McRae Rally 3
Developed by Codemasters
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Released: Out Now
been a long and agonising wait for PC rally fans. Colin McRae Rally
3 first appeared on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 last autumn and ever
since PC gamers have been waiting in anticipation. In fact it was
announced that Colin McRae Rally 4 would be arriving on the consoles
this year which made the wait for number 3 increasingly unbearable.
However the wait is now over and Colin McRae Rally 3 is finally
available on PC. It says a lot for the quality of the series that
before number 3 arrived, Colin McRae Rally 2.0 was considered to
be the best rally simulation even though there have been a load
of rally games since it's release a few years ago. Anyway let's
get on with it and look at Colin McRae Rally 3.
you haven't played either the PlayStation 2 or Xbox version of Colin
McRae Rally 3 you'll be surprised by the streamlined nature of the
game. The arcade races have been removed and if you want to take
part in a rally your only option is to take part in the Championship
mode. This would seem to indicate that the developers wanted to
make the series more of a simulation, however it's a shame that
the arcade mode was removed because it was an excellent feature.
Multiplayer races are restricted to split screen or alternate turns
as well so there is no chance of online races which is a little
mode puts you in the shoes of Colin himself, no, literally it does
because you can't choose to set yourself up as an individual. For
those who have played previous CM Rally titles you'll notice some
key differences here too. First of all the whole proceedings have
been given a more professional edge. It won't be game over if you
fail to make the top places after a few rallies. You don't get the
chance to decide what repairs are made to your vehicles when you
come to service stages in a rally. Some gamers may be upset by this
but I suppose in real life Colin is a driver not the works mechanic.
You still get to set the car up as you like though but be warned
if you decide to tinker, the effects of wrongly setting the car
up, something I have been known to do, are more pronounced than
in virtually any other rally game I've played. Each rally you participate
in has six stages and a super special stage in which you go head
to head with another driver. This super special stage offers a great
way to finish off a rally and it is good to be able to race wheel-to-wheel
as opposed to point-to-point for a change.
handling of the cars seem more realistic this time around. It's
really impressive the way the quality of the handling decreases
with the damage taken. You know what's been damaged because of how
the handling feels. The car feels different on every terrain which
again is both realistic and impressive. One comment I will make
though is that if you're going to be using a set of wheels and pedals
then initially you'll find the steering a bit strange. The game
lets you configure the deadzone settings for the wheel and it took
me quite a while before I was happy with the settings. The default
settings feel unresponsive and the chances are the you will have
to make adjustments until you find the right balance. Those of you
with force feedback wheels will be disappointed to learn that the
force feedback is rather lacking, even on the highest setting. I
tried two devices and both performed similarly.
would expect the PC version of Colin McRae Rally 3 to look better
than it's console brethren and thanks to increased resolutions it
certainly does. You're going to need a very strong CPU and graphics
card to run the game at higher resolutions though. Our system (Athlon
XP2000+/GeForce4 Ti4200/512MB RAM) choked a little at 1024x768 but
was generally fine at lower resolutions. Of course you can lower
the details and this will improve your framerate should you feel
it's running a little sluggish. You can even enable full scene anti-aliasing
if your PC is upto the task, mine sadly wasn't. The car models look
absolutely fantastic and are easily the best seen in any Rally simulation.
The weather effects are also particularly impressive and the blizzards
in Sweden will make you shiver and want to put antifreeze on the
windscreen, it looks that good. It was disappointing to see the
cardboard cut-out crowds in action once again. I can only guess
that fully animated spectators would have ground most PCs to a full
stop but nevertheless it would be good to have the option of having
course you can probably guess that the co-drivers comments are not
subtitled. The visual pace notes are colour coded though to highlight
the severity of the turns which is very useful. A white background
indicates a fairly safe turn whilst a red background indicates a
right pig of a turn. The visual pace notes are good but they don't
convey details such as bumps and other details in addition to the
nature of the turns. All other information is shown visually though.
The manual, whilst short explains all you need to know to get started
with the game.
McRae Rally 3 is easily the best rally simulation on the PC. However
you can't help but wish that the arcade mode had remained and that
you could choose to drive a different car in the championship mode.
Still there has to be room for improvements for number 4 in the
series and after all what's here is very good indeed.
Game Rating: 9.2/10
The Colin McRae Rally series makes a triumphant return but it's
a shame that it didn't carry on the arcade mode from the second
No problems for deaf gamers but the visual pace notes need more