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Top Gear Rally

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Reviewed by Mark Hansen As a huge Top Gear fan back on the Super Nintendo I could barely contain myself when I heard it was going to be released for the N64. I searched out a copy at a local Blockbuster and plopped down my 4 bucks to rent it (unfortunately I've learned to rent N64 games before buying). I rush home fire up my Nintendo at was greeted with a Midway logo, chills flew up my spine remembering MK, I pressed on. Upon reaching the Main Screen I ran through several options: Championship, Arcade, Time Attack, Practice, Paint Shop, and Options. I ran through the different options which had a welcome save option. I started with the Championship mode. The controls are very simple, and I moved through the two different camera angels to pick my view, and off I went. The game takes some getting used to, the controls are "loose" but I've found that this is one of the few racing games that actually requires you to use the brake button, no folks it's not just a decoration anymore, you have to brake. Upon completing the first race with a satisfying 2nd place my mouth dropped, no more upgrades! I couldn't believe it, the part that I loved about Top Gear 1 & 2, was the upgrades, how else can I get those great tires, than new engine, those nitros! I simply couldn't believe that it had been removed from the game. I decided to go back the menu, maybe I missed it in the options, maybe it was in Time Trial, Arcade mode, no where, it's gone.. sigh! With a final humph, I tried the paint shop which actually turned out to be pretty cool. A basic paint program that let me make my own decals and same them to a memory pack, indeed pretty cool.

Graphics - 9.5

Some of the most impressive graphics yet in a N64 cart. Unfortunately most the effects aren't visible unless you watch the last lap replay after the race. The water spray from tires when in water are awesome, the light effects, snow on the tires, the game is been kept very true to life. The tracks are very nicely rendered and very easy on the eye. The cars are nicely rendered and seeing your own graphics on the car is a plus.

Control - 7.5

This is a hard number to estimate based on several aspects. If you don't configure your car correctly before a race the car is going to handle horribly, whereas a well configured car is much easier to control. As stated above you have to use the brakes in the game which doesn't come up much in racing games. Trust me if you don't use the brakes your going to be in the wall a great majority of the time.

Sound - 7.0

The games sound is ok but not great. The music gets repetitive as the game goes on, but hey if you play a game long enough few aren't. The car engines sound good, the hits and collisions sound good as well.

Overall - 8.0

Plus: Awesome weather conditions, good number of cars, rumble pack support, paint shop, good AI. Minus: No upgrades between races (nitros), could use more tracks, control questionable. As much as I love the two previous titles, I have to leave this one on the rental shelf, for now if I want a top notch racing game I'll stick with Wave Race. Nice try but maybe Top Gear II will be better.

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