iPad Game Review: Death Rally Reviewed by Steven Scarpitti
Remedy Entertainment created Death Rally for PC in 1996, and then they went on to create the popular Max Payne series for multiple platforms and more recently the Alan Wake series for the Xbox 360. Now with a new platform, the iOS, Remedy took all their experience and has delivered a new Death Rally, a classic reborn, to the iPhone and iPad in a universal version.
Death Rally is a unique top down combat racing game that features one mode of play, which is a career mode where you will be racing for your life, fame, and cash to upgrade your cars and weapons. There are five different courses to race with five difficulty settings and five kinds of vehicles that you can equip with six types of weapons, both weapons and vehicles can be upgraded. After a short story intro you are sent out with the basic vagabond buggy and shotgun to choose your first race. The races are offered up as six different choices, these six choices could be any combination of the fives courses and five difficulties. You can also choose one of the five courses with a special challenge or a different forced camera view that make the courses feel mixed or rotated as the game calls it.
The combinations of courses and difficulties are random but are influenced by your fame level, the higher your fame level the more difficult races you'll see and fewer easy choices. Your fame level is a reflection of how well you do racing and the higher your fame level the better you have to do to raise it. There are a number of different things determine your scores at the end of a race, such as the position you finished, if you beat the boss, kill count, cash pickups, and a few others. Your score relates to how much cash and fame you earn, once you upgrade all your cars and weapons then you can convert your extra cash into fame. The hardest part of racing is beating the bosses, there is one boss per race and they normally lead most of a race. There are a total of 21 different bosses and they are easily identifiable with their name and picture by their car.
At the start of the game you only have one vehicle and one weapon, you can unlock additional cars and weapons by picking up special pieces scattered throughout the racecourses. There are also boxes you can shoot that contain cash, ammo, nitrous, health packs, and explosive barrels to aid in the destruction. You will notice that your car takes damage during the race, so at the end of each race you will want to spend some of your cash to repair your car. Any leftover cash can be used to upgrade your cars speed, handling, and armor or you can simply upgrade your equipped weapon, each car has a different max level for speed, handling, and armor.
There is enough content in this game to keep you busy for several hours and the developers have already announced a new car and weapons in the next update. Hopefully there will be more new cars and weapons and also new tracks at some point in future updates but there is a good variety to the tracks already with the different variants. There is also a very detailed game stats option to look at and see all your accomplishments. Overall this is a very polished and enjoyable experience.
The graphics look terrific, they are crisp and clean like what you would expect from a good quality console game. It is worth noting that the developers took the time to optimize the graphics for the iPad 2 with anti-aliasing, which makes everything look super smooth. The controls work perfectly in Death Rally, but there is no option for different control setups which would have been nice to offer at least one different layout.
The background music is a fitting futuristic rock n roll sound, that's nice high quality just like the rest of the game. There is a good assortment of sound effects for weapons, explosions, and even when the cars are trading paint. The sounds are again what you would expect for console quality title, the only thing missing is the option to play your own music.
This is one of the best racing game on the iTunes App Store thus far and will only continue to get better with new updates. The replay value is very high as the races are short and intense with the ability to upgrade your stuff, so it keeps you wanting to play one more race, just one more race. Death Rally will appeal to people who enjoy racing games, action games, and really most gamers in general as it is a very fun and entertaining experience.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- High quality graphics that are very crisp and smooth especially on the iPad 2. Sound: -4.5- Again high quality music and sounds that's only missing the option for custom music. Controls: -4.5- Controls work perfectly but it would be nice to be offered an alternative layout. Gameplay:-5- This game is an absolute blast to play and really keeps you wanting to play one more race after one more race.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Don't forget to repair your car after each race before spending your money on any upgrades or you could get struck losing races because your car explodes from too much damage. - The course called The Pit seems to be the easiest course to practice the controls and earn money. - In most races it helps to hang back the first lap and kill a few opponents before trying to take the lead or you risk getting shot up from behind if you try to take the lead to too early.
Here is a video teaser of the upcoming new sports car Wraith and laser sights: