Top Gear Rally

Last updated

Top Gear Rally
TopGearRallyonN64.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Boss Game Studios
Publisher(s)
Composer(s) Barry Leitch
Series Top Gear
Platform(s) Nintendo 64
Release
  • NA: October 1997
  • EU: November 1997
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Top Gear Rally is a 1997 racing video game developed by Boss Game Studios and released for the Nintendo 64. A follow-up to Kemco 's original Top Gear game, it features a championship mode where a single player must complete six seasons of two to four races, as well as a multiplayer mode where two players may compete against each other via a split-screen display. The game's tracks combine both road and off-road surfaces and can be played in different weather conditions, including night, fog, rain, and snow. Players may customize their car with different tire grips and adjust its suspension stiffness and steering sensitivity. An option that allows players to custom paint their cars is also included.

Contents

Top Gear Rally was conceived after Boss created a non-interactive demonstration running on Silicon Graphics workstations that featured two- and four-wheel drive vehicles racing through different driving conditions. The game features a physics engine with a functioning suspension that reacts to a variety of challenging terrain. Although the cars featured in the game are fictitious, they were modeled after real vehicles. The game received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the technical aspects of its graphics and its fluid yet challenging gameplay. Criticism was targeted at its weak sound effects and limited multiplayer mode. In 1999, the game was ported to Microsoft Windows as Boss Rally .

Gameplay

The player, in second position, drifts through a road curve while trying to overtake an opponent. Top Gear Rally N64 Gameplay.jpg
The player, in second position, drifts through a road curve while trying to overtake an opponent.

Top Gear Rally is a racing game where players must drive cars on tracks that combine both road and off-road surfaces. [1] Tracks are relatively open and may include hidden shortcuts, [2] and each of them can be played in sunny, nocturnal, foggy, rainy, or snowy conditions. [3] [4] Before starting a race, players can custom paint their car, select different tire grips, adjust the suspension stiffness and steering sensitivity, and choose either a manual or automatic transmission. [5] The acceleration, top speed, drivetrain, and engine placement of each car are different. [5] These factors, along with the road and weather conditions, affect the handling of each car significantly. [3] For example, the engine placement often determines how a car lands after a jump, while four-wheel drive cars have more grip on gravel tracks. [5] Although cars can be damaged, their performance is not affected. [6]

The game comprises four gameplay modes: Championship, Arcade, Time Attack, and Practice. [4] In Championship mode, a single player must complete six seasons of two to four races in different weather conditions, [4] with each race requiring the player to overtake 19 opponents controlled by the game's artificial intelligence. [7] Points are awarded based on the rank the player finishes a race. If the required quantity is not met, the player will not be able to progress to the next season. [3] As the player progresses through the Championship mode, new cars and tracks are unlocked. [7] A total of nine cars and four tracks are included in the game, in addition to two bonus cars and a hidden track that can be unlocked by completing the game and finishing first in every race during the last season of the Championship mode. [5] A mirror variant for each track can also be unlocked, which reverses curves left-to-right and right-to-left. [7]

The Arcade, Time Attack, and Practice modes are single-race challenges on tracks that have been unlocked in the game's Championship mode. [5] Arcade involves the player racing against an opponent while reaching designated checkpoints under a time limit, whereas Time Attack requires the player to race against a ghost car that represents their best time. [3] In Practice mode, the player can freely drive a car on a track without opponents or time restrictions. Both the Arcade and Practice modes support up to two players. [7] A horizontal split-screen display is used if two players compete against each other. [7] The game features three driving perspectives for the player to choose from. These include an exterior and interior view with or without a rearview mirror. [5] The game is compatible with both the Rumble Pak and Controller Pak. [7] The latter is used to save custom paint jobs and the player's progress through the Championship mode. [5] [7]

Development and release

Top Gear Rally was developed by Boss Game Studios as a follow-up to Kemco 's original Top Gear game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. [8] Development of the game started in July 1996, after the company created a non-interactive demonstration that featured two- and four-wheel drive vehicles racing through different driving conditions. [8] The demonstration was enough to convince Nintendo of America that Boss could develop a game for the Nintendo 64 console. [8] Although the demonstration was developed on Silicon Graphics workstations that were more powerful than the Nintendo 64 and included vehicles that were modeled in 15,000 polygons, Boss was confident that their finished game would be very similar, stating that technical aspects such as lighting effects could be ported easily. [8] Although Sega Rally Championship was a major inspiration, the company considered Top Gear Rally a game that would feel and look very different. [9]

