Rally Championship Extreme
Rally Championship Extreme (RCX) is supposed to be the sequel to Rally Championship 2000 (RC2000). Good that they have told me that, because the only similar item between the two is the fact that both are rally games. RC2000 was designed around the British Rally Championship. For that purpose the programmers, Actualize, made a video recording of some 600 km of roads. The result was a game with very realistic, very narrow and very loooong stages. Some of them were over 40 km long and took some 30 min to complete. This was (and is) in contrast with the majority which gives us short, wide stages.
With RCX you would expect that the program team would continue on the same strategy, but sadly they didn’t. Perhaps because of commercial reasons, RCX shows us a very average rally game.
Like always you have the possibility to drive with a large number of rally cars, ranging from the obvious WRC cars (Ford Focus, Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza, Peugeot 206) to the Standard class like e.g. the Citroen Saxo. And there are also a couple of Classical Rally Cars.
For RCX, Actualize left the British Island and added also an Arctic Rally (Lapland), the Rally of USA and the infamous Safari Rally in Kenya. In total there are 24 Special Stages to be discovered.
They look very nice, but lack realism. It reminded me more of Screamer Rally where they want to give the player as many different scenery’s as possible. The kind where you drive in Wales through the woods, exit out of a corner to arrive on the beach and to end the stage in a village.
Besides, the roads are unrealistically wide. Only the stages in the Safary Rally felt authentic. But if you know that in reality those Kenya stages range from 30 to 100km and longer, the measly length of 12 km is very short. In fact, that 12 km stage is the longest one in the game.
On the bright side, the car physics have the potential to be good. There is still a lot of work to be done in that area because for the moment, the cars are way to loose (oversteered). It could be that this behaviour was the result of a bad setup, but the screen to change the car setup was not yet accessible.
The damage model needs also some tweaking but looks already fantastic. I lost several times one of the tires of my cars after hitting a not so soft object a little to hard. If that happens, you can limp to the finish or try to fix it in stage.
All in all, Rally Championship Extreme looks good if you like the Colin McRae Rally games. The emphasis is more on the arcade playing fun than it is on simulation realism. The stages are to wide and to short.