Rally Championship

Review: Rally Championship

Are racing games like Mario Kart not your cup of tea, do you want something with a lot less "power-ups" and a lot more realistic driving? And are you a fan of Rally racing? If so then you must be considering buying this game "Rally Championship" for your GameCube. Featuring 25 licensed cars divided into four classes, and 33 stages spread out over 6 Rallies (of course only a few are available from the start) Rally Championship is the first Rally game for your GameCube, so how does it fair….


Visually this is one good looking game. All the stages are built and designed very well and almost everything looks very real with lots of detail and full of things like trees, bushes, and rocks to bring the stages to life. I said almost because although things like trees and bushes help with visual display you can't help but notice the branches and leaves on the trees and the bushes themselves are 2D images. From time to time in parts of each stage small groups of fans will stand to cheer you on, which would be good if they weren't lifeless blocky 3D models that don't even move. Even if they would wave, similar to 2D crowds in wrestling games it might have given the impression of a crowd cheering you on as you zoom past them.

The cars themselves are the best looking things in the game as you would expect. All modelled perfectly and real enough to have your father for example to walk in while your trying to select your car and think you're watching a car display show. But do not expect your car to be as shiny and clean when you finish the race even if you don't sustain damage. As you drive dust and/or mud will gradually build up on your car which really gives that realistic feel while driving. And as for the damage that can be done to the car by crashing into, well anything really, it is all done very nicely (in fact the car companies are probably regretting giving their car licences to Warthog Studios just thinking about people using their cars and crashing them and damaging them completely). However the damage can not be seen too well in gameplay due to the camera. The only view where you can see the damage best is the behind the car view but the only damage you can see is damage done to the back, but sometimes it is cool to see the back bumper hanging off or the back lights smashed off. So unless you crash and go into a tumble you won't get much a view of damage done anywhere else until you finish the race and want to watch the reply.


As normal with racing games you have all the generic car, crash, birds in tress and crowd sounds in place. And as it's a rally game you of course have the "ever helpful" voice of your Co-driver. You can choose to have a male or female voice give you the directions, either way there's not much difference in terms of you understanding what they say, if you find one says something that you can't quite understand it'll be the same with the other. For example when I first played and was told "turn left onto lose gravel" I thought they were saying "turn left onto blue scrabble", yes very different which lead to a number of crashes I can tell you. That aside another more important thing that will confuse you is sometimes you'll be given instructions or warnings too early which could lead to a bit of confusion as most likely a time consuming crash. But things really get confusing when the co-driver starts giving a long list of instructions and warnings that can cause you to lose concentration on your driving if you're trying to remember what they said. In fact you may find yourself ignoring them most of the time. The games backing tracks are nothing special to say the least, a few generic techno and dance songs, nothing commercial from any bands in fact once you start the race you don't even take note of the music unless you wanna stop and listen, which if you do you won't do again.


In the one player mode you have a number of play modes; those are Quick Rally, Arcade, Career and Pace Race Car.

The main mode for one player is the Career mode, here you're given enough money to buy yourself one car, and the catch is all you can afford is one of the four "Privateer" cars (There are four classes of cars, Privateer, 1600, 2000 and Pro). Decide which car to buy and you can compete in one of two currently available "Local Rallies" (Scotland and Africa), each of these rallies will have two stages for you to compete in. However you will only gain prize money for finishing in the top 3 "Overall" standings. That is as the old saying goes, easier said than done, especially when you first play. When you first play don't expect to be winning rallies right away, take your first race or twenty to get used to the controls, the handling of the car and stages you're racing on. I'll go more into the aspect in Playability later, but back on topic here. When you do start winning cash and finally earn enough money to buy a car in the next class (1600) you can either race the Local Rallies again with the prize money slightly increasing or you can now take part in the "Rally Championship", here you'll race through a number of Rallies depending on your class of car (If in the 1600 class it's four rallies each with three stages). Finish a rally in the top 6 overall standings and earn yourself some points, the higher you are the more points, and go onto the next rally these points are then totalled after each rally. Finish the Championship in the top three to earn more cash for your wallet and the prize money here is substantially better than that in the Local Rallies.

