Death Rally PC ReviewAugust 4, 2012
Well, that was unexpected.
I set Steam to download and install my copy of Death Rally for PC then went and had dinner. All started out well after the meal. The install went smoothly and I was ready to tackle a game in a genre I hadn’t played very much of: a top-down racing game. I was just going to play it for a couple of hours before bed to get an impression, then play it for a couple more hours the following day before writing this review. That was the plan. I was tired and I needed to call it an early night. I had no idea I was about to launch a video game version of caffeine.
Remedy, the folks who brought us Alan Wake, ported this game to the PC from iOS. The game released August 3rd, 2012, priced at $9.99.
I played a few rounds fumbling with the keyboard controls, something I really can’t blame the game for. I normally can’t tell right from left the first time I fire up a game and I’m not used to driving. I don’t even drive in real life. The controls, despite my ineptitude, are practical and intuitive enough for anyone to pick up. I got used to the controls quickly after the initial bumbling and started to have fun.
The game keeps you playing for unlockable content. There are several vehicles to unlock and, for these cars to be competitive on the track, there’s a wide variety of weaponry, vehicle upgrades, and accessories which are made accessible when you pick up all the pieces to unlock them. You also will want to unlock the entire storyline and all the venues in which to race your psychotic mass murdering drivable death-cart. This makes Death Rally an excellent value for ten dollars. It’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of races, and a lot of explosions to unlock all of this content.
While the maps are static, they are littered with powerups and things that go boom to make the races a bit more interesting. The difficulty level of the tracks changes after each race and it seems to be based on your opponents’ armaments and skill levels. The circuits range in complexity from your straight up drive-around-in-a-circle tracks to routes with hairpin turns and sometimes ambiguous directions. I found the tracks mostly enjoyable to learn, but there was really nothing stopping me from just going on the track I was best at (the circle called The Pit) again and again to power up my vehicles. This is precisely what I did, and by midnight (and way past my bedtime), I had a level five rocket launcher on my maxed-out A-Team van. This was fine by me as I was obsessed with unlocking more and more items. However, it did feel a little like cheating and I thought that the game should provide better incentive for the player to mix up their track selections.
The multiplayer dynamic is designed well. All maps are available for multiplayer, either for private or public games. If you opt for the public option, the game waits to find players for the track you’ve selected before going. In the private game option, you can play the storyline co-operatively with your friends as well as try to blow each other to kingdom come. I was able to get into a few multiplayer games, but at time of writing, online players are few and far between. The few games I did play were fun. Due to the lack of in game chat, your online opponents won’t differentiate them much from the AI cars. Though, one shouldn’t really txt and drive….
This Death Rally franchise has been in existence since 1996 and has had a few versions show up on PC and, later, on iOS for iPhones and iPads. This most current version stays true to its roots. Gamers familiar with it would be delighted to see the cars, tracks, and characters from previous releases show up. It is a great time waster and at that price, it is well worth it. Even though I woke up sleepy for work the next day, I certainly do feel like I got my ten bucks’ worth.