Review by Drunken Sailor
Reviewed: 02/02/02 | Updated: 02/02/02
An awesome rally game with a few very minor flaws.
When the poor quality racer Test Drive 6 came out, the Test Drive franchise was looking worse than it ever had before. A few great new Test Drive games were needed or else people would simply forget about the series. Luckily, those great new games did come, one in the form of Test Drive V-Rally. V-Rally features loads of cars and tons of tracks in a bunch of different countries. Oh, and did I mention it can be played by up to four players?
In short, V-Rally's gameplay is quite good, but not super. The game offers four modes of play, each with three difficulty levels. Time Trial Mode is fairly self explanatory. You race around the tracks, competing only with yourself. This mode is a good way to learn the tracks while trying to beat your old times. Arcade Mode lets you race against 3 computer drivers, 3 friends, or a mix of both. Your objective is to complete each track within a preset time limit. Once you race on a track in Arcade Mode, you can access it in Time Trial Mode. V-Rally Trophy Mode lets you race against 3 other computer or human drivers. Your goal is the finish all the races with the lowest overall time. Championship Mode is interesting as it is the only mode where your car can get damaged. Again your objective is to finish all the races with the lowest overall time, playing against seven other racers this time. Maybe it's a good thing that drivers must take turns on the track in Championship Mode, because your car can get pretty banged up as it is. After each race you will be given 30 minutes of game time to repair your car. 30 minutes won't always be enough time for your crew to repair your car, so you will have to decide which repairs are most important. A damaged suspension will make staying on the road harder and damaged steering will make controlling your car much more difficult, etc. You will notice your car's performance getting worse throughout the race as it gets damaged when you aren't careful. So think carefully - do you drive slower but more cautiously, or fast and recklessly? It's up to you. V-Rally is as fun as it is visually stunning and great sounding.
Just looking at this game, you can tell it is pushing the Dreamcast to the limit. Be sure to start up V-Rally when your PS2 friends are over, and show them what the Dreamcast can do. The car models are very detailed, and the tracks, backgrounds and roadside objects like people are very clean, detailed and beautifully textured. What's more, this all runs at a blistering 60 frames per second which very rarely slows down a bit. I would give V-Rally's graphics a 10/10 if it weren't for a few small shortcomings. V-Rally has some pop-up and clipping issues. The pop-up is not very noticeable unless you are looking for it. The clipping problems, on the other hand, will be noticed by most people who play this game. Sometimes you will drive right through bushes or stumps without anything happening. Other times you will be a metre or two away from something but your car will crash or swerve like you ran into it. These problems could have been fixed and they are quite disappointing considering how great the rest of the game is.
V-Rally's controls are great but they take some getting used to. These overpowered buggies we call rally cars don't handle at all like the cars in most racing games. You must cleanly powerslide almost every corner to shave off those precious seconds. V-Rally uses the R and L triggers for the gas/break, X as a handbrake, Y to change views, and A and B to change gears.
The sound in this game is almost dead on. The cars sound fantastic, the music is good (it could be louder though) and other sound effects like crashes and crowds sound realistic. You even have a co-driver who tells you about what to expect on the stretch of track ahead. The only problem involves clipping again. You can be far away from objects, yet you still hear the side of your car scraping on them as you drive by.
V-Rally is great but short. I am very good at racing games, and I beat all the modes right through the hardest difficulties in about 5-6 hours. The Time Trial Mode, great Track Editor and Multiplayer options do add another 10+ hours to the game though. For less skilled players, V-Rally is a better value because you will have to practice in Time Trial Mode before you have the skills to proceed further in the other modes.
Reviewer's Tilt: 7.5/10
Test Drive V-Rally is an overall great rally game. The only things that got to me were a few flaws mentioned above, the shortness (for me at least) and that the multiplayer mode wasn't that great unless I played with a friend who likes rally racing as much as I do.
Overall Score: (A rounded average): 8/10
Test Drive V-Rally is a great rally racing game with a few small flaws that don't really take away from the game at all.
-Great graphics and sound
-16 official rally cars and 10 bonus cars
-Over 80 tracks with varying weather conditions in 12 different countries
-Cool track editor
-Multiple driving views and a Create-a-view feature.
-Some pop-up and clipping issues
-Maybe be a little short for more skilled gamers
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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