Dakar 2: The World’s Ultimate Rally Review

Developer: Acclaim Publisher: Acclaim
Release Date: March 25, 2003 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Traditionally, I haven’t been much of a fan of racing games, especially realistic ones. That’s probably a side effect of my traditionally having not been very good at them. Somehow, Dakar 2: The World’s Ultimate Rally (henceforth referred to as Dakar 2) has convinced me that perhaps the genre of realistic racing is worth another look by me, regardless of the fact that, on a purely objective level, the game is average. This game is certainly good for a little while, or for multiplayer, but it won’t last forever.

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The graphics are average. They aren’t particularly detailed, although they don’t look bad, and things are easily identifiable for what they are supposed to be. There is very little slowdown considering how fast the vehicles, particularly the bikes, move. Overall, there are no major complaints here, but the graphics could have been more detailed. I understand this was a budget game though, so the less detailed graphics are somewhat forgivable.

The sound effects are not bad either. The cars, trucks, and bikes all sound roughly like vehicles of their type would, with few problems or discrepancies. The music, if you’re not too busy to listen to it, is also nice, although it isn’t the catchiest stuff in the world. Overall, for a budget title, the game’s sound is done as well as should be expected.

So far as gameplay goes, it’s a racing game. 12 courses, each with a choice of racing using cars, trucks, or bikes, and three difficulty levels make this game reasonably long. You don’t have many vehicles to choose from within each vehicle type, especially when you first pick up the game, and that does deplete the depth of the game somewhat, but it is hardly a major complaint. The courses vary in locale and type, most being on pathways of some type, but two being sort of free roaming through the desert. One takes place at night, and the weather conditions also vary between them, with at least one taking place in a rainstorm. Unfortunately, the weather and time cannot be altered on them, as each one takes place at one time of day in one weather condition. Still, at least they aren’t all at noon in full sunlight.

Of the three types of vehicles, I have found the bikes to be the easiest to use. They wipe out the easiest, but they’re also the fastest and the most maneuverable. The trucks and even the cars are hard to flip over, but the counterbalance to this is that as they take damage, they tend to perform less well. You can even see the damage being done to the vehicles, which is a nice touch. If your vehicle does get damaged severely, you can stop and repair it, but you will eat time while you do so.

This game boasts a one-player rally mode where you try to race through all the stages and come out on the top of the rankings. This comes in three difficulty levels, as I previously mentioned. Or you can race in what is called Arcade Mode against AI opponents of any of the three difficulty levels. There is a specific multiplayer mode for racing against a human opponent, although the fact that the game is two-player maximum is somewhat disappointing given the fact that the GCN has four controller ports. However, most racing games are two-player, so I can’t complain too hard.

Overall, this game isn’t the best graphically, or even in execution, but it is certainly good for a diversion or for a person who isn’t looking for a full-fledged simulation racing title. If you’re just looking for a good, fun, racing title that looks realistic, this could be the one for you, but if you’re looking for something like Gran Turismo, you’ll probably end up disappointed by the lack of depth and semi-arcadey feel.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.5
Written by Martin Review Guide

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