Colin McRae Rally 3
Genre Sport -> Racing
Today's Rank 18987
Date N/A
Publisher Atari
Date 2002-10-25
Publisher Codemasters
North America Retail Box ArtUnited Kingdom Retail Box ArtThere are rally games and there are rally games and then there's Colin McRae Rally 3 on the Xbox. It's difficult to know where to start the review on the third instalment of this hugely successful franchise--the eye-wateringly sharp graphics might do, the easy-to-get-to-grips-with gameplay would be a winner or the understated but superbly well-done commentary and sound would also do the job. In the end, it's probably easier to start with "just buy it". As you'd expect from a top-flight rally sim, everything about the vehicles can be customised and tinkering under the bonnet between stages really produces a difference. If you're a really bad driver you can also see the difference, as tearing the bonnet, side panels or windows out mid-stage reveals an astonishing level of detail within the car. Engine parts move, suspension arms judder and Mr McRae himself bounces around the car's cockpit in full 3-D--the level of detail is amazing. With a variety of gameplay modes ranging from races over individual stages to a simulated three-season tour of duty as McRae himself, there's plenty of bang for your buck here--and believe us, by the time you've cannoned off the scenery for the umpteenth time you'll know what bangs are all about. Thankfully, Codemasters have resisted the temptation to fill Colin McRae 3 with discordant music tracks, relegating the score to intro and menu screens and leaving the in-game sound to codriver commentary and a multitude of engine sounds--a pleasant change in an age where licensed soundtracks are king. Perhaps the strongest element of CM3, though, is in the gameplay. The car-handling is spot on and in wild weather (snow, rain, fog and more) guiding a speeding Ford Focus around sharp bends is a real art. The Xbox has a wide range of good games and a handful of true AAA titles; Colin McRae 3 falls into the latter category as a real must-have. Chris Russell
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