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"Ummm... lets change seats... whaddyasay ?"—your co-driver, after you've plunged your car into another crashfest
Rally Trophy is a rally racing Simulation Game, the commercial debut of Finnish Driving Game developer Bugbear Entertainment , first published by Jo Wood Productions in autumn 2001. The game was in development since the late 90s and became a surprise hit, with lots of critical acclaim by players and reviewers alike. It deviates from other existing rally games by being a retro-themed title, focusing on various classic rally cars from the 1960s and 1970s. It generally aims for a realistic simulation of these cars of yesteryear, which means they lack various fancy technical enhancements and upgrades of Present Day rally cars. Thanks to an advanced physics model, driving them actually feels like driving a vintage car, making the game fairly Nintendo Hard, but enjoyable and challenging nonetheless. The retro atmosphere is also enhanced by grainy and traditional-looking menu screens, more regionally-themed and lesser known national championships, lots of Played for Laughs elements and some genuinely quality folk-rock-esque intrumental music, with a heavy dose of 60s guitar sound.
This game features the following tropes :
- Artifact Title : Rally Trophy sounds a bit plain, doesn't it ? Well, the game was originally (earlier in development) pitched as Historical Rally Trophy.
- Better Than It Sounds Video Games
- Cool Car : Every damn one of them - and they're all just somewhat modified versions of ordinary 60s and 70s passenger cars. Well, except the two Lancias, which were among the first purpose-built modern rally cars.
- Creator Provincialism : To a degree. Justified in the case of Finland, since it's one of the birthplaces of modern rally racing and a staple of many international rally championships. An amusing Playing with a Trope version of this occurs with the Russian stages : They're in Russia all right... But judging by the place names and the local enviroment, its very obvious they're all set specifically in Karelia, the traditional border region between Russia and Finland.
- Darkest Africa : Kenya, a staple of rally games, is the second country in the championship.
- Driving Stick : As in many rally racing games, you can choose either manual or automatic transmission. Automatic is easier to drive with (especially for newcomers), while manual is harder, but more sensitive and responsive.
- Dueling Games : With other titles of the early 2000s' glut of rally games, to a degree. Especially with the second installment of the Colin McRae Rally series.
- Game Mod : Racing games traditionally aren't overly modding-friendly (even the ones with huge fan communities), but RT had a surprisingly great amount of fan-made custom content. Some quality stuff was made back in the day - especially many additional cars, both old and new, and even entire new stages and countries (the Australian maps were among the best). If you already own the game, you can start looking for various mods and addons here, here and here.
- George Lucas Throwback : The whole point and theme of the game.
- Every Car Is Rear Wheel Drive : Played with. Of all 11 cars, 8 are RWD - and they vary a lot in terms of performance and the amount of skill needed for driving them. It's generally better to start with the more easily accessible FWDs (the SAAB 96, Lancia Fulvia and Mini Cooper) and then gradually accustom yourself to the rear wheel drives. Some RWDs in the game can be literally sadistically hard to keep on the road along a straight line, with the Lancia Stratos and the 60s version of the Opel Kadett being the worst offenders - but it's all justified, since those cars really were that hard to control. Generally speaking, the most stable to drive RWD cars are probably the Alfa Romeo Giullia and the Ford Cortina.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels :
- The difficulty levels also influence which cars, countries and stages you can select.
- In Vehicle Invulnerability : Played straight, but with a subversion or two : As your windshield and front lights get damaged, your line of sight diminishes and gets a bit obscured (especially on night stages).
- Limited Sound Effects : Averted very well - except for the crash SFX, which play this painfully straight, being nearly identical, regardless of whether you hit a rock, tree or some metal object or whether you damaged the car's body or windows.
- Nintendo Hard : It says something when one of the reviewers called it the rally cousin of Grand Prix Legends. It's generally considered as having an exceptional damage model and very realistic, yet accessible handling physics (especially for its time). Many rally racing fans consider it to be the second most hardcore game of the whole genre, right after Richard Burns Rally.
- Norse by Norsewest : Sweden and Finland, being traiditional rally racing countries, feature in the championship. An aversion of this trope, since they're portrayed faithfully and differ quite a bit from each other (it helps that Sweden is the obligatory "snow and winter" country of the championship).
- Rule of Funny : A lot of various tongue-firmly-in-cheek gags, in contrast to what is otherwise a serious Driving Game. Your co-driver is... rather unconventional... In the English dub he has a definitely Upperclass Twit accent and is really fond of chastising you for each car-shattering hit and crash you make. His Sarcasm Mode snarking and Large Ham remarks are generally hilarious. Less patient players could probably consider it a Most Annoying Sound though (especially on more harder to beat stages, where a minor crash or two is almost inevitable).
- Crowning Moment of Funny : The game's credits featuring grainy footage of two 1950s-style Formula One toy cars pulled by strings competing on a muddy racing circuit built in someone's back yard are... unusual... to say the least...
- If you do a nearly flawless Drives Like Crazy Speed Run of a stage, your otherwise snarky co-driver will tremblingly exclaim at the finish line :
"Waaaay too fast for me... I gotta change my pants !"
- The Stoic : In contrast to his more Motor Mouth cousins from other rally games, your co-driver (at least in the English dub) fits this to a tee while reading the pacenotes of each stage. Well, until you hit something at 100 miles per hour, that is...
- Subsystem Damage
- X Meets Y : Grand Prix Legends meets modern rally sims !
- Yodel Land : The fifth and final country in the championship mode is Switzerland.