Death Rally (PC) Review

Death Rally small boxart
Review by
Score: 80
Published by: Apogee Software
Developed by: Remedy Entertainment

Game Features:

  • Steam enabled/achievements
  • Multiplayer
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When you think of developers Remedy you are going to either think of Max Payne or Alan Wake, but in the mid 90’s, before those blockbusters were released, they Remedy was known for a small Windows PC title known as Death Rally. It was an incredibly fun top down combat racer and last year it was remade for iOS devices and became immensely popular again as it was a very polished and entertaining mobile game. Death Rally is one part racer, where you are trying to outrun and beat your opponents to the finish line, but the other and more exciting part is the combat that will have you upgrading your weapons as you try and destroy your opponents so you don’t have to out race them.

When you begin Death Rally you are placed in your garage with only one vehicle available and no extra weapons to help you on your journey to become the baddest racer there is. Your garage is your main game hub as you are able to select any vehicle you have unlocked, equip it with the weapons you have pieced together, and then you choose an event to participate in. To unlock new vehicles, and weapons of mayhem and destruction, you must find the weapon parts scattered throughout the racetracks as well as by destroying your enemies. The more enemies you destroy the quicker you can salvage the parts and unlock new goodies for your death machine on wheels.

The armory shows which weapons you have unlocked in your career and any that you have put together from all the pieces you find during your races.  These weapons can be equipped before a race and used during our vehicular mayhem. Your vehicle will always come equipped with a standard machine gun that automatically fires if there is anything directly ahead of you to shoot at, but it is very weak on its own and I would not suggest using this as your only offense. As you progress further in the game and unlock new and more powerful weapons such as shotguns, mines, gatling guns, snipers, missiles, and more to take out your opponents. Eventually you will also earn upgrades like bumpers that do damage as you ram your enemies. It is pretty neat to earn these weapons and they are integral to your racing success.

In the race tab you are given a nice selection of events/races that you can participate in. You can see the difficulty of each one, your best times, and some races are even special events like deathmatch, versus, or even weapon specific to keep things from becoming stale too quickly. After a race is completed you view a summary screen that shows everything based on your performance; what place you came in, how many enemies you destroyed, and any cash you earned doing so. Earned cash is what you will use to repair your vehicle and purchase upgrades for your car and your armory. You will always want to repair your car to full status before the next race, which always takes a small chunk of your earnings, but the rest of your earnings can be divvied out however you please. You can use your virtual cash to upgrade your vehicles speed, armor, handling and whatever weapon you have equipped. There is even an “auto” button for those who are lazy or do not care and want to simply continue. The game chooses the ‘best’ options to spend your cash on. My only complaint with this setup is that you are forced to use all of your earned cash from the previous race even if you’re using a weapon you do not normally use; you cannot save the excess money for the weapon you would rather upgrade as it has to be equipped during the previous race.

There is a story mode, but you have to look for a small icon to switch from the race mode to see it, and although it really isn’t a gripping story narrative wise, it is a fun diversion if you get bored of racing the same tracks.  I do have to warn you though; you need to be quite decked out to stand a chance early on in the story’s races. There is also a multiplayer mode included with the PC release, but it wasn’t enabled at the time of review, though I’m looking forward to playing with some friends and teaming up against others.

The graphics look much sharper and cleaner than the iOS version and you won’t need a powerhouse PC (minium & recommended specs at bottom of review) to enjoy the game and make it look pretty at the same time.  In regards to the sound, I do wish there was more variety in the soundtrack as it is completely forgettable, so make sure you load up your favourite mp3 playlist when playing.  Vehicles and the rest of the games sounds get the job done solidly.

While I briefly played Death Rally in iOS and enjoyed it, I never really stuck with it for too long due to the in-app purchases. The biggest improvement with the PC release could easily be that this is no longer an issue.  I also found that the layout of the garage much easier to understand when compared to the mobile version.  Much to my surprise, there is also support for the wired Xbox 360 or wired PC controller which I found to be a perfect fit for the game. And if you’re a huge Alan Wake fan like I am, the simple inclusion of Barry Wheeler as one of the bosses you race against makes Death Rally totally worth it alone.

With a total of eight cars to unlock and many weapons to piece together, Death Rally does a great job at dangling that carrot in front of you, teasing you with ‘just one more race’ as you seem to find upgrade parts in every event, compelling you want to continue just to complete the unlock. Even when you “finish” Death Rally, you don’t really feel like it’s done. Death Rally is a fantastic example of how you can play a game for two minutes at a time or an hour or two, as you will find yourself addicted and wanting to play again.  This is a enjoyable PC game seriously worth downloading, as you will have lots of fun with it.

Minimum Specs:

  • OS:Windows XP SP2
  • Processor:AMD K8 series, for example Athlon 64, or Intel Pentium 4
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 10 compatible with 256 MB memory
  • DirectX®:9.0c
  • Hard Drive:600 MB HD space
  • Sound:DX9.0c compatible
  • Additional:Even slower systems may run the game, but may have problems with multiplayer compatibility

Recommended Specs:

  • OS:Windows 7
  • Processor:AMD K10 series, for example Athlon X2, or Intel Pentium Dual Core, or faster
  • Memory:4 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 10 compatible with 512 MB memory, or faster
  • DirectX®:10
  • Hard Drive:600 MB HD space
  • Sound:DX9.0c compatible
  • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
  • Additional:Even slower systems may run the game, but may have problems with multiplayer compatibility