gaming since 1997

Rally Championship Extreme

When I visit the website of Rally Championship Extreme (or Rally Championship 2002 in some countries) and I take a look at the game specs, I read among other specs:
“Superb Gamemplay” (this is probably a spelling error?), “Amazing Car Physics”, “The most realistic car damage ever seen in any game”. I don’t know which game they were looking at when they wrote this, but it sure isn’t RCX.
The predecessor of RCX is Rally Championship 2000. It had the same publisher Actualize, but the programmers were in fact Magnetic Fields. For RCX the programming team is Warthog. The closest thing they did to a Rally game was Starlancer (space flight sim)! When you look at the screenshots, you might think they did a pretty good job. Nice scenery in different parts of the world, car damage, etc, but only from a distance. If you look at the cars from close-up, you will notice that they are very poor designed. And behind those screenshots, you’ll find a game that might become a good game if you give it another year of programming and development. But right now, it’s just rubbish.

It all starts when you (try to) set up your controller, most likely a steering wheel. For starters, the configuration happens outside RCX, it drops back to the windows desktop and opens a window where you can assign the different controller axis’s and buttons to the different game actions. But there is no way to calibrate or adjust the sensitivity, deadzone or level of Force Feedback of your steering wheel. And to make things even worse, when you want to return to the game, it crashes. Result of this, is that your car responds far too sensitive to your steering input. Turn the wheel just a few degrees and your car will make a sharp turn into the scenery. It’s almost impossible to keep your car on the road at high speeds
Lets talk about the car physics. I must admit that I’m amazed about those car physics, just as they stated on their website. I’m not amazed because of the level of realism, but because of the opposite. These car physics are not even worthy in an arcade rally game, let alone in a rally simulation. The gravity is far too low, your car will become airborne with the smallest bump in the road. You’re spending more time in the air then on the ground! Setting the suspension to soft with a high ground clearance will improve a little but insufficient. For those brief moments that your car is in contact with the ground, the behavior is totally wrong. Front wheel driven cars tend to underteer and only lifting the throttle or applying the handbrake at the right moment will result in an oversteered reaction. In RCX however, you can throw your FWD car sideways through corners without lifting like a full WRC car. Just stupid ridiculous. The accelerations are too fast, probably because Warthog didn’t implement wheelspin into their “Amazing Car Physics”.

Since this game clearly lacks any realism, it’s not surprising that the damage model is of the same level. You can go flat out in 6th gear, hit a tree head on and get a warning that the headlights are damaged! You can of course continue without any problem (unless it’s a night stage). The windows of your car even survive such an impact.
For me it’s very clear : don’t buy this game! And this applies for both the simulation and the arcade rally gamer

Our Score:
related game: Rally Championship Extreme
posted in: PC, Reviews, Ubisoft
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