Colin McRae Rally 3

Review

posted 3/9/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Rally games have really come into their own in the recent years. Titles such as Sega Rally and Microsoft Rallisport have done a great job of pushing the sport into the spotlight, showing gamers just how much fun off-road rallying can be. Through all of this, Codemasters’ own franchise, Colin McRae, has been on the backburner, looking for the perfect time to strike and gain market supremacy. In the year 2003, it is time, time for third iteration in this franchise to take the rally world by storm and earn its place atop the podium.

When you begin you’ll more than notice the sleek interface. It’s one of the best that we’ve ever seen in a racing game as it is clean, easy to understand and best of all, appealing. The game itself has very few modes featuring time trials, multiplay on any of the game’s stages and the meat and potatoes of the game, the championship mode. The single-race mode allows you to race through all of the tracks that you’ve unlocked. You can go through this mode solo or compete with up to three of your buddies. In the championship mode you’ll assume the role of McRae as he progresses through a few seasons in the race for supremacy.

The championship mode is definitely a nice addition to the game as it adds some structure to a game, not to mention a genre that is so loosely defined. As McRae, you’ll head into dozens of stages alongside his real life navigator, Nicky Grist. Winning races and placing highly in the standings will unlock new goodies such as tires and suspension for your vehicle, as well as new vehicles that can be used in the game’s single-race modes. It’s very refreshing to see the endorser of a game playing such a large role in the title. We really got the feeling that he was involved with many of the game’s processes, lending not only his likeness to the game, but also his years of expertise.


For Gary Coleman, this is the ONLY way to drive.

However, since the spotlight has been placed on McRae, you won’t be able to control the other drivers in the career mode. Perhaps most importantly, this means that you won’t be able to use any of the game’s dozen or so vehicles, thus making their appearance here rather pointless. It would have been nice to have at least been able to sign different sponsorship deals that allowed you to race in different vehicles, driving that Ford Focus does tend to become old hat after awhile.

As you may or may not know, rally racing puts you on the track by your lonesome. The winner of the race isn’t determined by whose better at drafting or who’s better at blocking the competition. Instead the winner is decided by the driver with the fastest time on the course. This puts much more pressure on you to succeed because even the slightest mistake can be the deciding factor between a 1st and 5th place finish. In McRae 3 there’s always a heightened sense of pressure, especially when approaching a precarious turn. The feeling of committing one fatal error and losing the racing always seemed to loom over us making each and every turn in a sweaty palmed, white-knuckle affair.
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