For those of you who don’t know; Colin McRae is a Scottish rally car driver who has enjoyed fame and fortune on the international racing circuit as a result of his outstanding rallying skills. In addition to this he has also been immortalized through the existence of the renowned and highly successful rally games that bear his name. Now in conjunction with veteran game developers IdeaWorks3D; Nokia and Codemasters bring Colin Mcrae Rally 2005 to the N-Gage platform.
As soon as you first load up Colin McRae you will be blown away by the highly polished feel, this is something that very few N-Gage titles manage to do within the first couple of seconds of a game. You will be greeted by aesthetically pleasing pre-race menus that detail the course terrain with the percentage of mud and gravel. The menus also feature some well rendered licensed cars that you are able to rotate and flip in order to finely tune your vehicles and optimize them for the current terrain conditions. You are able to adjust your tyres, gearbox, suspension, power ratio, brake power, brake bios and steering. You will also immediately notice some of the fantastic licensed cars that are all easily recognizable. There are 12 cars in all, eight of which must be unlocked; these include cars from Mini, MG, Peugeot, Subaru, Toyota, Audi, Volkswagen, Citroen, Renault and Mitsubishi.
Colin McRae features a very unique damage and repair system which is by far one of the games most appealing features. Every time you collide in to something no matter what it is or how small your car will be damaged in the appropriate spot and to add to the realism every part of the car is susceptible to damage. As you take on damage your car will perform accordingly and so if you damage your suspension by stacking it in to a large fence don’t be surprised if your car bounces around the track in the manner of a naughty child. With the amount of damage that you are likely to sustain you will be pleased to know that the game also features a repair mode, where you can repair your broken and limping cars. The only limiting factor involved here is time, and obviously different repairs take different amounts of time and because the races tend to be scheduled together very tightly you will often find that this time constraint prevents you from making some much needed repairs.
The game features four single player modes:
- Championship: In this mode you start at the bottom of the world driver rankings, and you will have to work your way up through events and series to become the best.
- Single Rally: This is similar to the championship mode but you will only take part in one rally in one country, which you will choose at the beginning, this normally consists of around 6 stages.
- Single Stage: In this mode you will only play one stage from a specific rally, you are also able to control the weather in this mode.
- Time Trial: The time trial is all about beating your speed records. You are able to select the same things as in the other modes but in this mode you get the added addition of a ghost car, so you are able to race against your previous best race time.
To aid you in your progress throughout the game you will be joined by a co-driver who verbally lets you know what is coming up whether it’s a jump, a turn or even a change in the terrain. This is also enhanced by a small sign which indicates the direction and curve of any up-coming corners.
The controls for Colin McRae are fairly standard for a racing game:’2’ controls the camera angle and there is a choice of between 4 different views as well as a custom camera angle which I will detail later. The ‘3’ key is essentially your rear view mirror, the ‘4’ key controls your handbrake and the ‘5’ key as normal is your acceleration. ‘7’ is your brake and if you choose to race with manual gears the ‘6’ key is your gear up and the ‘8’ key is shift gear down.
Looking at just the controls you may be forgiven for thinking that the learning curve for Colin McRae is relatively low, however think again because this game is certainly not for the impatient. The reason for this is due to the amount of realism and attention to detail that the developers have included. The driving experience is exceptional and is the first racing game that I have played on the N-Gage device that actually feels as if you are driving. The car handles in a very similar way to real car and you can actual feel and compensate for the terrain you are driving on, because of this you can’t get away with just holding down the accelerator key and using a small amount of braking. You will have to drive incredibly well and accurately as well as become familiar with the car and its limits. For this reason I would estimate that learning curve for this game is fairly high and so it’s defiantly not a game that you can turn on and immediately start kicking arse!
The graphics for Colin McRae 2005 are very good indeed. The cars look good around the track and feature some very fine detail; the animations themselves are very realistic and as far as I can tell maintain a constant clarity throughout the game with out ever becoming blocky, sticky or slow when the action becomes too heated.
The background environments are realistic, well detailed and unlike so many other racing games still maintain a small amount of depth. At the end of each stage you will be treated to a Gran Turismo style replay which is simply fantastic and hosts some of the most impressive replay/game action that I have ever seen on the Nokia device.
The games sound is fairly unfaultable. The in-game effects are well suited and realistic with the most exceptional effect probably being the sound of tyres as they screech around the corners. The games soundtrack fits well and is of a good quality; however the music never appears within the game itself and is only apparent on the menu screens. Instead during the game your audio addiction will be met by the fairly un-passionate sound of your co-drivers voice. Although this is helpful you will be glad to know that you can independently change the volumes for each feature.
Colin McRae 2005 is crammed with some great features such as the ability to create your own custom camera angles. With this feature you are able to adjust the camera height, distance from the car, how far the camera pans around the car and the tilt of the camera. Another great feature the game hosts is the multiplayer Bluetooth mode. In this multiplayer mode up to two players race head to head with each other simultaneously and can collide with one another. The game also supports some limited N-gage Arena functions such as shadow racing and high score posting.
In all this is a racing game that almost feels out of place on the N-Gage device due to its realism, attention to detail and exceptional game-play, which should delight all you rally enthusiasts out there. This game is by far the most advanced racing game available for the device and is defiantly worthy of its name. Highly recommended.
Vroomm Vrrroooooommmm!!! Didn’t you know I’m a rally champion?
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