Game Over Online ~ Colin McRae Rally 2.0

GameOver Game Reviews - Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (c) Ubi Soft, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (c) Ubi Soft
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Tuesday, November 26th, 2002 at 06:50 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Colin McRae is seemingly everywhere in the world of rally racing. From a gamer's standpoint, at least, that's how it seems. It feels like it wasn't too long ago when we saw Colin McRae's name attached to a racing title on one platform or another. The newest title for the Game Boy Advance is Colin McRae 2.0, which implies there must have been an earlier title that I hadn't known of but it's just as good because Colin McRae 2.0 feels like a polished product that's undergone more than a few iterations.

The visuals constitute as the most appealing part of Colin McRae 2.0. Compared to other racers I've seen, the car models in here are a phenomenal improvement. Licensed from real rally vehicles, the whole spectrum from Subaru to Colin's very own Ford Focus is represented here. Mind you, this isn't just any Focus you can buy walking to a Ford dealer (and it most certainly isn't the one that has suffered more than ten recalls so early in its lifecycle!). Moreover, you're allowed the freedom to tweak your cars using rewards accrued with winning races. But you have to be careful, as even repairs to existing subsystems will show up on your bill when you take it to the shop.

On the racetrack, the cars have a certain amount of fullness or volume to them. For any other racing game, most of the time, you'll be looking at the bumper of your vehicle. If end up looking at the front of your vehicle, you know you're doing something horribly wrong. However, for rally style racing, where you constantly swerve left and right, you'll find that the beefier car models react more realistically and you'll see much more than just the rear bumper.

Comparatively speaking, the models here are still crude. The terrain is heavily pixilated and the cars themselves feature very little animation. The tires, for example, look like immobile square blocks. Still, for a handheld title, this title looks sharp and promising. I know many people think we make excuses for handheld titles because ultimately, they are handheld titles. But the screenshots you see for this one are not reflective of the final product. Without the best lighting conditions available, you simply won't see many of the imperfections.

Another beefy part of Colin McRae 2.0 is the depth in the racing available. For starters, you have the rally mode which links different parts of a course together from point A to B; albeit, it never is a straight line between these two points. Conquering the World Rally Championship is done here. The second mode is an arcade mode, where you race in closed racetracks. That means the racing will loop back from beginning to end until you finish a preset amount of laps. However, the path between start and finish is also not a single straight line.

Without an auto-map, rally racing is tough. Some turns are shallow but more often than not, upcoming turns can be very sharp; perilous even, if you're hitting at them at full speed. With the heavily reduced draw distance of the Game Boy Advance, you'll come to depend on Colin's co-driver, Nicky Grist. His instructions are about as exciting as someone narrating a chess match (Rook to E6 type of tone). However, you'll soon find his directions timely and useful in gaining that extra edge when trying to pass a field of sixteen vehicles. The digital voices samples he gives throughout the game effectively provide a heads-up to you for the duration of the race.

Unfortunately, that's only for rally races. During the arcade races, he's completely silent (so are the on-screen turn signals) and a map never materializes, forcing you to memorize all the turns before actually racing; a significant inconvenience.

Another notable drawback is the volume control. There are three streams of audio going at any point during the game (two if you only count the arcade mode). There's the engine's whine. There's also the ambient music, which tries its best to maintain an upbeat mood. Finally, you also have the co-driver voice samples. There's no way to change the volume for each individual stream. The engine, for example, makes the music all but useless, unless you remix your own records with car noises like a recent automobile commercial I keep seeing. Luckily, the co-driver's monotone voice comes out loud and clear above everything else.

Drawbacks aside, Colin McRae 2.0 offers a small glimpse of how intense rally racing can be as you plow through tracks full of gravel, snow, mud and dirt. While it's the first Colin McRae product to hit the Game Boy Advance, it feels like an established title that I hope we'll be seeing on a perennial basis. It's all about anticipation and using the two gas and brake pedals to get some connection going between the driver and machine to achieve a singular goal. That type of special relationship, where the human-machine duo work as one, is what driving is really all about. When you get down to the bottom of it all, rally racing is pretty fun. On the Game Boy Advance, your vehicle or ticket to that fun will most likely be Colin McRae 2.0.


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