It's an inviting, fast-paced, technical rally game that offers enough replay value and features to satiate any racing audience.
Many moons ago, V-Rally 2: Need for Speed appeared on Sony's PlayStation console. It featured 84 tracks, 27 cars, a track editor, four-player simultaneous action, and some of the best-looking visuals of any PlayStation racing title. In tandem with excellent rally-style gameplay, V-Rally 2 was the best contender for top honors next to Sony's Gran Turismo and Namco's Ridge Racer series of games. Though released by Electronic Arts, V-Rally 2 was actually developed by Infogrames. Now that Infogrames is a powerhouse in its own right, it has chosen to revamp V-Rally 2 for the Dreamcast, dubbing it Test Drive V-Rally.
On the surface, Test Drive V-Rally appears to be a duplicate of the PlayStation release, offering the same cars, the same tracks, and the same basic gameplay. There are 17 initial cars and ten bonus cars, separated into the four categories of World Rally, 2L kit cars, 1.6L kit cars, and bonus cars. V-Rally 2's original selection of 84 tracks returns, spread across three racing modes: arcade, trophy, and championship. Arcade resembles Sega Rally in execution, offering floaty gameplay and forgiving physics. The trophy mode bumps up the difficulty, adding in copious U-turns and a variety of weather conditions. It then follows that the championship mode takes things even further, enrolling you in a multistage series of races, with midstage repairs and brutal driving conditions playing major roles in your success. A time trial rounds out the list of racing modes, a track editor is available for when you tire of the game's stock tracks, and four-player support remains. This also happens to be where Test Drive V-Rally's duplication of V-Rally 2 ends.
Although the tracks and vehicles remain unchanged from the PlayStation release, Infogrames has beefed up the game's control, gameplay, and visual repertoire. Test Drive V-Rally offers responsive controls, slippery driving, and plenty of mind-altering crashes. Thanks to the Dreamcast's analog triggers, the game now sports analog acceleration, offering a great amount of acceleration adjustment for the game's sharp twists and turns. Admittedly, after you choose a car and set out on the initial arcade tracks, you may find the game easy. The computer opponents rarely fight, the turns aren't overly sharp, the weather is pleasant, and your copilot gives you ample warning before you reach upcoming corners. Things become more interesting as you progress, however - opponents become smarter, weather turns inclement, your copilot turns into a babbling idiot, and tracks evolve into a bizarre mess of heinous U-turns. You needn't concern yourself with vehicular damage in the arcade or trophy modes, though, and if you defeat each of their three levels, you'll even earn six new cars to your credit.
To acquire the game's final four vehicles, you'll need to complete each of the time trials and conquer the championship mode. In this mode, CPU opponents are smarter and vehicular damage is a greater factor. Between each segment, of which there are usually two or three, you'll need to spend precious time repairing your car. Waste too much time and you'll end up behind in the next segment. Thankfully, from the Citroen Xsara and Mitsubishi Lancer to the Ford Focus and Lancia Stratos, each of the game's 27 vehicles offers its own unique blend of speed and handling characteristics. For tweak fans, you can also alter a car's suspension, tire type, gearbox ratio, shocks type, brake distribution, and steering responsiveness. Think of it as Sega Rally with a smidgen of Gran Turismo thrown in. The gameplay is dead on, the control is adjustable via vehicle modification, the car variety is excellent, and the track design is clever without being aggravating - all signs of racing game greatness.
- Player Reviews: 1
- Game Universe:
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- Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open (PS2, XBOX),
- Le Mans 24 Hours (PS2, PC),
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- Test Drive: Off-Road 3 (PC, PS, DC),
- Test Drive 5 (PC, PS),
- Test Drive Unlimited (PS3, X360, PSP, PS2, PC)