Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sega Rally Online Arcade: Back In The Saddle Again...

Fixed/Added some of the pictures

Good day to you folks cause I just got done playing the new Sega Rally game out now on Xbox Live and (I assume) Playstation Network.  I already talked about this game before; it's just ten bucks (800 MSP) and it's like a mini-version of Sega Rally Revo.  These are my impressions from playing the game for many hours in a semi-review format.  Let's check it out.

4WD cars FTW GAIZ!~!!

Upon digging into this game, the menus and HUD are identical to Sega Rally Revo's.  Sega Rally Online Arcade is a stripped down version of Revo.  However, the driving engine is supposedly more like Sega Rally 3 which is a good thing since it's more wild and crazy than before (I must plead, however, that I know next to nothing about SR3 so I'm basing this review on my SR Revo experience).  There's only thirteen cars and they include your usual suspects like Subaru Impreza and the Ford Focus.  They also included the Lancia Delta and the Toyota Celica from the original Sega Rally.  Sadly, a few favorites were cut, such as the Lancia Stratos (which grazed the cover of Sega Rally 2) so that kind of sucks.


The strange thing about the game is that 11 of the 13 cars handle exactly the same.  Now this ain't a bad thing because it's just like the OR2 arcade modes--no cars to "exploit" so everything's fair game.  These cars have six gears and top out at about 130 mph (210 kph).  What are the two cars that are different?  Heh...the Lancer and the Celica which have five gears and have a tad bit lower top speed than the rest.  I don't know why they are on a different level from the other cars, but that's just the way it is.  If the issue is the number of gears, look at OutRun 2--some cars have 5 gear, some have 6, but they perform the same anyway.

And to make things more weird, you can't play as these two classic cars online or in standard multi-car races.  It sort of plays out like this--imagine that there's a new Daytona game that has all the cars from Daytona 2, Scud Race, you name it.  However, the Hornet Classic from Daytona 1 can only be used in time trial or in a 1 vs. 1 race on Three-Seven Speedway against another Hornet (SROA uses the standard Desert course from SR1).  So I can see what they were getting at here--they wanted to isolate the original Sega Rally content from the new stuff, but come on man, put the cars together now!

THIS IS NOT ME PLAYING.  See guy messing around with racing wheel before he plays the game.  Gameplay is the same-old same-old but that's not a bad thing.

As for the gameplay, once again, it's mostly the same as Revo--the only real change is the physics engine.  Yes, it still rus at 30 fps so QQ moar.  I haven't played Revo in a long, long time so it's hard to make comparisons.  It's quite good--every turn involves slipping, you can catch air, hit the tarmac, and so forth.  The tread marks on the track are still in effect--drive on them to increase your traction and acceleration.  Use manual transmission and slam into a lower gear to get the car to slow down and kick out from underneath you.  This isn't always necessary since most turns can be taken just by turning hard and watching the car slide under its own inertia.  Like previous Sega Rallies (as well as in Initial D), you can bounce off the invisible walls which slows the car down greatly but doesn't "punish" you like it does in other Sega racers (car glues to wall, flips over, etc.).

Desert drivin'

Regardless of what car you select, the first-person view is still superior since you get a better glance of what's ahead of you.  The car in the lone third-person view just obscures too much of the track, even moreso than in the original Sega Rally (thanks Sega Racing Studio bums).  But in first-person view, turn up the car SFX and listen to that baby run for the full experience!  YEEHAW!!!

SROA's sucky third-person view

Now for the tracks.  There's only five of them and they all look ripped out of SR Revo.  Get used to them because you're gonna play them a lot.  Thankfully, they are good and each is set in a different theme with lots of details.  Also, the challenge comes in different varieties.  Check it out:

Tropical (Beginner): Drive on the beach then through the jungle where you kick up mud.  Catch some major air and stay away from the water puddles.  There's only one broad sweeping turn that requires you to brake/downshift but the rest is smooth sailing.  This track was in SR Revo while the rest were redesigned for this game.

