Toyota Celica GT Rally (Gremlin) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Toyota Celica GT Rally
By Gremlin
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #68

Toyota Celica GT Rally

A quick question. What's 15ft long, has bits flying off in all directions and slides through trees on its roof? Answer: your Toyota, fifteen seconds after your first go at Toyota Celica GT Rally. The second time you play, it'll probably take twenty seconds...

Gremlin's new rally game is much more a simulator than Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge was. For a start, you're plonked in the driving seat itself for this one. You get a view of the road ahead through your windscreen and you also see your hands working the steering wheel and the gearstick to your left. So, settled in the cockpit, you start the engine, rev it up, watch the countdown clock... 3... 2... 1... and Go!

It's OK for the first few seconds on a straight road, but it's when you get to the first corner that the fun begins. Most driving games let you keep your foot to the floor just about all the time, but not this one. Chances are you'll be taking the scenic route through the trees... should have consulted your co-driver, shouldn't you?

That's right. Not only are the corners the sort you get in the real world, you have a co-driver who can signal their direction and sharpness in your car, you can go for the Practice option on the main menu. This lets you drive at any of the three international locations offered by the game. You'll soon get tired of this, though, and want to get stuck in with the big boys.

This is where it gets a lot tougher. You start off racing in the UK over a number of stages. As with real rallying, your total time is totted up after each stage and your ranking given. And, again as with real rallying, it's not just a case of putting your boot down and hoping for the best. You're going to have to do some pretty trick, controlled driving to stay up with the big boys in this competition, as lead-footed driving will leave you broad-siding off the track and fishtailing down the straights. Each excursion into the scenery costs you a smashed windscreen and a 20 second delay.

Control is either by joystick or keyboard. It's tricky in both cases, but keyboard control is the easiest. The game suffers a bit from the Test Drive syndrome - it's almost impossible to avoid continually escalating over-correction when things start to go wrong. It's not too bad in this case, but bad enough.

The graphics are very good. They're done in four-colour mode, which means there's not too much colour but there is plenty of detail. The scenery moves well as you drive, and the gearshifting and wheel-turning are very nicely animated.

Sound is good too. There's a jaunty title tune backed up by competent in-game driving noises.

Having said that, the game isn't hugely inspiring. There are two problems really: the difficulty of controlling your car in the first place, and the lack of any real adrenaline-producing excitement. Naturally, there are never any other cars on the track with you, and so your sole opponent is the clock. And given that you'll be too busy trying to stay on the road to look at it. even that incentive pales.

Toyota Celica GT Rally is a good simulator, but although it still retains a real arcade feel it doesn't offer a great deal of excitement. It's competent all right, but just a bit dull...

Second Opinion

It's all very well getting things right as far as accuracy is concerned, but Toyota's controls are too fiddly and finicky. It's just too difficult to keep the car on the road.

First Day Target Score

Finish a stage in the top ten.

Verdict

Graphics 88%
Not colourful, but detailed and smooth, with nice touches.

Sonics 74%
Good tune, but not terribly memorable in-game fx.

Grab Factor 71%
It looks good, but it's a horror until you learn to control it.

Staying Power 75%
Only determined rally nutters will stick with it.

Overall 79%
Difficult to fault apart from the tricky control, but not really all that exciting.

Rod Lawton