|Sega seems to have been going for a re-creation of the tire-churning racing action of the original Sega Rally Championship arcade game, and in many respects they've done a good job of recapturing the same feel, only with more cars and modernized graphics.|
On the other hand, an attempt to relive past glories will usually end up less inspired than the original, and that happens here. The sounds aren't very remarkable--the announcer in particular is less interesting than the old one, and the stages I saw were a little on the dark and dull side.
And then there's the loading times. The old arcade version put you through short little ~1 minute chunks of rally racing; after completing the section before the time limit, you hop right on to the next. All well and good--unless you have significant load times in between the very short racing segments. Unfortunately, SR2006 has significant loads between each segment, and when you're spending maybe a minute racing for every fifteen seconds loading, those loading times start to add up.
On the other hand, it handles very well, and if you can overlook the loading times, and the high difficulty, you'll probably have some fun getting to the exact same spot before running out of time every single time you try the course. Whee! But that happened in the old Rally too, and apparently everyone loves that one.
Speaking of which, a PS2 version of Sega Rally Championship came with 2006 for those who preordered, or something. It's good, still looks sharp, has some nice anti-aliasing thrown in, and runs light lightning, and there are no load times between stages. I think I like this version better'n the actual 2006 version.
Let's face it, though; even though 2006 tries to throw in some kind of career mode, these are arcade games, meant to be enjoyed in fast, tiny bites. At least, I know that I can't bash my head against that darn time clock more than a half dozen times or so before I need to take a real break from the game.