Friday, April 27, 2012

World Rally Fever: The Road to Victory Part 1

If I were to point to a game that marked the beginning of my massive backlog, World Rally Fever would probably be it. I picked it up in the crappy game section of a local toy store along with Pokémon Yellow in the early Summer of 2001. I played it a fair amount throughout the Summer, nudging my way onto the winner's podium of the game's first cup. By the time Autumn rolled around though, I found myself suddenly swamped in cheap, second-hand PC games, my brother and I had grabbed from a few on-line auctions and classified ads.

When I was only able to get hold of one game every four or five months before, I squeezed every ounce of goodness I could from it. Even if it was bastard-hard or utterly unfathomable to figure out, I'd still sit down with it again and again and try my best to make any progress I could, because what else was I going to play? Now though, I had a crapton of stuff to play. I didn't need to push myself to get past World Rally Fever's fairly challenging later tracks any more; I had Grand Theft Auto and Caesar III and Cannon Fodder to play. And those were only the beginning of a deluge of cheaper budget and used games that grew and grew, year after year, as my disposable income increased and the availability of cheaper games increased. As the number of games I had shot up, so did the amount of them left unplayed, ignored or forgotten sitting on my shelves, but World Rally Fever was the first of them.

With my effort last year to tackle my backlog coinciding with the tenth anniversary of me picking up the game, I knew I had to take a shot at beating this. With wired 360 pad in hand, Joy2Key running away in the background, I set off again through World Rally Fever's first track. This time though it wasn't to test DOSBox's compatibility for the umpteenth time; it wasn't to capture a YouTube video for Listal. For the first time in ten years, I sat down to actually play the game. The only thing that was going to stop me this time was the game itself beating me over the head with it's immense difficulty.(And holy shit, did it beat me. :D)

So, come with me as we take a trip through this forgotten mid-90's racer, as I attempt to finally lay the first entry in my gaming backlog to rest. First stop: Scotland.

Um, before we board for the highlands though, I should point out that none of these videos are from a single run through any of the cups. Most of them were captured as I played through the game last summer, my aim being to get a winning performance to post to YouTube. That only worked out up to a point however, as we'll see later. :D They'll definitely give you a good idea of what I was dealing with though. Now that that's out of the way, the Rookie Cup awaits:

Scotland (Rookie Cup)

As first tracks go, Scotland is no Mario Circuit. There's ample opportunity for calamity with both sides of the tracks dotted with stones. The main obstacle to look out for here is the water. trying to drive through it or colliding with the grass after a botched jump are both going to do a number on you. I've raced this track so many times now though, that cruising to first place is never a problem here.

I've got to apologise for the video quality and lack of sound effects here. This is one of the handful of WRF videos I uploaded to YouTube in the early days of my blog. I didn't actually know the game had sound effects at the time and I was unfortunately relying on Windows Movie Maker for my video editing needs. It really doesn't help that YouTube compresses everything to crap either. I might upload newer versions of these tracks at some point, but the newer videos are stretching my terrible upload speed to capacity at the moment.

Rio (Rookie Cup)

A couple of slightly tricky bends aside, this is a much simpler course than Scotland. I'm a big fan of the upbeat music in this one. Some really impressive fake ads dotted around the track too. Oh, and I've just noticed the super low-res Christ the Redeemer in the background. Awesome! :D

France (Rookie Cup)

Here's where the pain begins. :D France give us out first taste of the developer's penchant for putting walls on race tracks where they just don't belong. And one of them has a absolute bastard of a corner leading up to it. Will I be able to pull another victory out of the bag after an early wall-based setback?  Will I ever manage to take that bloody corner without colliding into it? All will be revealed between multiple sheep blugeonings.

New York (Rookie Cup)

Yeah, I think you guys will immediately see why I held off starting this feature back in September. As for the track itself, it may not be as tough as France is, but with gaps to jump, destructible railings and some more precariously positioned walls, it really makes you work hard for that trophy.


06/08/11 - Beat the Rookie Cup tonight for the first time in ten years. Next up, the Amateur Cup, though Utah is proving to be my undoing ATM. - JiliK's Backloggery

Thinking back to playing the game in 2001, I remembered having a pretty tough time even beating the Rookie Cup. Having clinched it without too much effort this time, I have to admit I was feeling pretty confident heading into the Amateur Cup. I had obviously forgotten about the Hawaii track. But World Rally Fever was about to deliver a refresher course...

On to Part 2

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