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Released: 1980

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Namco

Submitted by: Mat Corne

In 1980 Namco released a new selection of arcade games, of which they expected Rally-X to be the most popular. Also amongst those releases was a maze game by the name of Pac-Man. The rest, as they say, is history…

While Rally-X may not have been the big hit Namco expected and had it’s thunder well and truly stolen by a pizza-shaped yellow blob, it is by no means a bad game. You may be controlling a racing car but this is far from being a driving game. The controller is a joystick and the gameplay actually bears quite close resemblance to Pac-Man. The aim of the game is to drive your car around a four-way scrolling maze and collect ten flags, whilst avoiding the other cars that will attempt to crash into you. As a defence against these enemies, you can leave a smokescreen behind you that they will get trapped in for a short time. As well as avoiding the other cars you are racing against the clock and also an ever-diminishing fuel level. To assist, a radar-style map screen on the status panel shows your car’s position and the location of any remaining flags.

Like most arcade games of the time, Rally-X is all about the high score. The faster you complete the level, the more bonus points you get, and there are also special flags on each level that when collected double your score for each remaining flag collected afterwards. It starts off pretty easy but after a few levels more enemy cars are introduced and the difficulty levels starts to ramp up, making it quite a challenge. The graphics are simple but colourful and the scrolling is pretty smooth for a game of its age, making a neat little package overall. If it hadn’t been for Pac-Man who knows if Rally-X would have been as popular as Namco expected but regardless, if you have never played it you should give it a go!