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Rally Sport Challenge
Platform:  X-Box
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Dice
Publisher:  Microsoft
Features:  Wheel
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://xbox.com
Microsoft brings rally Sport Challenge to you for your X-Box. The people at Dice developed the game and Microsoft did the rest. The game can be played 1-4 players or one person can race with the wheel. The cover of the box shows these hooked up Rally cars and then you start to get psyched. But something happens along the way. It kind of feels like every other game with a wiff of something new and innovative.
In the past the rally games I played leaned toward an arcade type of play like Sega Rally. RSC takes rally to a new level.
The game boasts of the hill climb, rally race, rally cross, and ice racing. The game also has 48 tracks and 29 fully licensed cars. Oh yes there is a multi-player mode. All the events are pretty traditional and true to rally racing. There is nothing really shocking here. The game has an influence from Project Gotham in the sense that in order to progress the user must accumulate a certain amount of points. I have mixed emotions about this style of gameplay. I feel if you win an event you should be able to go to the next event with no hassle. It gets kind of boring if you have to replay a certain series simply because your short 100 points or you get two 1st place positions and one 2nd place position and there are only three races. Also you cannot race a single event if you won the series in order to get extra points. These guys should have looked more at Grand Turismo or Colin McRae for some pointers. This game does have an event that is new to me and that is the ice racing. Life is kind of fun when you get to drive on a lake. I have seen this event a couple of times on TV and thought it was a bit odd, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it in a game.
The tracks start off to be a little easy but soon that is over with. To progress in this game you definitely have to sit down and get ready to get busy. Mistakes are costly as well as frustrating; this game is for rally fans first driving gamers second. The stages are pretty run of the mill and your Co-pilot is hard to understand at first, this game was not made for us Yanks in mind. It could be that most Americans learn how to drag race before they can parallel park. A way this game would have taught U.S. gamers about rally racing is by having a license mode. Maybe not as hardcore as Turismo in the sense you could not enter certain events, but maybe for a bonus car or something. The tracks are not free roaming like in a Smugglers Run, for example, they are too constricted and there is little going on within the environment. If you get a medium sized distance off of the road you will automatically be respawned, fuckin lame. The licensed cars are very cool and do exist somewhere in the world. Where they are parked I cannot say but if someone out there knows please tell me. My favorites are the Pikes Peak cars, as well as the Ford Escort.
The car damage is alright. I wasnít amazed or awed in any sense of the word, maybe that is due to Project Gotham and Iím a bit of a spoiled brat. They could have learned more from this game in that regard. The sound is a bit strange. I like the rumble of the controller but the sound of the car rolling over gravel is missing and this really took away from the game for me. The looseness of the controller is my favorite thing about the game as well as the easy to tune features in which you do not have to go to Apex Technical school to figure out. I feel a steering wheel is what is needed in order to let this game really open up.
Now do I recommend this game to a friend? Sure on one condition, that they are a driving fiend, the type of person who knows the names of the drivers for each vehicle. If they own a Xbox and have played through all the hot titles that are out now and they want something to pass the time Iíll say pick this up. The multi-player is definitely fun so if people who are Xbox owners who want that Grand Turismo two player ruckus Rally Sport Challenge will definitely have that for you.

Jesse Labrocca

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