Boss spent between two and three months developing the programming tools for the game, including a physics engine with a functioning suspension that reacts to a variety of challenging terrain. [7] [9] [10] According to lead designer Colin Gordon, "The physics are very accurate, and the shocks, brakes, and handling are specific to each car. No car [drives] like another". [11] The tracks were designed in such a way as to ensure that the game's distance fog and scenery rendering were not apparent. [9] [11] A level editor, which would let players create their own tracks, and a Battle Mode similar to the combat-based races of Super Mario Kart , were originally planned to be included in the game. [8] [12] The developers opted to limit the multiplayer mode to two players because simultaneous four-player racing would have forced them to compromise on either the draw distance or their target frame rate of 30 frames per second. [9] Although Boss did not have licenses to use automobile manufacturing brands, the cars featured in the game were modeled after real vehicles such as the Ford Escort, the Toyota Celica, the Toyota Supra, and the Porsche 911. [13] [14] The soundtrack was composed by Barry Leitch and produced in 8-bit samples. [15]

Top Gear Rally was originally intended to be released in the first quarter of 1997. [12] In January 1997, it was reported that nearly 50% of the game was complete. By May 1997, around 80% of the game was complete. [11] Top Gear Rally was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Atlanta in June 1997, where attendees could play a demo. [16] In North America, the game was published by Midway Games and released in October 1997. [10] [17] In Europe, Top Gear Rally was released in November 1997. [7] The Japanese version, which was released on December 5, 1997, includes a built-in EEPROM in the Nintendo 64 Game Pak that allows players to save their progress without the need of a Controller Pak. It also includes a new title sequence and car models that were more popular in Japan, such as the F150 and the Mitsubishi Pajero. [18]

Reception

Top Gear Rally received generally positive reviews from critics, [19] who considered it superior to MRC: Multi-Racing Championship —another Nintendo 64 game that shares similar features. [7] [23] Next Generation described Top Gear Rally as "a fabulous off-road racer with tons of bonus cars, courses, and replay value to make it a keeper", stating that the game "exceeds everything good Sega Rally came up with, then adds some twists of its own." [6] Game Informer remarked that the game feels more natural than MRC and that its tracks are longer and more fun. [23] In a less positive review, GameSpot felt that the game was too realistic and may frustrate players, but acknowledged that it "demands respect for its graphics, physics, and track design." [4] Edge concluded that Top Gear Rally "certainly has its moments, but they are scattered too few and far between to create a continuously thrilling white-knuckle ride." [3]

The game was widely praised for its clean and crisp graphics. [4] [6] [10] [22] [24] GameSpot remarked that "backgrounds and foregrounds seamlessly blend in an effect that's nearly photorealistic" and that the game's high frame rate "creates an impressive illusion of speed." [4] Graphically, N64 Magazine stated that Top Gear Rally rivals most arcade games of the time, [7] while GamePro noted details such as the reflective mud in the game's jungle track and the fact that cars can be damaged. [1] However, some reviewers said that the game has a barren scenery and repeats textures frequently. [3] [6] [10] The music and sound effects were considered weak, [1] [6] [10] with Nintendo Power stating that the soundtrack does not suit the game's fast pace. [24] Occasional glitches were found, including an instance of two cars overlapping when colliding side by side and the fact that players can get stuck on slanted roadsides, requiring them to restart the race. [10]

The gameplay was highlighted for its fluidity and realistic feel. [3] [7] [10] [21] [25] N64 Magazine noted the game's suspension physics, writing that "Each wheel has a mind of its own, and jiggles up and down as it goes over bumps. Crest a hill too fast and the whole car will take off, the wheels dangling down until you land with a 'crump', the car then bouncing up and down for a while as the suspension settles down." [7] Many critics agreed that, although the Championship mode starts off slow and the controls require some practice, the game gradually becomes more fun and challenging as players unlock more powerful cars. [4] [20] [21] [22] [24] The track's length and varied weather conditions were also highlighted. [7] [22] The split-screen multiplayer mode was criticized because of its black area on the right side of the screen, which contains the game's HUD but leaves a relatively small portion of the screen for players to observe their surroundings. [3] [4] The fact that both players cannot race against computer-controlled opponents was also criticized. [4]

PC port

Top Gear Rally was ported by Boss to Microsoft Windows in 1999. [26] Because Kemco owns the Top Gear license, Boss had to release it as Boss Rally . [27] Unlike the Nintendo 64 version, Boss Rally features three more cars and an additional track, and comprises three gameplay modes: Championship, Time Attack, and Quick Race. [26] Both the Championship and Time Attack modes are similar to those from Top Gear Rally, whereas Quick Race is a single-race challenge where the player must race against a computer-controlled opponent. A multiplayer mode that supports up to eight players is also included. [26]

Related Research Articles

<i>Sega Rally Championship</i> 1995 racing video game

Sega Rally Championship is a 1994 racing video game developed by Sega AM3 and published by Sega. Originally released for arcades using the Sega Model 2 board, it was ported over to the Sega Saturn in 1995 and Windows in 1997. The unique selling point of Sega Rally Championship was the ability to drive on different surfaces, with different friction properties, with the car's handling changing accordingly. As the first racing game to incorporate this feature, Sega Rally Championship is considered to be one of the milestones in the evolution of the racing game genre. It was also an early rally racing game and featured cooperative gameplay alongside the usual competitive multiplayer.

