World Rally Fever: Born on the Road

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World Rally Fever: Born on the Road

DOS - 1996

Alt name WRF
Year 1996
Platform DOS
Released in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom
Genre Racing / Driving
Theme Anime / Manga, Arcade, Automobile, Track Racing, Vehicle Simulator
Publisher Ocean Software Ltd.
Developer Split, Team17 Software Limited
Perspective Behind view
3 / 5 - 2 votes

Description of World Rally Fever: Born on the Road

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Although much more of an action game than a racing simulator, **WRF **roughly follows the actual World Rally racing style. (For those of you unfamiliar with World Rally, it is one of the most popular forms of racing in the world, although often overshadowed in North America by Nascar and Indy racing.) In WRF you take the role of an Anime character and join the professional World Rally circuit. You compete in ten different location around the world in you quest to capture the world title.

Start your engines!

The game installs without too much fuss, and you should be able to begin playing within a few minutes. The game natively supports Sound Blaster and Gravis Ultrasound, so unless you have an exotic sound card, setting this up should not be a problem. Windows 95 users should reboot to DOS mode, although the game will run under a DOS box if your system has more than 8 MB of RAM.

There are 4 difficulty levels to choose from, ranging from Rookie to Pro. Each difficulty level is a different tournament with a different set of races and increasingly tougher AI. I found the AI in WRF quite challenging and fun to compete against. The computer racers are aggressive on the road and race to win. This is a refreshing change from racing games in which the computer is given unfair advantages in order to make up for a weak AI.

After a tournament has been chosen, you must choose one of the eight Anime characters to represent you in the game. The characters have different skills and vehicles, affecting their speed, acceleration, steering, jump height and road grip. Some characters are more skilful than others, and each one makes for a very different driving experience, requiring a different play-style to be successful with. The tournaments are comprised of 4 races, which are held at a variety of locations around the world. Locations include the French countryside, New York freeways, urban Tokyo, etc. Each location sports different surface conditions and obstacles, providing for even more driving variety.

To be successful, you must use your driving skills to manoeuvre through the race course at speeds of around 150km/h, while avoiding natural obstacles, as well as attacks from the other racers. Obstacles can include rocks, trees, houses, spectators, etc, depending on the location. Computer-laid traps include wooden crates which block your path, and 'misdirection' which temporarily reverses your left-right controls. In turn, you too can pick up crates and also bombs to sabotage your opponents. You can also cause your vehicle to 'jump' into the air, which is very useful for avoiding obstacles and occasionally for passing opponents. The height and distance which you can jump is affected by your speed, character, surface conditions and the incline of the road.

The gameplay itself is fast and furious. There are no straightaways for you to catch your breath. Once you start the engine, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to the finish line. The game's fast pace and smooth handling puts it a level above similar games such as Wacky Wheels or Megarace. One big plus for WRF is that you do not need a Pentium 200 for fast and smooth gameplay. The game is perfectly fluid on my 486. On upper-end Pentiums, the game can reach an impressive 60+ fps! Load time for races was a bit on the slow side with a 2x CDROM, but racing in WRF is well worth the 15-20 second wait.

Graphics

To complement WRF's excellent gameplay is the game's high quality graphics. Although the resolution at 320x200x256 is not too high by today's standards, the graphics look clear and quite realistic. The backgrounds for races are beautifully drawn and contribute greatly to the overall atmosphere of the game. A slight problem is that they are formed by a string of repeating images. This does not present a problem in some stages, ie. it is not surprising to see more than one tree that looks exactly the same. However when you are driving in New York, seeing multiple Statue of Liberties does raise a few eyebrows. Another interesting feature of WRF was the unique panning effect that was used. Turns are made into visual adventures by this neat 'camera trick'.

Audio

The sound effects are on par with the industry average, with your usual beeps and bleeps. The engine roar and whine is similar to what you expect in a game involving motorized vehicles. I love the music tracks which were mood-setting and original. My favourite tune is from the Scotland location that mixed bagpipes with jazzy techno-something-or-other.

Where's the rest of the manual?

I was very unimpressed with WRF's documentation. The booklet provided is a pitiful excuse for a proper game manual. Although numbering some 19 pages, if you discount the foreign language instructions and advertisements, you end up with only about 5 pages of instructional and background material. The material that is present, only briefly covers the installation and playing instructions. Also provided is a small black and white picture of each character, along with a sentence-long description. The manual was so bare that the control keys were not even mentioned. I had to search through the in-game Control Setup to find the correct controls. On top of that, some of the information in the manual wasn't even correct! I realize that games such as WRF don't really require too much instruction, and thinner manuals seem to be the trend in the industry as of late, but I miss the glorious days when manuals were almost hardcover, and brimmed with atmosphere-setting background info and colourful pictures. Granted, smaller companies such as Team 17 may not have the budget for such luxury, but gamers have the right to expect a decent manual with ALL the necessary information.

Summary

I hate to leave on a sour note for such a great game, but I believe in the importance of proper documentation. On a more positive note, WRF is a game which excels in gameplay as well as graphical quality. Its diverse race conditions and drivers offer a variety of playing experiences, providing for great replay value. The action is fast paced and exciting. **WRF **is an excellent choice for gamers of all ages and guarantees to provide hours of fun.

Review By GamesDomain

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World Rally Fever: Born on the Road is available for a small price on the following website, and is no longer abandonware. GOG.com provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .

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