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AcidJazz
08-23-2002, 09:57 AM
Originally posted byRicardo Torres, GameSpot VG
The rally racing subgenre hasn't seen as many titles as traditional racing has since it first appeared in arcades years ago. To date, the Sega Rally series and the Colin McRae games have been the most respected entries in this increasingly popular subgenre. The high standards set by both franchises have cast a long shadow that, until very recently, has caused most developers to steer clear of making similar games. UK developer Climax Brighton is aiming to inject some new blood into console rally racing with its upcoming rally-style racer Rally Fusion: Race of Champions. The game, which will be published by Activision in the US across all platforms, will offer a blend of the technical racing elements found in the McRae series and the more accessible gameplay of mainstream racers like Sega Rally. We got to look over the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game recently, and we found it to be quite promising.
Rally Fusion will offer a meaty selection of game modes in which to perfect your driving skills. You'll find three main modes--race of champions, challenge, and quick race--each with its own unique array of gameplay types to choose from. The race of champions mode will challenge you to win two competitions, champion of champions and the nation's cup, both of which feature three levels of difficulty: intermediate, advanced, and professional. The challenge mode presents you with a series of competitions that also feature three levels of difficulty: class C, class B, and class A. As you make your way through the competitions, you'll end up playing through 10 challenges in total, some of which we had the opportunity to play.
"Rally" is a basic endurance race that requires you to complete a set number of laps around a track. "Circuit" is a similar type of race with the added challenge of AI opponents. "Rally cross" is a circuit-style race set on a rally course. "Driving challenge" involves a traditional time-attack-style race on an obstacle course. "Hill climb" also challenges you to turn in the best time in a race, but in this case you'll find yourself going up a mountain that features steep drops for reckless drivers. "Elimination" is a unique survival-style race to preset checkpoints, and it pits you against AI opponents on circuit and rally courses. The catch to this challenge is that the driver in last place is eliminated at each checkpoint. "Follow the leader" requires you to hold first place in a race against AI opponents. In this challenge, your car will be assigned a health bar that will drain whenever you're not in the lead, similar to the mechanic in the Tokyo Extreme Racer games. "Head-to-head" is a race against an opponent across circuit and rally courses. The ninth challenge, aptly called "the race," is a cumulative test of your driving skills, as you and your opponent will be on an equal plane, driving the same car.

The last challenge to unlock is the "race of champions" challenge, which is a tournament-style race that's broken up into three heats that test your skill in the same vein as the head-to-head challenge. This time out, the challenge is increased through the inclusion of more AI opponents. Clearing each challenge in this mode will earn you two types of trophies--a standard one for each challenge and a few extra that are tied to your performance. For example, you'll earn the "wrecker" trophy the first time you wreck your car.
The final game mode, quick race, is a bit different from the quick race options found in similar racing games. While you'll still be able to hop into a race with just a few button presses, the mode will also let you unlock more cars and tracks. Quick race will feature 11 challenges that you'll unlock by successfully completing them. "Rally" will require you to make it through a rally course and break its speed record. "Rally cross" throws opponents into the race for first. "Circuit" offers the same challenge on a circuit course. "Elimination" offers the same survival challenge as the one found in race of champions mode. "Extreme hill climb" is a nerve-racking variation on the hill climbing challenge that is complicated by opponents who'll crowd you and possibly bump you off the hill. "Follow the leader" is the same as the one in race of champions. "Relay" is a race broken up into two parts. After the first lap, you'll have to stop your car in a special zone in order to let the a second driver finish the competition. "Checkpoint" is a standard arcade-style challenge that has you racing to finish first before the clock runs down, and reaching set checkpoints will reward you with more time on the clock. "Custom championship" lets you create your own unique race challenges by mixing and matching race types from a selection. "World tour" is an endurance challenge that has the time constraints of the checkpoint challenge but spreads the races across four different locations. While the time constraint is a definite hurdle, damage to your car is another serious obstacle, as it will affect your car's performance and make it difficult to reach all the checkpoints. The final challenge is "world tour extreme," which adds up everyone's lap times at the end of the race and awards victory to the racer with the lowest overall time.
Making it through Rally Fusion's various modes and the challenges they offer should be a manageable task thanks to the game's accessible gameplay and control. Racing fans and gamers new to the rally racing genre should be able to quickly get a handle on the game, which mixes arcade-style gameplay with more technical elements found in straightforward racing sims. While you'll find the physics to be more forgiving than those of a sim, you'll still have to draw on some driving skill to get the drop on your opponents. Damage to your car becomes a significant factor in your car's handling, as it has a negative impact on your car's performance.
Graphically, Rally Fusion is looking quite sharp, even in its unfinished state. The highly detailed courses feature a generous polygon budget complemented by clean textures and a pleasing amount of trackside details such as spectators and waterfalls. Weather effects such as rain are being implemented and are a nice touch. The cars themselves are looking pretty plush, and they look great when they're in pristine condition at the start of a race and when they're all banged up at the end. The game's damage model is extensive and allows for an insane amount of deformation as a car gets banged up. If your driving skills are lacking, expect to see a lot of shattered glass and auto parts hanging off your car. In spite of the impressive detail and high-speed insanity onscreen, the game's frame rate stayed high in the PlayStation 2 build we played, which was nice to see.
So far, Rally Fusion: Race of Champions is coming together pretty well. The solid amount of detail, the high frame rate, and the meaty assortment of challenges to work through bode well for the game's final release. If Climax can ensure the game stays headed in the same direction, it should be a game rally fans will want to check out. Rally Fusion: Race of Champions is set to ship this winter for the PlayStation 2. The game will also ship for the GameCube and Xbox at the same time.

