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Colin McRae Rally 2.0
Ford Focus - SwedenWorld Rally Championship winner Colin McRae is back and does his laps on the virtual stage for the second time. While the first installment belonged to the best the rallying genre had to offer, Colin McRae Rally 2.0 tops it all again. More cars, more stages and a considerably improved driving feeling did convince even me, although I don't count rally games among my favorites. No matter how much the Need for Speed series shows off with its brilliant graphics, it won't come up to the likes of Colin McRae Rally 2.0. What's more, the game is no superficial fun racer like the Screamer series but does have its qualities away from the track as well. That makes it appealing to both novices and professionals alike.
Ford Focus - Great BritainThe graphics are the game's strength and weakness at the same time. At the highest level of detail, the cars are gorgeously animated and resemble their real models astonishingly enough. By customizing the level of detail and the resolution, you can start racing with a Pentium and 300 MHz. While driving, you can opt for different camera angles, although the one from behind offers the best survey of the track ahead. A realistic damage system displays shattering windows or backlights and dented wings. On muddy surfaces the car dirties visibly. You also have to brave the tracks during rain and snowfall, as well as during nightfall or - my favourite - highly atmospheric sunsets. The eight countries have been designed according to their individual characteristics.
However, herein lies the grahpics' weakness. Codemasters seems to have neglected the details away from the road, since scrubs, trees or even the spectators consist of 2D bitmaps, which at closer inspection appear quite ugly and cheap. Houses, farms or animals are only rarely seen. But it has to be said that you'll notice such details only when gawking wide-eyed at the spectacular replays. High-speed camera drives, unusual angles and fast cuts give you the impression of sitting in front of the TV screen.
Rally modes:
Subaru Impreza - SetupThe game has more rally modes on offer than the first installment. As a novelty, you can now choose between the rally and the arcade mode. When opting for the latter, you compete with up to five other drivers at several circuits and can also start a championship. But even the second of three difficulty levels requires you to know both car and stage by heart. Single races and time trials are also available in the arcade mode.
The core piece of Colin 2 is once more the normal rally mode. Apart from single rally, single stage and time trial, the championship is the most important part of the game. In Finland, Greece, Sweden, France, Australia, Kenya, Italia or Great Britain you have to drive between 4 and 11 stages per country, depending on the difficulty level. After every second stage you are allowed to save the game, to get some information on the following stages, as well as to repair the car or change its settings at the Service Area. Within 60 minutes, you can, for example, change the tyres, alter the gear ratio or the suspension and, of course, repair everything including the body and the turbo. The more damage the car has sustained, the lower its overall performance. In the later stages, the car settings become increasingly vital, provided that you want to be awarded 12 points and the country's gold medal. Bumpy stages, for example, require a higher suspension, slippery ones a reduced break power, or winding ones a shorter gear ratio. It's up to you whether you drive with a manual or an automatic transmission, by the way. The last rally mode, the Challenge, lets you compete with random cars in a knockout tournament at Super Special Stages - until you have hopefully kicked all your competitors out of the game.
Cars & countries:
Subaru Impreza - AustraliaThe eight countries' stages differ immensly. While you race through extensive forests in Filand, the dusty and winding tracks of Greece make the car's handling more difficult. Sweden's snow-covered stages confront you with slippery and even frozen surfaces, which are the complete opposite to the well-gripping tarmac tracks of France. Australia's and in particular Kenya's very fast stages enable a longer gear ratio. However, Italia's extremely winding mountain roads will stretch your driving abilities to the limit - both gear box and breaks will end up steaming. In rainy Great Britain, the tracks become faster and thus easier again, although you drive on various surfaces. What's striking about it is that you don't have to memorize the tracks but can rely on your co-driver's comments on the difficulty of the upcoming sections, which are visualized as well. In the English version, the comments are spoken by Colin McRae's real co-driver.
At the beginning, you can only choose from four countries for training purposes, but with every won gold medal another country is unlocked. The same is true for the difficulty level - the expert mode has to be unlocked through hard work - and for the cars. The range of cars is quite balanced. Whether McRae's Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla or Mitsubishi Lancer, it's possible to drive reasonable times with all of them. Only the Seat Cordoba doesn't come up to the other cars' performance. As bonus cars you can unlock the wonderfully old-fashioned Ford Mustang and the Ford Puma. Besides this, you can unlock several cheats with every gold medal won in the second difficulty level. However, they are more fun than useful (as for example the fireball with which you can shoot at your competitors in the arcade mode).

Colin 2.0,
Demo version

Rally game



very good

very good

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Pros & cons:
Peugeot 206 - GreeceColin McRae Rally 2.0 is pure driving fun despite some minor flaws. The lack of detail away from the road and the fact that some stages are simply mirrored to give the game more artificial depth, give reason for criticsm. There are only minor differences in handling the cars and the in-car view makes the game unplayable and looks crappy as well.
But why stop to look at those petty flaws? The principle of unlocking keeps you glued to the screen for more hours than you might have anticipated, since the game produces ever new tracks and cars the more you play. The tracks themselves range from easy to bloody difficult and in particular the stages bathed in soft light by the sunset exude an unparalleled atmosphere. Your helpful co-driver facilitates driving considerably. But also the cars themselves as well as the ingenious replays have TV quality. And, of course, the driving feeling is without comparison - it's highly satisfying to master a difficult hairpin bend by skillfully drifting through it without using the brakes. In Sweden and Great Britain, powerslides are commonplace which is why I like these motivating stages most. Even if you hate racing games, you'll love Colin 2. Well, start the engines, please!
© 01-02-2001 by CE