Remembering classic games: World Rally (1993)
Before Sega Rally, this was as realistic as arcade games got
Before Sega Rally came along, this was as realistic as arcade rally games got. World Rally opted for a top-down view but benefited massively from a main sprite that was digitised directly from photos of a Toyota Celica GT-Four. Or at least photos of a scale model of a Toyota Celica GT-Four, it’s difficult to tell at this resolution.
The game also had some fantastically throaty digitised audio samples from a real rally-spec engine and when you dropped your pound coin into the machine you were treated to exactly the same start-up sound that Carlos Sainz Snr would have heard at the beginning of a day at the office.
It was that audio that really sold the fantasy. You were treated to a burbling idle as you waited for the countdown, tyres were properly tortured as you slithered around on the baked asphalt of San Remo and the engine revved out dramatically whenever you launched the car over a yump. When everything else in the bowling alley was pumping out abstract bleeps and bloops, this was a pretty big deal.
While the action was seemingly viewed from the perspective of a passing sparrow, World Rally still offered admirable authenticity for the time. Classic rallies including the Monte and Acropolis were present and correct, there were mixed surface routes and even night stages where you had to navigate by the limited splash from your headlights. The only thing missing was Tony Mason in his flat cap waiting expectantly at the finish line.
Granted, the cabinet only had a single pedal, the accelerator, but frankly that's all that was required to initiate the biggest slides this side of a Floridian water park. Mash that pedal flat and your little toybox Celica whistled around increasingly rapid-fire sequences of chicanes, hairpins and, the rally car's natural enemy: big piles of logs.
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