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Colin McRae Rally

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Ridin' dirty

Product: Colin McRae Rally | Publisher: Codemasters | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Racing, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
Colin McRae Rally iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Colin McRae Rally games have always had a superb racing system. No one will deny that. But the presentation and focus of the series has certainly shifted in recent years.

What was once a serious rally sim for geeks with expensive steering wheel peripherals has become gaudy and brash - Americanised, if you'll forgive the stereotype.

DiRT 2, especially, felt almost sacrilegious for using the late rally driver's name. It turned a prestigious sport into a brainless festival hoedown, and carried an obnoxious interactive ad campaign that had you inking tattoos onto boobs.

Long three right

This iOS game, however, takes McRae back to its roots. Quite literally, by borrowing much of its content from PSone classic Colin McRae Rally 2.0, only tarting it up with some slightly refreshed visuals.

It brings back a more serious sensibility to racing, with achingly long tournaments, a tight restriction on which cars you can drive, and not a whiff of the word "gymkhana". Plus, you actually have to deal with damage taken during races.

Between certain events, you'll have to repair any dents and crunches suffered in earlier races. Don't worry - this isn't some Real Racing 3-style system where you have to wait or pay for repairs. Instead, you must divvy up an allotted in-game hour of time, between elements like suspension, tires, and bodywork.

And, of course, the lauded racing model is here. Whether you're playing with buttons or tilt, you've got a lot of control over your car, and mastery of your machine will let you drift around muddy corners, swerve between fence posts, and dart into the racing line with ease.

70 five left

Still, as much as this game echoes rally games of days gone by, plenty of features we loved are missing in this iOS remake.

There's no manual transmission, for example, which will irk hardcore rally racers, and certainly makes it tough to follow co-driver Nicky Grist's gear recommendations. Also, you can't get under the bonnet and tinker with your car, so don't even think about changing the braking power or variable gear ratios.

And there's no cockpit camera, so you're stuck choosing between a lingering behind-the-car shot or strapping the camera to the bonnet.

These features have possibly been dropped to make the game more accessible to a wider audience, like DiRT 2. Or their omission may just be the result of a rushed pseudo-port to iPhone. To bolster that argument, Colin McRae Rally ships without any multiplayer outside of Game Center leaderboards.


Colin McRae Rally is a fine racing game, with sharp handling and a nerve-wrecking sense of speed. Plus, it harks back to the glory days of rally racing games, when the intracies of the racing model were more important than the colour palette of the menu.

But it's not a pretty game - even with some fresh tweaks, this PSone import looks tried and outmoded - and a serious lack of important features will really test the resolve of rally obsessives.
Colin McRae Rally
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 27 June 2013
Colin McRae Rally is a fine racer, but it's sorely let down by some forgotten modes and features, and those seriously outdated visuals
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