Reply To: First impressions

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My initial thoughts on Death Rally are going to also be my last thoughts as I ended up finishing it in a marathon 3 hour session last night. I certainly hadn’t intended to play for that long so it’s definitely got an addictive quality.

The game is a sort of RPG/racing hybrid if you ask me. It’s more important to always be making money than actually winning races so it’s very much about grinding away for cash to get the best car. What car you are driving and a high degree of luck has way more impact on whether you win a race than driving skill. The opening sections were quite tough though as it’s tricky to compete with the basic car at the start of the game and you are still learning the ropes.

I didn’t especially like the actual racing mechanics. The cars handling isn’t all that satisfying as racing line, conservation of speed and the like don’t seem to play any part whatsoever. The cars don’t really drift either which would have added a bit more skill to things. The racing comes to little more than not touching the sides and using your turbo at the right times. I never used my brakes once in the entire game. As far as the combat aspect, the cars get more and more expensive to repair and the only way to play the game is to hang back at the start while everyone blasts through all their ammo in the first half a lap. This just feels a little broken. Also, I found I never bought anything from the underground garage as it wasn’t worth spending the cash when you were always trying to save up for the next car.

The hardest part of the game is transitioning from the medium to the hard races. I hadn’t really noticed up until this point that there is a scramble for which driver goes into which race. This is where the dumb luck comes in. I found I could earn good cash in the hard races but if I ended up against the best drivers in much quicker cars on a fast track, they would lap me every time and I’d get nothing. Basically, it comes down to saving your game, entering the hard race and if you get the wrong drivers or track, load up your game and try again. You simply can’t compete until you get a good enough car.

I didn’t realise it until it happened but apparently the aim of the game is to get to the top of the leaderboard at which point you face “The Adversary” in a one off 9 lap race. This guy is in a quicker car than you are so winning this race is not easy. I tried about 5 times until he ended up stuck on a wall and I just about held the lead until the end at which point you win the game.

Graphics were nice enough for the era but nothing too special. The same goes for the music. My general thoughts on Death Rally are that it’s fairly average and a little bland. I know other people love it but I’m just not seeing it. I’d much rather have been playing Micro Machines if I wanted this sort of racing game or if you want a car combat RPG, something like Autoduel has way more going for it. I should say this isn’t the sort of game I would usually play so I’m not really the target audience. It was still a whole lot better than Nitemare 3D.