Colin McRae Rally 2005Like many Americans I was never exposed to rally racing until quite recently. Only in the past few years has it even popped up on my radar screen as something to follow or pay attention too. It might sound odd but the greatest interface I have with rally racing are video games. The latest edition in the Colin McRae series is a bit better than before but any racing enthusiast will enjoy the title. As in all car-racing games, realistic driving control is key and Rally 2005 has that in abundance.

Besides the way tuning your car differently before a run effects driving reaction are the many surfaces from gravel to dirt to snow to asphalt that can also impact the way you race. Pick the wrong tires and you?re not going to finish well. I learned that the hard way but also had another major stumbling block. When I started out a career I used the camera view where you see the car on the road. I couldn?t finish better than ninth in any race no matter what I did. So for the heck of it I switched to the view where you just see the hood of the car as if you?re in the driver?s seat. Everything changed from there on out. I guess I was watching more of the road and less of the car. Although seeing the rear glass shatter out after swerving into a tree was fun, I?d rather finish first. I?ve only been through a few stages since it took me so long to figure out what my problem was, but the little VW Polo I?ve been driving is pretty cool. Switching to different modes I tried out the Evos and STis but they were actually much harder to control. But I?ll keep trying.

One hard thing to get used to is the co-driver spouting out instructions. Since the ?hard left? command comes a full step before you actually need it there can be confusion. At times the co-driver is spilling out so much info you can?t keep track and you?d wish that bloody British accented bastard would keep his trap shut. I?ve found you need to listen at times but tuning him out can be helpful too. Otherwise the only negative I?ve found is that you can?t tell which way the trackshould be going and you can end up going the complete wrong way pretty easily. I guess that?s why you should always listen to the co-driver.

The design of the game is also quite appealing. Menu screens are done in simple white with easy to see text. If only they?d stop playing that annoying drum and bass music this would be a better game. Anyone that digs Gran Tourismo but wants more of the rally aspect should check this title out, especially at the price.

Format: XBox, Retail Price: $29.99

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