Death Rally review (PC)
A nostalgia driven blood bath, or a vat of missed opportunity?
I first encountered Death Rally in the same year that I discovered the Pentium.
To be truly honest, I watched a family member play it and thought “what the hell are you thinking!?”, I then decided to give it a go, and it was fantastic.
Fast forward 12 years and here I sit playing what can only be considered a rebooted-port. Ah, reboots – they’ve brought us many fantastic flops – a never ending list of strong disappointments that will try to cash in on their predecessors’ fan base. Then there is the ever expanding list of unsuccessful ports, where by developers spend all their time and effort designing a game for a certain platform, only to have their respective publishers awkwardly port it to another.
Death Rally first appeared on iOS and Android devices about a year ago, the game was made free to play on Android and cost about $4 on the Apple app store, it was met with some success and it was thus decided that the game should be ported to its original platform, the PC.
A simplistic control scheme and basic gameplay remains at the core of Death Rally. With a very simple directive: drive forward whilst holding down the shoot button to blow the guys up in front of you. Points are rewarded for killing off the opposition and for finishing the race in a higher position. You can then use those points to upgrade or repair your car.
Reward points are gained according to your position, kill count, destroying of a boss, cash pickups, participation, best lap time and best race time.
The upgrade system is what makes this title addictive. Firstly, you can level up your vehicle’s handling, armour and speed. You can then purchase additional weapons, which include gatling guns, shotguns and rocket launchers to name but a few. Once you have a fully upgraded car and modified weapons, you can start chasing different achievements. Remedy have graciously given 87 achievements to unlock, so for those overachieving gamers out there, this is a cheap way to fuel your ego.
Compared to the original, this version is light years ahead, as it should be. Sadly, on the visual front it isn’t much to write home about. Whilst there are some cool texture and shadow effects, such as the clouds shadows being clearly visible on the track, Death Rally still looks better on a mobile device. If there was any up-scaling, it’s not exactly noticable. A huge bug I found was that after some races (whether they are online or offline) there was a monumental blank screen, which could linger around from anywhere between 35 seconds to 2 minutes.
The in-game sounds and music are decent, but again, nothing special. Explosion and gun effects are punchy and the chinking of bullets hitting your opponents does deliver a certain level of satisfaction.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this game, and it is a bargain at only $6.99. I would however recommend the mobile version over the PC Steam version if you’re willing to fork out some extra money for weapons on the mobile device.