Screamer Rally, Unlike Previous versions in the Screamer series, is based entirely around rallying. Some people really seem to know what they're doing when it comes to nomenclature, don't they? But although it's a rally game, complete with all the sideways-cornering, scenery-battering thrills the name promises, it's still very much an arcade game. It's just that this time you're breaking the speed limit down small country lanes instead of down Tooting High Road (or wherever the previous versions were supposed to be set). In other words, it's laps all the way. But at least they haven't put those terrible time limits on the courses. This means that, unlike in previous versions, all you wild things out there can turn round and hammer the hell out of everyone by driving the wrong way round the tracks.
Drive on, and on, and on
This game has more in-built longevity than Cliff Richard's sperm. Alongside the three levels of difficulty and the expected one-off Arcade and Championship modes, you get the chance to participate in time trials against ghost cars of your best times. The game also offers a six-player network game and a split-screen mode. You want more? Alright, once you triumph on all the courses, win on the bonus courses, find the bonus cars, win the championship at the hardest level and get all your times down to the limits that human hand-eye co-ordination will allow, there's a mirror mode: all the courses are reversed. In other words, every arcade racing feature known to man is included in the game.
Championship and time trials allow you to save up to four different car set-ups. It's fairly basic stuff: adjustments can be made to the handling; the braking can be toggled between anything from slight-whiplash effect to nose-shaped-dents-in-the-dashboard effect; tyre pressure and type can be adjusted (although tyres can only be "dry", "wet" or "snow"), and so on. To be honest, I found it hard to feel the difference between the settings I chose, but at least the options are there for driving-purist types. Championship mode has you racing the four easiest tracks in sequence initially, and once you've won that, plunges you into different tracks to increase the difficulty level. (This operates in addition to the game difficulty settings). Unusually, you're allowed to choose different cars for different legs of the championship. How your computer-controlled rivals feel about this is not known. The races are handled really nicely: CPU-controlled cars make mistakes (especially at the easiest difficulty setting) and continue to race after you finish (so you don't see the finishing order as soon as you cross the line). The Al ensures that there's proper racing going on, that some cars are left behind, and so on. What's more, it doesn't engineer it so that your main rival wins all the races you don't. And those who felt hard done by in previous versions, when they always came off second best in collisions with computer-controlled opponents, will be happy to hear that this has been remedied: you now have as much chance as they do of ramming someone off-line.
Love at third sight
I admit I wasn't particularly over the moon about the game when I first played it, havin been put off by the second game in the series (I was hooked on the first one). Now I have to admit that this one has won me back. The more I played it, the better it got. For a start, it looks absolutely superb. The cars look top notch, the backgrounds look amazing. Tyres don't just turn as you steer, they spin as you accelerate and lock out as you brake; and there's stuff thrown up from the surface of the road (although the car shells aren't damaged by collisions). The sound is spot on -wheels crunch on snow, rumble on tarmac, and so on. The cars handle superbly - and differently on the different surfaces - and the tracks are outstanding and nicely varied. My favourite is Sweden, where there are huge hills to climb, ice and snow everywhere, hairpins on the crest of hills and steep slopes to race down. It's one of the best courses in any racing game around at the moment.
You're probably getting worried about those graphics. Well, there's hardware support for 3Dfx, Matrox Mystique and the 3D Blaster. As you'd expect, the game runs at a blinding speed on a 3Dfx-ed up P2OO. But even on my humble P90 (albeit also with a 3Dfx card) it still ran quickly on the highest detail settings. It got slightly jerky going through the canyon in the Arizona course, when the game was chucking huge canyon walls about, and sometimes when all the cars were on-screen it got a bit busy-looking. But otherwise there were no problems. So if you have the hardware, I advise you to go out and buy this game. It really is top stuff, and at this price it's a bit of a bargain, too. As a robber might say to his getaway driver, "get driving."
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode