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In Memory
Sean Pettibone





Ubi Softís Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is a scaled-down version of the popular off-road racing title for the GBA. Surprisingly, the title still offers plenty of options including parts upgrades, multiple modes of play plus real licensed vehicles and authentic tracks. The game is surprisingly difficult but satisfying. Unfortunately, the controls are a bit touchy and it takes some time to compensate for this. The good news is that once you get the hang of them, this is a fairly decent game, and worth checking out if youíre into rally racing.

This surprisingly deep rally racing game from Ubi Soft offers plenty of racing action and more than enough options to keep you occupied for quite some time. Before each race, you can select which vehicle you want to race. There are 4 licensed vehicles from Mitsubishi, Toyota and Subura including McRaeís official Ford vehicle available initially but you can unlock more as you progress through the game. There are several different play modes in Colin McRae Rally 2.0 that include both single and two-player games. The game offers both an arcade and a full rally championship mode. In the Rally mode, you can choose to play through the full rally, a single stage or a championship which consists of multiple rallies where you race a series of 6 courses against 16 other drivers. If you simply want to set records for the fastest laps on each course, you can go and use the Time Attack mode which is a good place to practice. All these modes add plenty of depth to the game, which isnít to shabby considering itís on a handheld platform.

Another very aspect of Colin McRae 2.0 that comes into play between is the garage mode. When you win races, you earn credits and its here that you can buy parts to upgrade your vehicle, including new tires, axles, gears, electrical elements, exhaust and the shaft. You can also repair damage that may have been done during the race and adjust the transmission, type of tires, brakes and change the steering. This needs to be done to prepare for the terrain on each track. This adds a lot of

There are many different courses, and thereís a surprisingly large variation in the types of terrain and grounds youíll traverse. Some of these include Mud, Gravel, Dirt and Wet Pavement, in addition to the courses themselves which are your biggest obstacles. In addition, you need to keep track of your carís condition and watch carefully that you donít make excessive damage which will hurt the vehiclesí performances. Neglecting this for too long can also, in the worst-case, cause your car to overhear, knocking you out of the round. However, like most rally games, thereís an off-screen assistant who will help you. During the race, your co-driver will serve as your navigator, calling off turns obstacles and other things you need to look out for. There are various types of turns, some of which can be taken at higher speeds, while sharper ones require you to use caution. Whatís cool here is that when you play Colin McRae, the voice of his real-life co-driver is used, which adds to the authenticity.

Colin McRae 2.0 strives for realism, and thatís why the game isnít just a simple push down and steer type of racer. Youíll need to anticipate turns in advance, and adjust your speed accordingly. However, this isnít too hard once you get the hang of it. More important are understanding the controls, and how much you need to turn without losing control and spinning off the track. This makes the game frustrating early on as you have to learn not to go full throttle, and while it gets better, things never become as intuitive as they should be. However, the game doesnít help you with this at all, because the controls themselves are overly touchy, making the car veer wildly from side to side, especially on tight turns. Itís difficult to compensate for this successfully without crawling along the courses, making the overall gameplay experience excessively frustrating and difficult.

From a graphics standpoint, the game looks decent with nice scaling and rotation effects showcasing the GBAís abilities in this area. The courses suffer from the same blockiness, which makes it difficult to see upcoming objects on the horizon and adds more to the frustration. The vehicles are somewhat jagged and tend to look very blocky when the closer they are. These problems are disappointing, especially after youíve just navigated the gameís sleek and stylish menu system. However, the visuals arenít that bad once you become accustomed to them. In the end, the biggest problem comes with the controls, which arenít as polished as they could be. This diminishes the experience somewhat, but can be overcome with some practice runs. The depth is fine and the multiple modes of play plus the cool garage mode make up for the control problems. Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is a decent portable title and does a good job in recreating an authentic Rally driving experience.

- Michael Palisano





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