Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Photos - Sega Rally Championship

It's very hard to find quality Sega Saturn screenshots.  I'm not quite sure why that is.  The 32-bit generation is strangely overlooked by video game fans; it's too late for the classic gamers, and too late for the internet.  Thankfully, I was able to score these outstanding photos of Sega Rally Championship in action.

Sega Rally is still my favorite arcade racing game of the past 15 years.  It's just as beautiful and exciting as it was in December of 1995.  I honestly can't think of any single title that I'd rather play by myself or with friends.  Sega Rally on Saturn is a textbook example of how a fantastic racing game should perform - fast, immediate thrills, precise controls, spectacular graphics, and endless action.  And the game is hard!  Remember when video games were actually challenging?!

Also, call me an old grouch, but I still think the graphics are fantastic.  I'm still amazed at the vibrancy of color, the painterly quality to the textures, the sharp details on the roads and hills and mountains, and especially the rock-solid speed of the graphics engine.  Sega Rally is a crowning achievement for Saturn's 3D polygon powers.  I still remember the one-two-three punch of Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Cop, and Sega Rally at Christmas 1995.  Why Sega couldn't duplicate those achievements on Saturn remains a puzzling mystery.  Why were later Sega racing games so terrible?  Daytona CCE, Manx TT Superbike, Touring Car Championship....yuck, yuck, yuck.  None could hold a candle to Sega Rally.  Isn't that weird?

Hardly any racing games are even made anymore.  Only simulation-style games, in the vein of Gran Tourismo, are released by one or two publishers.  The arcade fundamentals are completely lost.  It's getting to the point where Mario Kart is a flagship racing game.  Not to knock Mario Kart (the DS and Wii versions are excellent), but what the heck happened here?!  To my eyes, the Cinematic Games Era has completely ruined video games.  Everything is dragged down with bloat and excess, way too many cinematics or cut-scenes, and stupid, useless tutorials.  Even Excite Truck, a relatively good racer, is bogged down by these faults.  The very word "arcade" is seen as a snub to the $30 million video game crowd.  Frankly, I think they're nuts.

1 comment:

MultiplayerMario64 said...

I recently purchased a saturn wheel to experience this in all it's glory and I have to say the behavior of the car has been programmed to give you the chills. It's a programming masterpiece. In a Maximum the Video Game magazine interview the senior programmer Ryuichi Hattori says "There are only about 12 people in the world who could have done it." Today gameplay physics have obviously gone a long way but i'm inclined to believe that Sega Rally Championship was the pinnacle of what can be called arcade physics. You know, the type of physics that make you smile and sweat in numerous successive adrenaline bursts. If only there would exist more games handling like it.