Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone










Driving simulators usually have two types of fans:  the ones that enjoy the various true to life driving capabilities and characteristics of a particular make of vehicle as interpreted by the computer games’ rendition, and the people that lust for the thrills and spills of driving at break neck speeds no matter what automobile they happen to occupy at the time. Rally Trophy takes the best of both of these gaming attributes and combines them into a single driving simulator/game, while also throwing in the unique driving theatre of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s European rally car arena.  Fans of this classic era of racing will drool over the painstakingly rich detail that the developers of Rally Trophy have incorporated into 11 vehicles found within the game, while non-rally fans should simply enjoy the fast paced racing action that is inherent throughout the over 40 driving tracks and environments within the game.

The latest release from the developers at Bugbear games and JoWood Productions takes the driving/simulation game genre back in time, hurtling the PC game player into the classic days of Rally driving, where a driver had only his wits and skills in order to prevail against the racing course and the clock. Rally Trophy puts you in the seat of a vintage rally car (circa 1960’s and early 1970’s) and allows the player to face the trials and tribulations of European rally driving, testing their skills with a variety of different driving landscapes, weather conditions, and varying vehicle performance issues.

Although driving games/simulations have grown in popularity over the past few years, this reviewer has never truly been impressed with the overall gaming experience. Surprisingly enough, Rally Trophy was able to change my opinion on that matter by incorporated many interesting and unique elements within its gameplay, giving the PC game driving experience something of a boost. For example, the developers of the game have taken a step back in time, opting for the use of classic vehicles instead of more modern day autos. 11 vintage vehicles are available to play in the game, including the sleek 1962 Volvo Amazon, the 1971 Ford Escort, the 1963 Ford Cortina, and my personal favorite, the Mini Cooper (other makes and models of cars are made available as you progress within the game).  Bugbear has gone to great lengths to give an accurate representation of each in-game vehicle with their highly detailed models:  from the dashboards to the taillights, each car has been depicted accurately to give the game and extremely realistic look.  Not only that, but each car also handles like its real-life counterpart, giving advantages or disadvantages to the driver, depending on which track and conditions they happen to be driving in. The frosting on the proverbial cake in the car modeling scheme comes from the incredible true-to-life damage modeling system, which accurately depicts accrued damage on your vehicles body and internal components. At one point, this reviewer had to actually switch from the behind-the-wheel viewpoint to the behind-the-car mode due to the massive ‘spiderweb’ crack that spread across the windshield of the Mini-Cooper after an unfortunate collision with a tree.

Rally Trophy contains 5 different modes of play, each with multiple levels of difficulty in order to make the game easier or harder to play, depending on the driver. The championship mode is the mainstay of the game, where racers compete against each other individually for the best time. Over 42 tracks are available to test your driving meddle against, and spread across 5 different countries (Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, and Kenya).  Each leg of the track has its own set of characteristics that will effect your overall driving ability, from snow and mud covered roads, storms that cut visibility, to the errant farm animal crossing your path in the open countryside.  The driver also doesn’t necessarily have to remain on the track constantly during the race, giving you the ability to cut across large amounts of terrain in order to save time during a race, although heavy vehicle damage can be a result. Rally Trophy has the dubious honor of having some of the longest tracks in driving game history, with some reaching a grueling 4 minutes in order to complete. But then again, that simply adds to the overall classic rally driving experience, adding that much more realism to the overall gameplay.

The single rally game mode as well as the time trial mode shortens the championship game down slightly, allowing the player to test out a track and overall time one leg at a time. For those looking for a completely different gaming experience with Rally Trophy, Bugbear has added an arcade and multiplayer mode to the game, allowing the player to compete against 5 other cars simultaneously on 10 dedicated tracks. Players can expect to get slightly banged up with this mode of play, however, making it more of a auto derby than a true rally, but the excitement of the head on competition is extremely entertaining and addictive.