Windows - 1999
Description of Boss Rally
It cannot be said that the PC is a bit short of racing games these days. From the heights of Grand Prix Legends and Grand Prix 2 through the likes of V-Rally and the TOCA series, every racing genre and sub-genre is plastered, positively bursting at the seams with good, high quality racers. One thing's for certain: Boss Rally certainly has some competition. Which would mean, surely, that it's a good game. After all, who would port an average Nintendo 64 rally game into a market saturated with wonders? How could something even a fraction below perfection be worth purchasing in these heady utopian days?
The answer, of course, is that no one in their right minds would buy a sub-standard racer these days. By logical extension we can therefore conclude that no one in their right minds would buy Boss Rally. But before we go any further it should be made clear that Boss Rally isn't a bad game. It's just bland, boring, uninspired, grey, plasticky and tepid. This is the gaming equivalent of eating cardboard. In a sense the programmers ought to be praised, because they've raised blandness to an art form. This isn't a game that screams 'average', it hands it to you in a little note.
There are genuinely few points of interest to talk about with Boss Rally, which makes it a bit of a bugger to review. Let us begin with the graphics. The graphics are...er...the graphics are... hang on a sec, I've forgotten what they look like. Oh yes, bland. The graphics are bland. The textures are fine, the animation is fine, and the cars themselves are fine. Oh, wait a moment, the colour schemes are a bit crap but otherwise... um... fine. Actually one point that really lets the game down and quite probably makes it so unimpressive is the trackside detail, or rather the lack of it. There are no memorable landmarks, virtually no markers that serve as braking points and worst of all no people. The exclusion of hoards of fans to cheer you on is absolutely unbelievable. The tracksides are utterly deserted which makes racing one heck of a lonely, and boring, affair.
Bland graphics are accompanies by bland sound. Bumps and landings are marked by some strange kind of semi-metallic rattle. The music (which by default plays quietly in the background) is like having the radio on while you're applying Einstein's theory of relativity. The engine sounds are matched fairly well to the cars, meatier cars having meatier exhaust notes. The tire squeals are OK, the taunts are average but the off track noises are utter pants. As soon as you move off the track and onto gravel, sand, grass or whatever it is, you're always accompanied by the same noise which can only be described as sounding like someone folding sandwiches. I'm sorry, but it does.
All this could easily be forgiven, or more likely ignored, if the gameplay was up to scratch. Naturally, though, it's just as dull as the rest of the game. The progression is paced acceptably, winning more races unlocks more tracks and better cars. Actually the handling of the cars is pretty good. There's a very noticeable difference between the different types of cars, especially four wheel drive and the more powerful rear wheel drive cars, whose back ends tend to squirm around while accelerating. Track design, however, is back to the school of St. Tedious. Most of the tracks are fairly acceptable, although the designer seems to have followed some arcane ruling that states all tracks must have a tunnel. There are the expected number of short cuts but nothing else to provoke any excitement.
The AI of your competitors, however, is woefully crap. They don't fight for positions, take you on corners, taunt you, crash out or do anything other than drive straight down the centre of the track at all times. Other down points include the setup screen which although made to look like instrumentation dials in a rally car, actually looks like a deformed Mickey Mouse. The actual options themselves are also disappointing. The suspension choices are limited to 'Normal', 'Softer' and 'Harder' whereas the tire types are laughably called 'Slippy', 'Normal' and 'Grippy'. Now, while I do realise this is no simulation, they could have done a better job, particularly as the choices you make have little to no bearing out on the track. Another weird point is the automatic gearing which decides that 50 mph would be a good time to change not from second gear to third but from third to fourth. I think not.
All this conspires to make one of the blandest titles ever witnessed by mankind. Although it may suit those with a heart condition, I've had more excitement brushing my teeth. As mentioned at the start of the review there are many, many other great games which would be a thousand times more exciting than this. You should only purchase Boss Rally if you have bought all the top racing titles, absolutely love rally games, and get excited by the prospect of an evening's anorak polishing. Will I be playing this tonight? Um... well actually I've got to help a friend paint his shed and we've... um... got to make sure it dries properly. Bye.
Review By GamesDomain
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