It was only fitting that the rally sims which carry Colin McRae’s name should be the most exciting to play. Colin McRae Rally 1 and 2 were huge successes, and the recently reviewed 3 (see last month’s issue) is even better.
But, as in the real rally world, so in virtual reality: McRae finds himself under pressure and with something to prove. For rival game WRC II Extreme (£39.99) has taken the genre to the next stage.
The honest truth is that Extreme is more fun. The new McRae game is perhaps more accurate, requiring a neat driving style and a close car on the notes, but I’m not trying to keep pace with Marcus Gronholm, I’m trying to get bumper to-bumper traffic out of my system. And that means Olympian opposite lock and grandiose handbrake turns. Extreme reminds me of the joyously abandoned Colin McRae 1 in this respect — only with much, much better graphics. The McRae crown has been toppled.
Despite the quality of these rally offerings, however, both are meant to supplicate on bended knee before the king: GT Concept (£39.99), the update of Gran Turismo. This has always been held up as being the most realistic strand of the lot, and judging by how many times I clanged off the Armco in my Gulf-liveried GT40, that’s probably true. I stuck with it, however, and found it very rewarding. The problem I have with it, though, is the bewildering choice of options: if you want a gamer to drive a Renault Clio, why provide the option of a GT40, or full-spec Skyline? Like most men, I chose not to road the instructions and plunged straight in at the highest level possible.
This is a great game — pukka braking distances and all — but give me some gravel or snow (and a bit more elbow room) any day of the week. PF