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Rally Trophy

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Rally Trophy review

Cortina at Switzerland
Ford Cortina in the Swiss mountains.
Rally Trophy is based on the classic cars that raced each other on the European rally circuit some 30 years ago or more. Cars include the Mini Cooper a nimble front wheel drive pocket rocket that dominated rallying for a period in the 1960s. The Ford Escort MK1 RS2000 rear wheel drive car that took over domination in the late sixties & early seventies. The powerful purpose designed Lancia Stratos rally car that started a new breed of vehicle in rallying. There are many others, a full list of cars included in the game is further down the page.

Handling of these old classics is very well represented by an advanced physics engine. The only reservation I have regarding the simulated car handling is that the engine braking is over done (you seldom need to touch the brakes, just back of the power). Also the steering response isn't quite as good as Nascar or Grand Prix Legends (there seems a tiny amount of lag especially noticable on tarmac).
The difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive is very well portraited in the simulation. You will probably find the rear drive cars quite a handful compared to the front wheel drive cars to start with.

Tracks are long and fun to drive on. They vary from gravel stages in Russia, snow covered tracks in sweden, tracks in the African bush (including a particularly good one in the rain and mud), gravel and tarmac stages in Finland and great looking Swiss tracks through the mountains. There are around 40 stage tracks in total over five countries. These stages take place at various different times of day and night, the night driven circuits in the game are a particular challenge and are superbly reproduced. Weather conditions are also well simulated. Rain effects are great as are the effects of your wiper blades clearing the windscreen. Of particular merit are the sun graphics, these are the best I've ever witnessed in any game and are amazingly realistic. The way the sun blinds you at certain angles will be instantly recognised by any real car driver. The person responsible for the sun effects in Rally Trophy deserves some kind of computer game Oscar award !
Escort RS2000 in Finish forest
The Ford RS2000 Escort in a Finish forest gravel stage.
Mini in the mud at Kenyan rally stage
Mini Cooper driving the third Kenyan stage. Great stage.
While the sun is outstanding the rest of the games graphics are also very good. The tracks are detailed and realistic and the cars are magnificent to look at. Sound in the game is generally good, each car has it's individual engine sound (some better than others), each surface creates it's own particular noise when you're driving over it.
You also have a motor-mouth co-driver who gives you pace notes like in real rally driving, this helps with a new track but when you've learned it's twists, turns and jumps he becomes redundent. Just as well as his comments such as 'use your eyes it helps' and many more get irritating. Nobody likes a back seat driver.
The game includes a fair amount of music. This can be turned off or on as you see fit.
Fulvia taking a heavy landing in Sweden

Fulvia taking a heavy landing in Sweden
As well as the mouthy co-driver your pace notes are graphically represented in the form of arrow and warning icons that appear on the screen. A red right arrow for instance means the track will turn sharply right a little way ahead.

Car setup is covered in the game but not in any great depth. You can alter supspension settings between soft and hard, alter gear ratios etc. You do not have the same degree of control over car configuration that you have in Nascar or Grand Prix legends.

One questionable decision made with the game is the need to unlock some tracks and cars. I never like this sort of thing in a game. In Rally Trophy you have to complete a rally with a sufficiently high placing to get your hands on the fastest three cars (Escort, Renault, Lancia Stratos).

Inside the Fulvia after hitting a tree

The damaged windscreen is the result of an argument with a tree. Damage is modelled nicely in the game though as with most computer games the cars in Rally Trophy can take more punishment than any real life car.

Cars inlcuded in this computer game are as follows;
  • Mini Cooper: This FWD car is an easy car to handle in the game, fast for a little machine and highly manouverable. The car was a major success in real rallying in the sixties and is reproduced very well in the game.
    • Ford Lotus Cortina MK1: The rear drive Ford is also easy to handle (easiest of any RWD car in the game). In the sixties the car had great success. The simulated version is quite forgiving to drive and a great car to start learning RWD handling with.
    • Saab 96 V4: The Saab is another front wheel drive car. It's a little faster than the Mini while still being an easy drive.
    • Volvo Amazon: The Volvo is an aquired taste, it's a big heavy car but can be rewarding when you get used to it.
    • Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA: This rear wheel driven car is a step up from the Cortina and Volvo. It has more power and is faster around a stage. The car is more demanding than the Cortina but it's still fairly predictable to drive.
    • Lancia Fulvia: The front wheel drive Fulvia is a fast easy to drive car. This is the best front wheel drive car in Rally Trophy.
    • Opel Kadette Ralleye: This rally car is quite easy to drive and moderately fast. Rear wheel drive.
    • Fiat Abath: A wolf in sheeps clothing. This small rear wheel drive car is fast but tough to drive accurately. Immense fun.
    • Ford Escort RS2000 MK1: The classic RWD rally car of the period. This car is powerful and fast but demands a great deal of skill to drive well. The real car was unbeatable in it's day. Even now Rear driven Escorts (MK2 versions) are used at rally schools and in club competitions. Probably the greatest rally car of all time.
    • Renault Alpine: In the game this is the fastest car you can drive. The real Alpine was good but not as dominant as the simulated version.
    • Lancia Stratos: A racing car for the rough stuff. The Stratos was designed to win rallies and was a very successful car in the seventies. The simulated car is tough to drive but fast.

As well as racing on stages Rally Trophy includes a so called arcade mode. This involves racing computer controlled cars around a closed loop circuit over a number of laps. I say 'so called arcade mode' because the car handling is a realistic as ever.

All in all Rally trophy is a great game. A few minor flaws are present as are some exceptional elements. It's the only game covering that golden period of rallying of the sixties and seventees and does an admirable job. Not quite as supreme as Grand Prix Legends but that sim is virtually perfect.

Highly Recommended.

Lancia Stratos in the Swiss mountains

Lancia Stratos in the Swiss mountains
Rally Trophy SCORECARD

Graphics 8/10
Sound 7/10
Gameplay 8/10
Originality 8/10

Computer Games score 8/10