This isn't your father's Rally-X. OK, wait, it is. Don't be fooled by the name: New Rally-X doesn't mean the same thing that New Super Mario Bros. did. New Rally-X is just an arcade sequel to Rally-X, Namco's maze-filled driving game that was released in 1980. New Rally-X came a year later, in 1981, and it added a few things to the game to make it a little better. This game is now on Xbox Live Arcade, and it has received the standard Namco treatment, meaning most of the achievements are very easy, and it's an accurate emulation of the original game without any serious extras whatsoever. If you're tearing your hair out because there's no other viable way to play New Rally-X, then by all means, pick this one up. But there's not much longevity here for the average player.
New Rally-X puts you in a racecar that's in the middle of a big maze. Your goal is to collect 10 flags in the maze while avoiding enemy cars, which are out to ram you. To aid you in your task, you can press a button to lay out a smoke screen, which stops the chasing cars for a few seconds. But hitting the smoke screen makes you lose fuel a bit faster than it normally drains, and running out of gas is a very bad thing. You've got a radar screen on the right side that shows you where the flags are, but it doesn't show the walls of the maze. So using the standard view of the action and the radar, you need to drive around and get all the flags. Then you move on to the next stage and do it again. There are multiple mazes in the game, but they start to repeat after a dozen or so stages.
Rally-X and its sequel were fine games back in their heyday, but as time passed, they faded from view and never gained the nostalgic attention that other Namco hits, such as Dig Dug and Pac-Man, have. Maybe that's due to the Rally-X games' lack of personality. The cars, the rocks you avoid, the music--it's all fairly lifeless. That said, this is a very accurate rendition of the original game. Namco hasn't inserted any new graphics modes. The only gameplay addition is that you can start new games from any stage you've previously played on. The game also has online leaderboards, which gives you something to struggle for with your friends. Like in every other Xbox Live Arcade game, there are 200 achievement points to earn in New Rally-X. Unlike in most other Xbox Live Arcade games, though, you could easily earn all 200 of New Rally-X's points in under an hour.
If Rally-X and its sequel are among your favorite all-time games, then you might enjoy this game. But compared to the rest of Xbox Live Arcade's offerings, this one's pretty tough to justify. Sure, it's accurate, but New Rally-X was never a terrific game to begin with, so it's just about impossible to get excited about it now.