If you’ve been around for longer than 4 minutes you would have noticed that there are many racing games on the market. Be it simulators or arcade racers, they come in many forms… Or to put this in other words: there’s a lot of competition out there between racing games and every developer will to have to add that ‘something more’ or an extra feature that makes their game stand out…. at least… that’s what you would think.
Unfortunatly, some gamedesigners seem to have trouble with essential concepts as ‘innovation’… After this small introduction, let’s talk a bit about the game at hand. Master Rallye is an arcade racer in which you have the choice of four so-called Poontangs (4×4 vehicles) – after a couple of victories, two extra cars are unlocked. In singleplayer mode, you have to compete in so-called ‘cups’, named after some well known sponsors. The cars themselves are ‘brand-less’, guess there was no budget or time to get some official licences . In each race, you are challenged by three other drivers. Every cup consists of 3 races and you can freely choose which cup you want to race whenever you want, there is no set order.
Your three opponents are skilled drivers and crashing into them is ill-advised because you’ll spin of the road and won’t stand a chance of winning the race. On the other hand, they can easily crash into you without any damage. But the frustrating thing is, they make you lose control over your car whilst the others speed away – undoubdatly with a smile on their face. In other words: you’ll have to play each race several times in order to gain mapknowledge. Only armed with that knowledge, can you stay ahead of the three other racers.
What about gameplay ? Well, it’s a racing game, so you already know what you’re going to get. Only difference here is that, as I’ve mentioned earlier, that there are no new features or innovations whatsoever. And that’s dissappointing. The cars handle very well, no problem with that… but … that’s about it. I guess the most disappointing thing of Master Rally is the fact that the designers have made next-to-none use of the ‘vibrating forces’ of your controller. It’s only when you wonder off the normal track, that you get a slight little vibration … indicating ‘rough terrain’. And all that time you thought you were driving your 4×4 on some pretty rough terrain ! Sorry, it feels as smooth as a babies bottom.
The sound isn’t much better either… some ambient beats and a little rock music drown out next to all engine sounds. Luckily, this can be changed, after all: what’s the use of racing when you can’t hear the engine roar ? But… once again… another flaw: the enginesounds are plain dull.
On a more positive note, the graphics are quite good. Not cutting-edge or state-of-the-art, but nice and crispy. And that contributes to your drivingpleasure because the tracks are clearly visible. Next to that, the apparent lack of anti-aliasing gives an extra arcady ambiance.
All in all Master Rallye is a game that apparently wasn’t high on the priority list of the developer. It made me wonder why it was released in the first place