Review by Actual Simulation
"A sports game, not a racing game!"
Being a rally fan in North America sucks most of the time, even on cable it's hard to catch a rally on television! So when it comes to games, we rarely get a rally series that lasts at long as Colin Mcrae. We are now up to the fourth game, and it fixes many of the problems from the third.
The graphics here are very nice, the car models in particular are simply amazing! The real time damage system works like a charm; cracked windows, bumped doors, missing mirrors, dragging tailpipes, open doors, missing wheels, flat tires, broken bumpers and smoke coming out of the radiator. Everything is there! And it's no cheap trick either, if you bump the rear end of your car into a fence, your tail light will break only where it would in real life. The damage physics are very realistic and it's one of the games best features. As for the tracks, they are fairly nice, although they often lack detail. A few more objects or better backgrounds would have been nice on a few rallies. Oh, and the game treats us to old-school cardboard cutout crowds, just like in the old days!
Sound and music:
There really isn't much music to talk about, but there are quite a few sounds! The sound effects are well done and change throughout the course depending on how badly damaged your car is, which is a nice addition. The cockpit view provides the best sound experience, as rocks it the bottom of the car and grass swooshes by as high speed. It makes for some good gaming.
You get to choose a car and class to enter in the championship mode (more on that later), a standard arcade/time trial mode where you can race a single stage or a whole rally and a pretty decent multiplayer mode. The championship consists of at least 6 stages per rally and about 6-7 rallies in a championship. There are 6 different championships in all, which makes for a pretty long game. The physics are improved over the third game, although it's still a pivot system. A pivot system is when the car turns on a single point in the middle of the car. The control is better because of camera tricks however, so why complain? The tracks are very fast and full of curves and hairpins, so you'll need to stay focused to win, and the higher difficulties are very well balanced. Colin Mcrae is a lot of fun to drive, and it sees itself as a motor-sports game, not a racing game.
The championships will keep you going for a while, but the time trials is where the fun starts, beating your own time by a few tenths of a second is pretty exciting if you give it a chance. A good amount of cars and parts to unlock adds to the fun. Unlocking the parts is sort of fun in itself, as you play different mini-games to win the prized part, like wrecking your suspension as much as possible to unlock the stronger ones!
A must-buy for a rally fan, highly recommended for racing fans and not recommended for people who only like racing when other cars are on the track (this is not your cup of tea, believe me!). And it's budget priced too, so there is no reason not to get this game!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/15/04
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