Rally Championship Xtreme
Score: 6.9 / 10
speed is a difficult thing to do on a computer game.
Rally Championship Xtreme (RCX) manages to do it very well.
It also manages to present some of the most interesting
environments and racing conditions I’ve come across in recent memory.
You’ll race through the Scottish country side, through loading
docks, and across desert sand – your car responding realistically to
the various bumps and crags in the “road” and whatever modifications
you’ve made to the car settings (like gear ratio, ride height, etc.).
The graphics are fantastic – great sprays of gravel, realistic
body damage, interesting tracks, and other environmental highlights like
hang gliders and wind generators going about their work.
At times you’ll get caught up in the action and could swear
you’re watching the event on TV.
RCX is one cool game!
you say, “Omni, if it’s so good, why’d you only give it a 6.9?”
get ahead of me, I’m getting to that – don’t rush me!
it’s got the flimsiest manual for a game of this type I’ve come
across. There are just the
bare bones – no good explanations for just about everything (including
how to successfully unlock the cars and tracks).
It does include a couple of pages of driving tips but I know
there’s got to be more for such a complex driving event.
Secondly, the menu interface is clunky.
Reassigning keys is cumbersome at best – and the manual makes a
mistake when it says “Esc/P” controls the “in-game pause
function.” Well, “P”
does it just fine but “Esc” doesn’t do a damn thing.
Once you’ve picked one of the play modes (Championship, Arcade,
Quick Play, Challenge, or Multiplayer) you’ll start to feel more at
It’s just you and your co-pilot shooting down rugged roads like a bat out of hell, racing from checkpoint to checkpoint, trying to best your opponents’ times (or just get to the next checkpoint in Arcade mode). If that’s not home I don’t know what is! But I wanted to leave home after 4 straight days of heavy playing and not climbing high enough in the standings to move onto the next rally event. Rallies are linear – you must successfully finish in the standings so you can move onto the
next. RCX is not an easy game. There isn’t even a difficulty setting, so you can expect to replay rally after rally in an effort to trim more time off, searching for whatever shortcuts you can find. Fortunately, the wide-open nature of rally racing does offer the chance to cut through fields or perform some demented skid-turns. The cutting-through-fields method turned out to be the only way I could finish high enough in the standings to continue.
are lots of real world cars to drive – from the Scoda Octavia to the
VW Golf – but many of them have to be unlocked.
Due to the challenge of the game, unlocking them is one tough
thing to do. And getting
the other rally tracks unlocked doesn’t make sense.
After (finally) finishing the Scottish (first) rally high enough
to move on, I couldn’t access the new rally under other game types,
like Quick Play or Arcade. I
turned to the manual and learned . . . nothing.
through each rally you get the chance to repair various aspects of your
car or make modifications to your specs.
You can also save during these mid-points.
However, when you load a game, even if it was saved after
you’ve fixed up your car, it loads to before you made those repairs
forcing you to make the changes again.
This gets aggravating real fast when you screw up and want to
start over. Plus, there’s
no “restart race” option – you have to abort the race then back
out to the main menu to load a game.
Too many steps!
it really sounds like you didn’t enjoy RCX.”
answer is yes, and no. As I
said before, the physics and graphics are great.
And not enough can be said of the body damage modeling.
Losing a wheel isn’t uncommon on a big collision, not to
mention the various pieces that splinter off as you clip a tree or lose
control and get airborne off a rock.
The actual racing portion of RCX is a lot of fun – it’s even
neat to watch the replays. (And don't forget multiplayer over Internet
and LAN.) If the problems
of the menu interface, the all-to thin manual, and lack of variable
difficulty were addressed before I got a hold of it, Rally Championship
Xtreme would have scored much higher.
it is, Rally Championship Xtreme is a mixed experience – but I’m
hoping that a sequel (or at least some kind of patch) will make it more
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