Canyon (Intermediate): Drive across the top of the dam then through a dusty landscape.  You might want to get used to hitting those driving lines right about now because there's a lot of S-bends and maybe two/three points where you want to slow down and take caution.

Alpine (Advanced): Time to hit the Swiss alps.  I kick ass at this course.  First you drive through a lovely little green town with tunnels and hairpins.  Then you drive on wet pavement then downhill through snow.  It's quite delightful.  Sadly, this is the only track that has snow in it.

Lakeside (Expert): This track traverses through the woods, passing by lumberjacks and farm animals.  This just throws the kitchen sink at you and is made even more difficult due to the sunset lighting which turns everything into a sort of green/brownish-hue.  Warning: it has a taxing offroad hairpin that requires you to slow down to 3rd/4th gear so don't fudge it up.

Desert '95 (Bonus): Hey, it's the first track from the original Sega Rally rendered in fancy modern graphics.  There's three jumps in a row, kind of like in Excitebike how you hit the tops of those triangles and go "boiinnnggg, boiinnggg, BOOIINNGG."  Like Tropical, there's only one/two fancy turns while the rest is just top speed the whole way.


There may only be five tracks in the game, but we Sega fans have gotten by on less (see Daytona 1/2 & Scud Race).  This is my greatest disappointment with the game.  Maybe some future DLC would be nice, but I highly doubt it.  But a positive is that with fewer tracks, everyone should be more honed in on mastering those tracks instead of fumbling around with many tracks while saying, "I don't know this track, I can't play it," etc.  So expect some competitive online multiplayer.

Get a little mud on the tires

As for the rest of the game modes, there's one little Championship mode arcade-style where you run through four tracks and try to finish on top.  Then there's free races in split/screen or against the AI as well as Time Trial with the usual leaderboards.  You can crank up the difficulty from "Casual" to "Arcade" to up the AI's abilities if you so feel like it.  Then there's online multiplayer which ain't bad--it's just what you'd expect from a racing game.  Too bad the game's capped at six players max which really sucks but what can you do about it...

...There's just one more thing worth mentioning.  When you finish a race, you get the "Game Over, Yeah!!!" sound clip.  But it's different from the original '95 version--this guy says it an octave higher and I don't like it too much.  But it's no biggie.


Well, that's about it.  Click here for more detailed information on the game.  I already 200/200'd the game so click here for a mini-guide on how to get the achievements.  True story--I was playing online against a real achievement whore (250,000+ points) and he was trying to get the "Win 5 XBL Races" chievo...but not so fast, Slick...I was there to steal those wins away and make him work for the prize.  Maybe I can post "Tips to Win" later.

I just feel somewhat saddened that I took Sega Rally Revo for granted...that game has more cars and tracks but sits on the discount racks.  Oh well, life is hard.

REVIEW SCORE: 8.5.  You can nitpick all you want, but it's a cheap and easy game.  Perhaps an extra track or two (Safari & Arctic maybe) but if you want more content, then just play Revo.  If you're not online or time trialing, the game's over quick so go for the replay value while you can (well, except for Sega racing diehards who like it always...they're like Everlasting Gobstoppers).  Regardless, thanks, Sega and Sumo Digital for putting this out there!  Now you people have no excuse but to try it out.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Eric, nice review! Not sure when I'll get the chance to play this wrapped in work at the moment. Anyway our friends at Raw Thrills have given us a new coin-op racer..Dirty Drivin'. Who needs Initial D 6 when you have this beauty to play...yank the crank & boneshakalaka! @_@

    Worthy of a blog entry

  3. Thanks for the compliment.

    HA, the game looks too nonsensical--I couldn't pay attention to the driving. I think the idea of a "crank" (or at one that works like a 4-gear shifter) might be kind of cool in certain racing games (as opposed to the traditional nub shifter). Let me comment on it later.

    Also, I keep hearing White Zombie's More Human Than Human...why not Black Sunshine? Who cares.

  4. nice sega rally online arcade post!