Now I know what you’re thinking: “Sega Rally 2? Really? Not Dead or Alive Xtreme 3? Or Senran Kagura? Not even Darius II?” Yes, this is no joke, I am 100% serious.
The word “sexy” has multiple definitions. While the most common definition is “sexually suggestive or stimulating,” the second defnition, “generally attractive or interesting” also fits here if you aren’t cool enough to get turned on by sedans.
These are some of the sexiest cars ever made. Screw those European supercars, or American muscle cars. Those cars just aren’t as sexy as rally cars. Nearly every car included in Sega Rally 2 are WRC champions, so only the cream of the crop can make it to the game.
Gameplay-wise, there’s a perfect balance of variety. Each car has something slightly different to offer, and have their own feel, making mastery of each a challenge. Their differences aren’t large enough to feel like a completely different game, however, so experimenting with all of them is encouraged. Specifications and statistics are listed on the selection menu, if you really need to know that kind of information. As a little touch, each car has a slightly different display for RPM and speed. No one is particularly more informative than another, and I have no idea if any of them are accurate, but it’s the little things, you know?
Hideki Naganuma. Heard that name? Well, have you played Jet Set Radio? If not, stop reading this article and get better taste, you disgusting animal. If you’re still here, that means you’ve jammed out to this beautiful man’s funky beats. The music he made for that game influenced the rest of his career, but he did do music BEFORE Jet Set Radio. And that music was jazz fusion, contrasting with the hip-hop funk featured in his later games. He only made music for the home releases, but that doesn’t make the arcade version’s soundtrack any worse. Jun Senoue, who later became the guitarist for Crush 40, and other veterans from the time are featured on the soundtrack. Even the late Kenji Eno managed to get his name in there, despite only working on incredibly niche, personal projects. I guess he just couldn’t let such a sexy game slip by without putting his name on it.
Each track is as catchy as the last, and always fits perfectly to the setting of the stage. For example, the hard, blaring guitar compliments the first desert stage, and provides a memorable introduction to the game. To contrast, a slower, vocal track plays for the snowy stage, despite it being one of the harder stages of arcade mode. This applies to every stage, and the added stages in the home versions have equally fitting and memorable themes.
Being a sequel, Sega Rally 2 has extremely fine-tuned gameplay. The main difference this game has from more traditional racing games is the various types of terrain and road conditions to deal with. In nearly every track, muddy or wet roads are mixed with more ideal surfaces, to create a dynamic feeling on your car’s handling. You have a co-driver along with you, who tells you information on the upcoming turn and possible changes in condition. While this can be helpful, proficiency usually comes down to memorization anyways.
Arcade mode is the main feature of this game. Across 4 tracks, you have a limited amount of time to finish with a high a rank as possible, preferrably 1st place. Reaching checkpoints adds time to your total, making each portion of the track a possibility for failure. This method of keeping time also pushes for perfection on every track. Mistakes early on can catch up to you, and each lap needs to be free of them to reach 1st place.
The home releases of Sega Rally 2 have extra tracks, music, cars, and a new game mode to showcase all this: 10-Year Championship. It’s basically a series of races, which proceed with 4, 1-lap tracks, exactly like the arcade mode. However, you encounter more dynamic weather effects, and are given the option to tune your car to account for this.
The graphics in Sega Rally 2 are the best use of working with what you have. The graphics aren’t particularly stunning, even on the superior arcade version, and a short draw distance is noticable, but you can tell these downsides are hidden very well. First off, there are usually only 1 or 2 cars on-screen at any given time. This is due to the nature of how the game works, yet it was used to the developers’ advantage, allowing them to push higher detail to each model. Secondly, draw distance is hidden by a fog, which fits perfectly in to Sega Rally 2‘s use of weather. The snowy stage in particular has a very heavy fog, resulting in a harder track to see, increasing challenge. This isn’t always used extremely well, as it feels out of place in the desert stage, despite the draw distance being maxed out. But, that’s OK, because the tracks are designed with this in mind as well! The unloaded part of the track is almost always hidden around a turn, which masks the jarring pop-in effect. Some tracks have a filter over the whole image, for rain, snow, or dust, which might cover up poor textures or otherwise bad graphics. I must admit, however, Sega dropped the ball on the Dreamcast release. Frame drops and less effects weren’t worth trying to use Windows CE. The PC version is more ideal, but it can be a struggle to install on modern systems.
Just let it sink in. You’re in a car. With a girl. And she’s talking to you. That’s the closest you’ll ever get to a girl and if that’s not the most sexy situation I don’t know what is. I mean, it could be a guy, too, if you’re into that. Sega thought of everything; Sega does what Nintendon’t.
GAME OVER YEAH
Also published on Medium.