Handbreak turn, foot down, right hand two wheel drift and straight into a tree. Well, probably not so great on the motorways but bags of fun on the PC.
Produced by JoWood Entertainment, this relatively unknown group from Finland released Rally Trophy in 2001 and would later go on to develop the highly popular fenderbending racing series – Flatout.
Up until this time, Rally simulators on the PC were a little scarce. Screamer Rally was more of an arcade oriented affair similar to Sega Rally and the only other title that springs to mind is International Rally Championship by Magnetic Fields.
Screamer Rally (PC – 1997) – Played this just after buying a Orchid Righteous 3DFX card.
All this changed in 1998 when Codemasters released the first in the long line of Colin McRae Rally games enabling gamers to sample handbreak turns, drifting and the ‘ol Scandinavian flick. I was a huge fan at the time but the thing that really appealed to me was the classic rally cars that became accessable later on in the game.
Picture of a Opel Kadett I photographed during one of the Sherwood Forest Historic Rallies.
Rally Trophy harks back to those golden days of rally and contains veterans motors from the 60’s and 70’s like the Mini Cooper S, Renault Alphine A110, Saab 96 & the lighting quick Lancia Stratos. Rallies are grouped into multiple stages set across different countries and whichever driver can complete the stage/rally in the least amount of time wins the trophy.
Lancia Fulvia HF
Ford Escort Mk1
Driving by your side is your co-driver who will read out the pace notes notifying of approaching corners, obstacles and if you mess up, helpful advice like ‘How did you ever get your drivers licence’ 🙂
During muddy/wet stages it’s not long before your shiny car needs a wash.
In Rally Trophy, cars are incredibly difficult to drive at first and at times can be a little frustrating. JoWood had invested a great deal of time making sure that the physics engine would feel as close to that of the original car. Wiether they achieved this or not , these rear wheel drive cars need a bit of practise to get right, especially those in the expert class. As you get a feel for the car and stages, things begin to to get a little easier and you soon learn to control two or four wheel drift and steering with the accelerator.
One headlight lost and the other will probably follow shortly 🙂
In total there are five rallies, each with their own unique ground surface and can contain between 4-8 stages depending on the difficulty options you’ve configured. My favorite stages (as with most rally sims) has to be the snow/ice stages and they offer plenty of opportunities for power sliding.
Like most other rally games, time between stages is spent either fine tuning the car for the next stage or carrying out repairs should you happen to have had a mishap….or five.
Bugbear’s excellent damage model at the time was godsmackingly gorgeous and something they continued to the max with the Flatout racing games. Lots of fun simply seeing how much damage you can create 🙂
For a game pushing ten years old now, Rally Trophy still looks great & plays really well today. Each classic vehicle is a beautifully modelled inside and out and the stages are full of detail despite the dodgy looking 2d foliage. Day/night & weather detailing still looks pretty good and adds a sense of realism to each stage.
Fiat Arbath on the twisty Swiss stages.
Rally Trophy also includes an arcade racing mode enabling you to race against five other CPU controlled cars around circuit tracks. LAN gaming modes are also supported.
Finally, one of the best bits about Rally Trophy is the large fanbase and downloadable content that was created after the game was released. If you head over to http://www.nogripracing.com/, you’ll find a wealth of new paint jobs for the existing cars (some based on actual rally cars), track updates, patches and plenty of tools to create your own skins and models. You’ll also find lots of new cars available for download including my favorite, the Renault Gordini.
Woohoo, my first skin I created in 2003 is still being hosted there.