Arcade mode speaks for itself I'd think, you should know what this is, start a race with a certain amount of time and drive to the checkpoints before the timer runs out in a bid to get to the finish line and you'll be able to go onto another stage. You'll start off on an "Amateur" difficulty in which you can choose to race in a 1600 class car, finish all stages and you can move to a higher difficulty and choose to race in the 2000 class of cars and so on.

In Quick Rally mode you pick a car and a stage, race and that's it. Just a little something if you feel like a drive but just don't want to go through a whole rally. You can race in a car from all classes but most of the cars in the higher classes will locked until you earn the cash in Career to but a car from that class. In Race Pace Car you'll race against a ghost car of your best time for that stage, this mode will be handy for finding the best car for each stage.

However the one player mode is far from perfect, until you can get used to the controls and handling you'll either be crashing out allot and/or finishing in the lower ranks and can be very frustrating especially if it leaves you stuck with a "Privateer" car in the Local Rallies. Once you do start to win races there is some sense of satisfaction coming first, winning rallies and prize money but this soon wears out and you'll soon find yourself bored and mindlessly driving and not really caring much at all.

One good detail is that you can feel some slight differences between the handling of each car, and even more so when moving through the different classes, this will mean you may have to do some experimentation to find the right cars for you.The car crashes try to look realistic but really go over the top sometimes. The slightest knock off a piece of scenery could send you into a massive spin that could have your car spin out of control 5 or 6 times. And if that slight knock doesn't send you into multiple donuts it may likely send you into a flip and tumble, and that just doesn't seem right. And most strangely of all when on a straight and you start to slide and wriggle on the track, you're still moving in a very straight line somehow with only a small drop in speed.

Before you start a race you're able to adjust a number of things like Gear Ratios, Suspension, and Ride Height etc. But only adjustments made to Tyre Type and Tyre Thread seem to make any difference to the cars handling. Also where things damage are concerned with affecting gameplay, it doesn't. Things such as suspension, steering and tyres can be damaged but when they are you feel no difference in the cars handling. This can be almost proved it seems in the multi-player mode when you can smash the car up as much as possible and never see a damage sign appear.

Driving at night can be quite difficult and the headlights only seem to go against you more than help you see. They don't seem to shine enough in front of you to give a proper view of what's coming, and you tend to concentrate more on the area lit up by them so you may not see things like rocks or tress close to the edge of the track and you could easily drift into them and crash. It's actually easier most times driving at night without the headlights for the most part things aren't too difficult to see anyway, unless you end up in an area covered by trees and or hills.

Speaking of multi-player, Rally Championship is most defiantly a game best played with four players. There's nothing like gathering round the TV trash talking with your mates as the countdown starts then hitting the gas and tearing round the course. And best of all you don't need to unlock cars for multi-player as they will all be available for you. If you get do somehow get tried of the normal racing you could always just line your cars up at opposite ends of a long straight and have a game of head on collision which will give you a good laugh.


Firstly the controls are simple to learn, control stick or D-pad for steering, A for acceleration, B for brake and Z for hand break. And if you are using a manual transmission you will use L to shift down in gears and R to shift up. That all sounds simple but of course it's never as easy as it sounds. Steering is what I'm talking about here, you got to learn just how much you need to push/press the control stick/d-pad for each type of turn and if you're using the control stick and find you're having difficulty try using the options to adjust the sensitivity and you'll soon find a setting that suits you. Don't get discouraged when he car starts sliding and crashing all over the place and you think you have little control over the car, it's frustrating yes, but work at it and you'll get it.


If you can manage to take the time to get used to the controls and handling and start to enjoy the game as you progress though career mode the one player side could give you some decent amount of playtime. Unlocking every track and rally will some time indeed and if you can stick it out then you could be playing for a long time. The multi-player mode is what will keep you and your mates coming back for more long after you've gotten tired of career mode.

Final Say:

Good visuals, loads of cars and loads more tracks great fun with three friends but, let down by the one player mode which will cause a lot of frustration when your stuck in the local rallies with a privateer car that seems to bounce, spin, and tumble more than drive. For the first Rally game on the GameCube it certainly sets the pace for those to come, so if you just can't wait for games such as V-Rally to arrive and really want a Rally game give this a look in.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Rally fans will certainly get some good play time out of this, others may want to give it a miss.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Lots of cars


Initially frustrating
Difficult controls
Codrivers = confusion

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