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Playstation 2












E (Everyone)



Q3 2002


- Good AI

- Good Physics

- Good Controls



- Weak Visuals

- Weak Sound

- Poor Track Design



Review: Rally Fusion (Playstation 2)



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GTC Africa

Score: 6.7/10


Sometimes a more arcade-styled approach to an established racing game sub-genre can be a breath of fresh air, taking us away from the stringent rules and car handling of the dedicated simulations.  Unfortunately GTC Africa is not one such instance, as it comes off as a ho-hum excursion into the world of Rally Car racing.  Poor graphics, limited car selection, and arbitrary track design mar the experience greatly, which is quite frustrating when there are some very nice qualities present in the game as well.


gtc-africa-1.jpg (14210 bytes)          gtc-africa-2.jpg (9198 bytes)

The second the first race loaded up it was easy to see what the game has in store.  The visuals are somewhat stale when compared to the competition.  There just isnít much texturing, reflection and lighting look like a last minute afterthought, and there is just a general lack of detail present in the car models.  The environments fair somewhat better, but itís still hit and miss there too.  On the one hand there are some mountain and jungle terrain that actually looks quite pretty, and when the cars kick up dust on the dry dirt tracks they do a good job of obscuring the playerís view of the track.  Other times the environments look they were slapped together in a few minutes as a haphazard attempt to lengthen the game.  At least no problems arise in terms of frame rate (which is actually quite good), a definite must in a racing game, but other than that the visuals just fall flat.  Iím all for a strong sense of speed and a rock solid frame rate, but if the result is the overall quality of the graphics taking this significant of a hit, maybe itís best to reconsider the whole approach to the visuals in the game.  Making the whole aesthetic of GTC Africa even worse is that the sound is no better.  The cars sound stale, and the music may as well not even be there it is so ineffectual at pulling the player deeper into the game.




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The main problem with this game, though, is the track design.  Every once in a while a nice course comes along in GTC Africa that has the twists and turns lined up in logical, organic style, but a lot of the time the tracks are setup in an entirely too arcade-like fashion.  Turns are seemingly thrown in with little to no thought as to them all working to form some sort of overall scheme.  In most other Rally racers on the market thereís a method to the madness and the hard turns and 


straight-aways flow into one another with purpose so players can get into a groove and the whole experience is that much more enjoyable.  Here the tracks are about as logical as a lot of what could be found in a 16-bit kart racer, just without the cutesy super deformed characters.

gtc-africa-3.jpg (14054 bytes)          gtc-africa-4.jpg (6361 bytes)

But it isnít all doom and gloom here, as there are two areas that stand out for their quality in GTC Africa.  Firstly there is the car physics.  All of the different vehicles do a good job of providing that barely in control feeling that is essential in any good Rally racer.  Itís easy to whip the back end of a car around when going into a tight turn and with some practice hitting the gas just right as you exit it results in cutting some precious fractions of a second off your time with relative ease.  This combined with the tight controls of the game make maneuvering the cars an easy, satisfying affair.  Be warned though, because the physics can come back to bite you on the behind since your speed will tank if you swerve to far off the track and hit the extremely rough shoulders.

The other strong point in the game is the AI, as the computer-controlled opponents are absolutely relentless in trying to beat you.  What was particularly nice to see was that there is more than one car at any time trying to overtake the player.  GTC Africa is not like other racers where only one car presents a challenge, while the rest are nothing more than a large place holding wolf pack.  If you are in first place and the car behind you gets by there are still plenty more cars behind you that are more than happy to push you even further into the back of the pack.

In the end, though, what weíre left with is a title that had a lot of potential, but some core flaws really brought down the whole experience.  However, the game does only retail for about $30US, and for a relatively new PS2 game you canít beat that price with a bag of hammers.  So, if you have more money than you know what to do with, this may be a worthwhile impulse buy.  However, if you have to be careful of where every penny you have goes when it comes to game purchases, youíd be better off looking elsewhere for your fix of Rally Sport.

- Mr. Nash

(September 4, 2002)

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