Rally Trophy is a more than satisfying Euro-infused trip through rally racing history Even from the opening movie, when you realize all the footage is taken from the in-game engine, you know you’re in for a visual treat. Many games rely on looks to sell themselves, but this one provides cool gameplay to go with it. What’s more, this is a Windows-only racing game, and as such you can’t find it on any console. Lucky us!
A whisk of retro rally nostalgia
You get to drive eleven cars spanning ten years in rally history. Racing gems include the ’64 Mini Cooper S, the ’62 Ford Cortina and the powerful but tricky Lancia Stratos. Many of these cars may be more familiar to European audiences, but it doesn’t take long to feel them out once you hit the gravel. The front wheel drive cars are infinitely easier to handle. Believable physics combined with much-needed force feedback help you keep the horsepower under control. If you don’t have a force feedback controller, however, there often aren’t enough audible cues to warn you when you lose grip.
One great asset lending credibility to the experience is the ability to fine-tune your car for various course conditions. These tuning options can range from selecting between various tire types (suited for gravel, mud, snow or tarmac) to adjusting your suspensions, steering or brake balance. Slow steering, for instance, is better suited for straight roads but becomes useless on some of the more twisted courses. Brake balancing is meant to keep the ratio of braking power equal between the front and rear ends of the vehicle, and is great for adjusting brakes on cars with uneven weight distribution (making sharp turns less of a hazard). The number of available tune-ups you get, as well as repair options in Championship mode, are fairly limited, so you might want to choose wisely.
Gawking at the scenery is almost as much fun as racing. For a 2001 game, Rally Trophy is pretty gorgeous. For better or worse, every roadside object stands out and is a potential hazard. Bulbous rocks protruding from the earth can send your car for a wild ride, almost too easily in some instances, and the courses are packed full of individual trees. All of the terrain is pulled together with excellent texture work to create beautiful vistas covering standard forest, alpine and desert areas.
The brevity of the courses is less satisfying, but the extreme differences in each car’s handling make even the short courses fun. The roads take on new life when you’ve got more power than you know what to do with under the hood. The game has plenty of arcade options, so even the novice player can jump right in and enjoy throwing a Mini around. If you are looking for a diverse lot of cars and some stunningly beautiful roads to drive them on, then Rally Trophy is squarely at the front of the rallying pack.
System Requirements: Pentium 200 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, 8 MB Video, Win 95/98