http://www.gamefaction.com/xbox/screenshots/rallyfusion/ss1.jpg
http://www.gamefaction.com/xbox/screenshots/rallyfusion/ss4.jpg
http://www.gamefaction.com/xbox/screenshots/rallyfusion/ss3.jpg

Climax is bringing another A++ title to Xbox. After their overwhelming success with MotoGP, it looks like I'll be picking this title a soon as it's available.

AcidJazz
08-23-2002, 10:03 AM
More screenshots:

http://www.thexboxstop.com/games/r/rallyfusionraceofchampions/rallyfusion_073002_09.jpg

http://www.thexboxstop.com/games/r/rallyfusionraceofchampions/rallyfusion_073002_03.jpg

http://www.thexboxstop.com/games/r/rallyfusionraceofchampions/rallyfusion_073002_05.jpg

http://www.thexboxstop.com/games/r/rallyfusionraceofchampions/rallyfusion_073002_12.jpg

http://www.thexboxstop.com/games/r/rallyfusionraceofchampions/rallyfusion_073002_06.jpg


Looks like Rally fans will have something to entertain themselves with this fall...

AcidJazz
08-23-2002, 10:11 AM
Features and Cars:

Experience a new dimension in rally driving. Engine screaming, hair raising action and super-realistic features put you in the driving seat. Now you can:

- Flip your pro-rally car, smash your screen, pile headlong into a tree. And walk away.
- Scare the hell out of your co-driver
Trounce your mates in multi-player mode
- Grind, slide and skid your way through 20 tracks and 9 huge environments including rain forests, arctic glaciers, desert dunes and tropical islands
- Check out up to 20 kick-ass cars including Peugeot, Mitsubishi, Ford and Audi
- Show over 30 world-class drivers from past and present how to drive
- Players must put their skills to the ultimate test as they battle it out of for the ‘Race of Champions’ crown

The Cars:
There are a total of up to 20 different vehicles in the game each with their own unique handling and statistics that affect their speed, acceleration, braking, steering. These are divided into 3 distinct categories which become unlocked as the game progresses:

Class C - This level of difficulty consists of a range of smaller cars, including both classic rally and more up to date cars: Ford Escort Mk 1, Opel Kadett, Toyota Rav 4, Formula France, RoC Buggy
Class B - This level of difficulty consists primarily of cars that have featured in the World Rally Championship throughout its history: Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Peugeot 206, Toyota Celica GT4, Lancia Delta Integrale, Peugeot 306, Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, Seat Cordobra
Class A - Also more widely known as Group B cars. This level consists of cars that are no longer eligilble for the World Rally Championships due to the fact that have are so powerful that most of them have been banned at some point:Audi Quattro, Opel Manta, Saab 93 Turbo, Lancia 037, Peugeot 205, Lancia Stratos