Format reviewed: Sega Saturn
Submitted by: Darren Carle
How could we look back at the Saturn without devoting some love to this absolute classic. Still regarded by many today as the pinnacle of arcade driving, Sega Rally was a launch title and powerhouse performer for the ill-fated 32-bit machine. Once again Sega made it feel like you had an actual arcade machine in your own home. In fact, with such a strong title, it’s surprising the Saturn itself didn’t fair better.
Although Sega Rally boasts only three tracks, with a fourth unlocked upon completion, it really is a case of quality over quantity. The different surfaces (asphalt, gravel and mud) realistically affects the performance of your vehicle, either a Toyota Celica or a Lancia Delta, with a Lancia Stratos also unlockable. The handling of the cars is flawless throughout and requires real skill and concentration to get the best out of them. With each successive, and successful, attempt you will likely shave fractions of seconds off your best times. This will likely keep you practicing for hours.
The main game itself is one big race which takes place over the four tracks. Players start in fifteenth, or last, place and must gradually work their way up the ranks. However, there is no quick route to this, and the best finish even highly-skillful players can expect after the first track is ninth or tenth. Pole position is only really achievable on the final track and only if you’ve had some very good previous rounds. There’s no shooting-into-first-place and staying there like so many games of this ilk. This presents a really good challenge over what would otherwise be a rather limited game.
With an equally excellent two-player mode to boot, extending the longevity no end, Sega Rally really was a godsend to Saturn owners and proof that while Sega may have arsed up the hardware-promotional side of things, their gaming nous was as spot on as ever.