<i>Wave Race 64</i>

Wave Race 64 is a racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996 and is a follow-up to the 1992 Game Boy title Wave Race. Most of the game involves the player racing on a Jet Ski on a variety of courses while successfully manoeuvring the vehicle around various buoys. A multiplayer mode where two players can compete against each other on a chosen course is also included. The game supports the Controller Pak, which allows players to transfer saved data from one game cartridge to another.

<i>San Francisco Rush 2049</i>

San Francisco Rush 2049 is a racing video game developed and published by Atari Games for arcades. It was ported to the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, and Dreamcast by Midway Games. It was released in 2000 on September 7 for North America and November 17 for Europe. It is the third game in the Rush series and the sequel to San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing and Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA. It is also the last game in the Rush series to be set in the city of San Francisco, and the last released on a Nintendo console. It also serves as the final game for the Atari Games label, which was retired shortly after the arcade release. The Dreamcast version was later re-released as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 3 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube; and later Windows as part of Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition.

<i>Automobili Lamborghini</i>

Automobili Lamborghini is a 1997 racing video game developed and published by Titus Software for the Nintendo 64. It is a successor to Lamborghini American Challenge.

<i>V-Rally</i> (video game) 1997 video game

V-Rally is a racing video game developed by Infogrames Multimedia and released for the PlayStation console in 1997. The first game in the V-Rally series, it is based on the 1997 and 1998 World Rally Championship seasons, and features officially licensed cars and tracks inspired by real locations of rally events. Players drive rally cars through a series of stages spread over eight different locations, ranging from European countries like England, Spain or Sweden, to island countries such as Indonesia and New Zealand. As a simulation game, V-Rally places a strong emphasis on replicating the behavior physics of real cars and generally requires more practice than arcade-style racers.

<i>Beetle Adventure Racing</i>

Beetle Adventure Racing! is a racing game released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It was developed by Paradigm Entertainment along with EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts. Each vehicle in the game is a Volkswagen New Beetle, which was released the previous year.

<i>MRC: Multi-Racing Championship</i>

MRC: Multi-Racing Championship, also known as simply Multi Racing Championship, is a racing video game developed by Genki and released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. It was published in North America and Europe by Ocean and in Japan by Imagineer. The game is compatible with the Controller Pak and the Rumble Pak.

<i>Re-Volt</i>

Re-Volt is a racing video game designed by Paul Phippen and Simon Harrison. It was developed by Acclaim Studios London and published by Acclaim Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Dreamcast.

<i>Top Gear Overdrive</i>

Top Gear Overdrive is a racing game released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and the sequel to Top Gear Rally. The game has support for high-resolution graphics if used with the Expansion Pak and features music from the band Grindstone.

<i>Extreme-G</i>

Extreme-G is a futuristic racing video game developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment, featuring an original trance soundtrack. It was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, and was released in Japan on May 29, 1998. Despite the crowded field of Nintendo 64 racing games, Extreme-G was met with moderately positive reviews and was a commercial success. A sequel, Extreme-G 2, was released in 1998, followed by two additional games: Extreme-G 3 and XGRA: Extreme G Racing Association.

<i>RalliSport Challenge 2</i>

RalliSport Challenge 2 is a 2004 rally racing video game, and the sequel to the 2002 RalliSport Challenge. This game contains new features such as a cockpit cameras and ability to change car at the last moment. However, stats like total horsepower and number of gears have been eliminated from the car selection screen.

<i>F1 Pole Position 64</i>

F1 Pole Position 64, released in Japan as Human Grand Prix: The New Generation, is a 1997 racing video game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Human Entertainment and published by them in Japan, but handled by Ubisoft for North American and European releases. It is the fifth and final game in the Human Grand Prix / F1 Pole Position series, featuring Formula One branding.

<i>Indy Racing 2000</i>

Indy Racing 2000 is a racing game for the Nintendo 64 that was released in 2000. The game is based on the 1999 Indy Racing League and races a 20-car field. The game's modes of play include single race, Championship, Two player and Gold Cup. There are 9 tracks and 11 races. The Gold Cup mode lets the player race Midget cars, sprint cars, Formula cars, and Indy cars on fictional tracks.

