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Selecting Arcade from the main menu will allow you to choose between a championship game or to practice a course. At first, only three of the four courses will be at your disposition and they are named Desert, Forest, and Mountain. In order to get to race the fourth course named Lakeside, you will have to be first in all three races of the championship mode. The practice section will permit you to practice any of the available courses.
Other items from the main menu include the Time Attack where you race against a ghost car representing the fastest lap for that course, and the two player battle mode where two people can play at once on a split screen. There is absolutely no slow down when playing in the two player mode that allows you to compete against your friends at the same time! Car Settings will permit you to customize your car to your fancy. You can select automatic or manual transmission, slow or quick handling, soft to hard tires, loose to tight front and rear suspension, and number of blow off valves.
The graphics in Sega Rally Championship are superb with everything done in textured 3D polygons. The road surface is constructed of tracks and polygons that come towards you and provides a real sense of speed while racing. You'll see small villages, lakes, mountains, forests, and deserts with landscapes that range from grassy green fields to rocky mountains. The distant 2D background consists of a gorgeous blue sky, some light cloud cover, an orange sunset, snow capped mountains or a beautiful blue lake.
Your vehicle is painted with stripes and logos, and when you hit the breaks you'll see the back break lights turn on. This is easier to see when going through tunnels. When playing with a view from behind your vehicle, you can watch the wheels turn as you control the car with the control pad. Dust and sand will be seen flying from the back of the car as you race down the tracks.
Spectators can be found along the roadside throughout each course. You'll hear them screaming and cheering as they wave and jump up and down in excitement. Some of them will be taking photographs, and zebras and birds will even be spotted along some of the courses. However, you won't be able to run over any of the spectators or animals as the courses are made with banks of dirt, rocks, or fences that prevent your vehicle from going off track and also slows it down when you hit them. The helicopter that films your race is also spotted in the sky during the race.
As with most 3D games, when you get too close to a spectator or wall, the pixels will appear bulky and not textured. Of course, if you are good a driver, you should never have to worry about seeing such things in your game as you will be traveling too fast. The only bug that I found in the game was when I went through the tunnels too close to the wall and I could see what was on the outside of the wall, sort of like x-ray vision. It's a very minor bug and doesn't effect the game play one bit.
Five background music tracks are provided with the game for your listening pleasure. All are quite thrilling and set an appropriate atmosphere for racing in the dirt and countryside. In the options menu, you can select any one of the five tracks as your background music for each of the four courses. Voices are heard during the game that will call out the upcoming turns informing you how difficult it may or may not be. For example, you may hear, easy right, over jump, long easy right, long easy right maybe, medium left, etc. Other voices in the game will start the 3-2-1 countdown, announce the check points, and when the game has finished.
Sega of America Inc.,
255 Shoreline Drive,
Redwood City, CA 94065
Sega Europe Ltd.,
247 Cromwell Road,
London SW5 9GA
Sega Video Games Netherlands B.V.,
1273 Na Huizen.
Sega Belgium N.V.,
5, Square des Heros,