Drivers, start your engines! Today in Retro Gaming, we celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Rally Cross 2’s release in the UK. Off-roading racers were few and far between in the days of the original PlayStation, making this 1999 sequel from 989 Studios a bit more interesting than your average track burner.
Sony’s in-house development team at 989 Studios did a bang-up job with this series, the first of which introduced an entire generation of 32-bit gamers to racing without pavement. Rally Cross 2 upped the ante with some new features, including more varied tracks, a new selection of ten different customizable vehicles, and a built-in track editor so you could try your hand at game design while torturing your mates simultaneously.
The Rally Cross series is more arcade as opposed to simulation, so it has neither the vehicle selection nor the driving physics accuracy of Gran Turismo or Ridge Racer. On the other hand, it does provide some fun graphical details: cars sustain damage when they hit something or flip over, though this is purely cosmetic; mud and dirt splatter up your paint job; dirt tracks spew up clouds of dust behind your wheels; your car will steam if you bring it to a stop in a body of water; driving through water will clean the afore-mentioned mud off your bodywork. It’s not the most realistic looking racer ever, but it gets the job done even if fans of the original were disappointed to lose the four-player split-screen mode.
If you’re looking to shift your retro racing collection into high gear, you appreciate a good off-road challenge, and you enjoy simple racers with loads of customization options, Rally Cross 2 is a great addition to your PS1 library. If your tastes run more towards the realistic, you believe racing belongs on a track, or you require hundreds of vehicle options to play around with, consider yourself yellow-flagged and approach Rally Cross 2 with caution.