sideways. This is even more pronounced in the upper difficulty settings, and it takes ages to get used to. But it's an enjoyable challenge and is highly rewarding to master. Car crashes are spectacular. Hit bumps, or go off the road and the car can slide, flip, or even end up skating down the road on its roof, spinning slowly. It certainly looks good when you replay them!
The AI is pretty tasty. On the default setting, blowing the AI drivers away should be easy enough for even the most spasticated Sunday driver, but increase the difficulty setting and you're the one taking a beating. And it's at this level that the game is best experienced. The car control requires that much more finesse, and the AI drivers are bastards. The end result is a white-knuckle ride that'll stimulate the adrenal gland of even the most jaded racer.
Having said that, though, with the sheer wealth of racing games available on the PSX, the appeal of Need For Speed: V-Rally really comes down to personal interest. If you're more of a CART/F1/weird futuristic kind of a racing dude, it probably won't deliver the thrills you're after. If you like the thought of driving a powerful car off-road, V-Rally's balls-out racing will definitely deliver the goods. If, like me, you really like rallying, it'll blow your socks off.
[ Previous | List Sites | Random Site | Next 5 Sites | Next ]