Today we are looking at a remake of a sixteen year old game that goes under the name of Death Rally. The original game came out more then a decade ago for Windows and was re-released as freeware in 2009 by Remedy Entertainment. The game gained some popularity and is playable on the iPhone and iPad. Remedy Entertainment, known for games as Alan Wake and Max Payne, made a new version of the game featuring several new weapons, cars and tracks. The game is, just like the old version, a top-down racer, meaning the camera is above the vehicle, giving you an unusual, old-school overview of the car and the track. The concept of Death Rally is fairly simple, as the goal is to cross the finish line as fast as possible, while eliminating your opponents, something that is a rather difficult task if you’re not used to top-down view race games, which would not be entirely unlikely, because nowadays racing games come with all kinds of different camera angles, allowing the player to sit in the car or get a view from behind the car.
Death Rally offers two different modes, story and free race. In Story you race against various opponents while finding parts, which can be traded in for a car once you’ve collected enough of them. Each race also earns you money, which you need for car repairs, as your car takes some damage each race. How much damage depends on your driving skills and how many times you have been shot by the opponent. If you have some money left after repairing your car you can spend it on upgrades for your car, increasing the armor, speed or handling of the vehicle. There is no detailed story line, but the games does come with some voice acting, although there aren’t any real story dialogues. The game focuses purely on racing, not bothering about lengthy cut-scenes or in-depth character explanations. The game feels a bit dated, but that is no surprise considering Death Rally is a remake that kept the original concept, something that fans of the old game may be thrilled about.
To start a race, all the player has to do is select a track from the menu, pick a car and select a weapon loadout. When you start the game you only have one car and one weapon unlocked, but as you progress further into the game you start unlocking more, giving you more vehicles and weapons to choose from. Racing speed matters little in this game if you can’t dodge, because you will most likely be shot to pieces. The tactic of the game is to race as fast as possible, while shooting every vehicle that you can see down in the meantime, so that your opponents stop bothering you for a while. To avoid incoming bullets and missiles one can drift around the corners, or powerslide to the side. This is easier said then done and takes some time to learn, especially if you did not play top-down racing games before. The controls feel somewhat dated and are slightly annoying.
The player uses the four arrow keys to race, but there is no gas pedal, meaning every key moves the player in a different direction. On top of that, players can shoot with X and boost with the spacebar if they have picked up a boost on the track. Handling the tiny cars can be quite difficult as they sway from left to right with the lightest touch, leaving you parked against a tree in less then a second. That being said, the game does allow you to customize the controls in the options menu, although the concept I explained earlier about the gas pedal stays the same. In the options menu the player can also change the volume of the effects and ingame music and choose from different resolutions. The game can also be played in windowed mode. Death Rally runs smooth without problems on most computers, meaning most gamers are able to play the game.
As mentioned earlier the graphics are a little disappointing, as they show almost no improvement compared to the iOS version of the game. The graphics look dated, and the textures are a little rough, although it does bring back some old-school feelings. In my opinion the graphics of the game would have looked better if the developers would have spent a little more time on the textures. Also, the game does not have any form of tutorial, so you will have to figure out everything on your own. In the beginning the player has no idea what the upgrades exactly do. For example, when I upgrade a weapon I have no idea if it gives me higher ammo or more damage output, making choosing between weapons slightly difficult. On top of that the player is unable to swap out pieces or parts before allocating upgrades, making it less interesting to change weapons.
The game has a multiplayer mode, but this tends to be a little confusing at first. You are unable to create a room or lobby in any way. Instead, you and your friends all have to create a channel with the exact same name in order to play with one another. There is no way of seeing who is in the lobby either, so you could be staring at a track for hours before the race actually starts, making multiplayer mode a little frustrating. The game comes with various steam achievements and collecting them can be fun. The achievements vary from killing a certain amount of opponents to unlocking a specific track. If you have played the old version of Death rally and are looking forward to a remake, I would suggest picking it up. But if you’re a lover of modern race games and have no interest in a racing game with a top-down view, this game might not be right for you.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.