I remember the old days of RC Pro-AM. Those quick races in the isometric view were some fun times back in the day. Recently, XBLA gamers got their hands on a similar racer in the form of Bang Bang Racing. It was really nothing too spectacular. Now, a new PC title that started out as an iOS game that was a remake of an old 1996 PC game made by Remedy called Death Rally is hitting the streets. Well, as confusing as its history is, Death Rally is actually straightforward fun.
The game is a rally racing experience with a bit of a twist. You strap guns and other weapons to your car and have the ability to destroy other competitors. Yes, you could say it’s a lot like Rock n Roll Racing, and you would be right. You race in a series of events, upgrade and unlock new vehicles with earned money, and work your way up to the top of the Death Rally circuit.
Truth be told, the game’s story is rather minimal. You are caught by the corrupt police force and are forced to participate in the Rally. There are small story races that pop up every once in a while that add more to what is there, but don’t expect much. What you can expect is a lot of racing, shooting, and boosting your way to victory.
During races, you may pick up more ammo for your equipped weapon, extra spending cash, and repairs to your vehicle during the race. The weapons in the game vary between rockets, Gatling guns, flamethrowers, and more. Only certain weapons can be combined. So you can have a Gatling gun and drop mines but you can’t have a shotgun and a Gatling gun equipped at the same time. Think of them as primary and secondary weapons. Even if you’re out of ammo, there is a weak machine gun that will always fire when you are facing an enemy or other destroyable objects in the road.
You will also pick up new parts that can contribute to unlocking new weapons, vehicles and tracks. Sometimes it’s best to focus on destroying opposing racers than it is to win the race. You seem to get more parts from fallen enemies.
The handling of the cars is fairly tight. You will, of course, run into some things that will get in your way, and sometimes this will be the end of the race for you because even with nitro boosts, you won’t catch up. Sometimes the opposing racers will destroy your car if you’re not careful. When this happens, you automatically lose the race, but you still get a little cash for just participating. This is good because after each event, your damage persists. That precious cash you’ve earned will need to be used to mend the wounds and get back in the race.
Events take all of about a minute to complete. This is both a blessing and a curse. Because the races are so short, sometimes you don’t have enough time to catch up. In the grander scheme of things, it means you will be able to jump right back into a new one without losing too much game time. There is also a deathmatch race that is basically a destruction derby. This mode is not very enjoyable and boils down to getting blown up a lot while trying to circle around enemies. This more ofthen than not ends up as a bunch of doughnuts and and missing everyone with your attacks.
Death Rally is very much a grinding game. You will constantly be playing the same races over and over again due to the long times in between unlocking new tracks. The title breaks up the monotony a little by offering up special races that may have different win conditions, or you may get a phone call from a “shady character” that may offer you and advantage for a cut your winnings. It breaks it up decently, but fatigue may set in if you’re not careful. I highly suggest playing this game in short 15 to 20 minute spurts. Even then, you will still get pretty addicted to leveling up your cars and getting new weapons.
The game features online play, but I could never find enough people to jump into a game. Apparently, you MUST have six players to start an online race, and I could never get six people in the same room with me. So, unfortunately, I can’t really talk about the online portion of the game. I do know that it has a nice feature that if you’re sick of waiting for people to join, you can just skip the process and play the race offline right then and there without having to back out and go through the menus again.
For ten bucks, you get a rather enjoyable little racing/car combat game in Death Rally. There are a few problems here and there, but when played in quick sessions, you can easily get addicted to earning money and upgrading your death rides. Maybe if some more people give the game a shot, the online will open up. I could definitively see a race with six other people being enjoyable. As of right now though, it’s pretty much a barren wasteland. Still, there is a ton of single player content to keep you busy for hours. If you’re a fan of quick session games and enjoy simplistic racing with some big explosions, give Death Rally a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.