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Game Over Online ~ Boss Rally

GameOver Game Reviews - Boss Rally (c) Southpeak Interactive, Reviewed by - ttol

Game & Publisher Boss Rally (c) Southpeak Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 233, 32MB Ram, 8x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 17%
Date Published Tuesday, April 20th, 1999 at 04:00 PM

Divider Left By: ttol Divider Right

From the respectable company SouthPeak Interactive comes Boss Rally. Although Men in Black was one of the wittiest of the role-playing genre for me, I frankly don't understand how Boss Rally made it through quality testing.

My first impression was that of awe. The menu interface was rather new and refreshing. It wasn't placed in the screen center with just a background picture loaded. The menu in Boss Rally was that of speedometers, and it was placed in the upper left corner. It was unique in my opinion, and the colors were well chosen. The menu was the best feature of the whole game.

Playing the game, I naturally selected Championship since it was the first on the menu. After customizing my car, I started the race. I was greeted with starting lights that filled up seventy percent of the screen. It wasn't anything fancy, just a box with four circles filled with dim colors. So far it wasn't a good start. When the box cleared, I saw a car in front of me. It was just clunking along, and not driving very fast at all. It seemed like it didn't even want to race, but just follow an invisible path (which it probably was). As I passed that, I began to take the scenery in. There wasn't much to take in. To me, it looked like a bunch of bitmaps (not very good ones either, since it had this soft look to it) thrown together. The highlight of the whole race was that sometimes the background moves, or has some interaction to it. An example would be the moving windmill or the waves. On level two, there's a part of the track that has a little pond on both sides. The effects of that was really amazing, because the deeper you go, the deeper the car went. The tires also created ripples that grew wider as the car went further along. That was one of the ups for the game.

This game only supported Direct 3D compatible cards, so all the software rendering people couldn't play this game if they wanted to. Even with the extra boost in quality, the graphics were wimpy. The aforementioned background was not what SouthPeak Interactive was capable of. It didn't have that realistic or quality feel to it, although they tried to be realistic by adding motion to it. One part of the graphics I hate was the fact that in level 2, the trees and little shrubberies looked 2D, and if you are at the right spot, you could see that it was paper thin. If Need for Speed 3 or Dethkarz was released on the same day as this, I doubt even one person would choose Boss Rally over the other two because of graphics. The cars in Boss Rally wasn't even up to par with the standards of today. The mirrors on both sides of the car was floating, rather than attached to the car. If you banged up the car, you could see little cracks at the back where the license plate is. Looking through it, you would realize there was no engine. How can a car get more unrealistic, or more low quality?

Let's talk about sound now. Sound in this game was very poor. There was no commentary, no speech, barely anything whatsoever. The closest thing that remotely resembles humor in this game was the taunts. The taunts, although there was no point to it except in multiplayer, are said when pressing any of the F1 through F4 keys. The sound felt incomplete to me, although the programmers even took the time to put in background effects, like the gushing water off a cliff in the waterfall. The engine noise was all around the same, but it could have been better. There should have been at least a announcer counting off the starting things like "THREE....TWO...ONE...GO!". This game didn't score very high in the music department either. There was none!

When I played this game with a friend over the Internet, I couldn't stand the lag. It was just like playing single player though, because the objective was to be first. In Need for Speed 3, you could be a cop and the other the criminal, or try to bump the other off and destroy the car in Dethkarz. In this game however, it was straight racing. I couldn't type to my opponent either, so I had to communicate through the taunts. Maybe that's what caused the lag, since it was more amusing than the game itself.

You can play this game with the mouse, the keyboard, a joystick, a wheel, or a force feedback device. It amazed me that they spent so much time coding API's into the game to recognize each device, when they should have spent time developing the game further. Anyways, each controller can be configured to your liking, and I didn't even bother to change any, since all I used was the keyboard.

The Artificial Intelligence in this game was close to zilch. The closest semblance of it was when I stopped in the middle of the road and they swerved around me. Other than that, they were all dumb cars that put a shame to my computer.

Each race is 3 laps, and boy do those 3 laps get tiring. I averaged around 6 minutes per race, so that's 2 minutes per lap. The lap is huge, and to do 3 takes a lot out of you -- mostly attention. The map gets boring quick, and the only thing that kept me sane was when I kept trying to break the car by riding it up on the hill. This game, although not a role-playing game where you would know the solutions, has no replay value. Racing for 3 laps is enough replay value as it is. To actually play the game after you've gotten the trophy is truly beyond desperate. I would only replay this game if all my other games didn't start, and even then I would go out and watch a movie first.

A big plus for this game was the special background effects. Although overplayed in other racing games, in this game it was a special treat. Things like the light tower and the waterfalls actually made me appreciate what this game could have been. Too bad they didn't enhance this game further enough to make it a truly competitive game in the saturated racing market.

In conclusion, this game lacked in graphics, sound, AI, and had very little replay value. I can't believe that SouthPeak Interactive put this game out under their name. Compared to the other games they've made, like Men in Black, this game was a dud. This game looked more like a programmer's at-home project that managed to leak out. If you see this game in the store, just keep on walking until you see a game like Dethkarz or Need for Speed 3. If, however, you do buy this game, please tell yourself that you are only buying it to support SouthPeak Interactive to fund a much better game later on.


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