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AUGUST 11, 1997

Entertainment

Computer game review: Sega Rally Championship

  by Rick Brewster
   The arcade version of Sega Rally was great - fast graphics and you could race against someone sitting right next to you. The PC version is almost identical to the arcade, providing your computer is fast enough. Unlike the poor conversion of Daytona USA, Sega Rally brings out the best in a PC. Most computers won't have a booming sound system, or the ability to run in high resolution very well.
  
   Luckily, even on lower end computers the game play is fun. It's satisfying to hit a turn just right, using the backslide to your advantage. The graphics fly on a Pentium 133. It's too bad there's no 3D accelerator support. If this game took advantage of a 3Dfx Voodoo based graphics card, it would be superior to the arcade version.
  
   Sega Rally contains all the usual multiplayer options, including a split-screen two player mode. This is most fun on a computer with a joystick - one player uses the keyboard and the other uses the joystick. You can even handicap one player, giving the other a couple seconds head start.
  
   There are only three tracks that come included with the game, and no options for downloading or creating more. In the arcade, having only three tracks make sense, as most people won't spend more than 10 minutes playing. On the computer, however, people will want to play the game a lot more than three tracks will let you. Once you master the three tracks, what do you do?
  
   The music is great and doesn't include the annoying vocals that Daytona USA had ("Daytona ... daytona ..."). The in-game voices are annoying though, with a constant reminder to "TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND!" if you're going the wrong way. Also, you have a little "coach" that tells you how the upcoming turns will be. "Easy medium right, baby!" These are good for beginners, but unfortunately there's no way to turn them off.
  
   Sega Rally Championship ends up being a short-lived gaming experience. It's a good game, one that faithfully translates the arcade experience to the PC. For all but the die-hard Sega Rally fans, you'd be better off running down to the local arcade with a fistful of quarters.
  
   Created by: Segasoft
  
   Publisher: Segasoft
  
   Category: Racing
  
   Price: $40
  
   System Requirements: Pentium 75, 16MB RAM, SVGA, Win95, 5MB Hard Drive
  
   What you really need: Pentium 120, 50MB Hard Drive
  
   Highs: recreates the arcade version flawlessly; great split-screen 2 player mode
  
   Lows: annoying voices; no 3D hardware support; only 3 tracks; touchy joystick control
  
   Content Rating: G
  
   Star rating: III
  
   Next week's review: SimCopter