<i>Top Gear Rally 2</i>

Top Gear Rally 2 is a racing video game developed by Saffire and released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It is a sequel to Top Gear Rally.

<i>Boss Rally</i>

Boss Rally is a 1999 racing game developed by Boss Game Studios and published by SouthPeak Interactive for Microsoft Windows. It is essentially a port of the Nintendo 64 game Top Gear Rally, with extra features such as more cars and tracks and a multiplayer mode that supports up to eight players.

<i>Top Gear Pocket</i>

Top Gear Pocket, known in Europe as Top Gear Rally, is a racing video game developed by Kemco and released for the Game Boy Color handheld console in 1999. A sequel, Top Gear Pocket 2, was released in 2000.

<i>Jeff Gordon XS Racing</i>

Jeff Gordon XS Racing is a 1999 racing video game for the PC and Game Boy Color. The game features three time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. The game's Game Boy version has link cable support.

<i>Gear.Club Unlimited</i> 2017 racing video game for Nintendo Switch

Gear.Club Unlimited is a racing video game developed by Eden Games and published by Microïds for the Nintendo Switch. It was released on November 21, 2017 in North America, in Europe on December 1, 2017, and in Japan on December 14, 2017. It is an expanded version of the iOS/Android mobile game Gear.Club.

<i>Top Gear Pocket 2</i>

Top Gear Pocket 2, known in Europe as Top Gear Rally 2, is a racing video game developed by Kemco and released for the Game Boy Color handheld console in 2000. It is a sequel to Top Gear Pocket.

<i>Top Gear Rally</i> (2003 video game)

Top Gear Rally, known in Japan as Top Gear Rally SP, is a racing video game developed by Tantalus Interactive and released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Nintendo 64 ProReview: Top Gear Rally". GamePro . No. 110. International Data Group. November 1997. p. 128.
  2. "Top Gear Rally". Electronic Gaming Monthly . No. 97. Ziff Davis. August 1997. p. 115.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Top Gear Rally". Edge . No. 52. Future Publishing. December 1997. pp. 74–75.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Fielder, Joe (April 28, 2000). "Top Gear Rally Review". GameSpot . Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Top Gear Rally". Nintendo Power . No. 102. Nintendo of America. November 1997. pp. 51–57.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Top Gear Rally". Next Generation . No. 37. Imagine Media. January 1998. p. 146.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Multi Racing Championship vs Top Gear Rally". N64 Magazine . No. 8. Future Publishing. November 1997. pp. 48–53.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 "Boss Game To Create N64 Racing Game". Boss Game Studios . Redmond, Washington. July 1, 1996. Archived from the original on October 7, 1997.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Top Gear Rally". Next Generation . No. 29. Imagine Media. May 1997. pp. 88–89.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Schneider, Peer (October 3, 1997). "Top Gear Rally". IGN . Archived from the original on December 12, 2000.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. 1 2 3 "Top Gear Rally". IGN . May 23, 1997. Archived from the original on December 17, 2000.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. 1 2 "Top Gear Rally". Electronic Gaming Monthly . No. 86. Ziff Davis. September 1996. p. 70.
  13. "Top Gear Rally". N64 Magazine . No. 1. Future Publishing. April 1997. p. 19.
  14. "Top Gear Rally". N64 Magazine . No. 4. Future Publishing. July 1997. p. 19.
  15. "Official Barry Leitch Music Archives". barryleitch.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. "Top Gear Rally". N64 Magazine . No. 5. Future Publishing. August 1997. p. 23.
  17. "Midway Brings Home the Racers". IGN . August 13, 1997. Archived from the original on December 14, 2000.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. "Top Gear's New Look in Japan". IGN . October 16, 1997. Archived from the original on December 17, 2000.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. 1 2 "Top Gear Rally". GameRankings . Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. 1 2 Sackenheim, Shawn. "Top Gear Rally - Review". AllGame . Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. 1 2 3 "Top Gear Rally". Computer and Video Games . No. 193. EMAP. December 1997. pp. 92–93.
  22. 1 2 3 4 "Top Gear Rally". Electronic Gaming Monthly . No. 101. Ziff Davis. December 1997. p. 194.
  23. 1 2 3 "Top Gear Rally". Game Informer . No. 56. December 1997. p. 70. Archived from the original on September 8, 1999.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. 1 2 3 4 "Top Gear Rally". Nintendo Power . No. 102. Nintendo of America. November 1997. p. 94.
  25. "Top Gear Rally". Hyper . No. 51. Next Publishing. January 1998. pp. 74–75.
  26. 1 2 3 Butts, Stephen (May 19, 1999). "Boss Rally". IGN . Archived from the original on December 27, 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. Harris, Craig (August 1, 1998). "Boss Rally". IGN . Archived from the original on December 27, 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)