One of the most recognizable names in rally racing is about to make a comeback. We take a look at the Xbox version of the third installment in the Colin McRae series.
As strange as it may seem, there have been more games released in the United States that focus on rally racing than there have been games about NASCAR, which is by far the country's most popular motorsport. It's not difficult to understand why some racing fans might be put off by rally racing. Drivers race against the clock, not each other, and it involves taking a perfectly good car across completely unfamiliar roads that are in horrible condition. Regardless of how alien this might seem, rally racing games are quickly gaining popularity in the US, despite the stature of the real-world sport they depict, and as we've seen with Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, Rallisport Challenge, and World Rally Championship, these games have done a more phenomenal job of capturing the essence of rally racing with every successive release. That trend shows no signs of slowing down--certainly not with the impending release of Colin McRae Rally 3 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. Currently in development at Codemasters UK, the game is scheduled for release in time for the holiday season, and judging from what we've seen during our time with the latest Xbox build, Colin McRae Rally 3 is poised to raise the bar in the rally racing genre.
As you can probably surmise from its name, Colin McRae Rally 3 places you in the shoes of famed Scottish driver Colin McRae and tasks you with winning the overall rally championship by earning the greatest number of points across the game's many international circuits. This championship mode is a slight departure from those featured in similar games. Specifically, you'll be able to play only as McRae himself, and not as any of the other WRC drivers like Carlos Sainz or Petter Solberg. That also means that, as far as the championship mode is concerned, you'll be able to drive only McRae and teammate Nicky Grist's Ford Cosworth Focus. What's more, the championship itself consists of several seasons, not just one. As McRae, your goal is to earn contracts from wealthy sponsors. Needless to say, the better you race, the more sponsorship offers you'll receive. The designers at Codemasters UK say it's possible to win the championship in a single season, but only the most proficient players will come close to doing so. Normally, it'll take you two to three seasons to rack up enough points to be crowned the champion.
This championship path will take you through a number of different countries, some of which are part of the actual World Rally Championship circuit and some of which the real-world sport doesn't really compete in. Fans of rally racing will undoubtedly appreciate courses like Australia, Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, and Spain, while tracks in Japan and the USA will make for a welcome break from the traditional roster of events that are found in almost every modern-day rally game. As in the real thing, each of these events is broken down into several stages and usually takes place over the course of several days. Each of these stages is subsequently broken down into four or five legs, and you're timed on how fast you can negotiate the twists, turns, bumps, and jumps from one leg to the next. After every three stages, you'll come across a setup area that allows you to make changes to your car's handling if you feel the need to do so. The setup area will also allow you to repair any damage that your car has sustained during the three previous stages, and it's this seemingly insignificant feature that will really set Colin McRae Rally 3 apart from the competition.
- Release Date: Jun 13, 2003 (EU)
- Release Date: Oct 25, 2002 (EU)
- Release Date: Oct 25, 2002 (EU)