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Colin McRae Rally 04
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Console: Microsoft Xbox
Region: GB United Kingdom
Year: 2003
RFG ID #: E-075-S-02350-A
Part #:
UPC: 5024866322279
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
3+ (PEGI)

Genre: Racing
Sub-genre: Rally
Players: 1-4
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: DVD
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  • 8 of 7493 collectors (0.1%) have this game in their collection
  • 0 of 7493 collectors (0%) have this game in their wishlist.
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Sirgin's review:

Colin McRae Rally 04 (2003) is the fourth installment in the successful Colin McRae Rally series. Whether the title alludes to the fact the game was released in 2004 in North America or simply to the fact it's the fourth game in the series, I'm not really sure. Looking at the titles of the series there certainly has been a lack of continuity on the developer front: 2.0, 3, 04, 2005 and DiRT; it's almost as if they couldn't make up there mind how to label their games. No matter though, because I'm here to pay homage to the great Colin McRae by reviewing this game, not complain about at the series' titles.

I'll start of with the main menu which is kept simply, easy to navigate and straightforward. There's the championship, quick-race, single race and single rally modes. In the option menu you can make graphics and sound adjustments as well as select what controller you'd like to use. Next to the keyboard, you can use an analog controller or a driving wheel. The last obviously being the best choice for a realistic experience but since I don't own one nor a PC controller, I have to limit myself to my keyboard.

In the championship mode there are actually six championships that can be completed. One for each of the game's difficulties (normal and advanced) and each of the different vehicle categories (three). There's the standard 4WD category with cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer or the Subaru Impreza WRX, a 2WD category with smaller cars like the Citroen Saxo or Ford RallyeSport Puma and the "B-group" category which consists of high-powered older vehicles such as a Lancia 037 or Peugeot 205 T16. B Group cars are forbidden in current-day rally because these faster, harder to control machines too often led to accidents. Luckily for us gamers, Codemasters has included these fun cars in Colin McRae Rally 04 for us to ride with as much as we want!

Every of these categories feel thoroughly different to drive with and even specific cars within a category handle differently. My favorite car is the 2WD Ford Puma because it is a nimble, lightweight car that can take consecutive corners rather fast. But no matter what car you choose to drive, it doesn't take long to get used to its handling and you'll be driving like a pro in no time. That's probably the most fun aspect of this game: the fact that it feels like realistic driving yet isn't too realistic so it doesn't become extremely difficult to control your car without smashing into the scenery.

The championship mode will take you to all of the game's locations which range from snowy Sweden to wet Britain, or tropical Australia. All countries have a different dominant surface that you'll be faced with: tarmac in Spain, wet gravel in the UK, snow in Sweden, rough gravel in Greece, wet tarmac in Japan, fine gravel in the US, pea gravel in Australia and gravel in Finland. Plenty of variation in other words and just like with the cars, driving on different surfaces really feels differently.

The key to success in Colin McRae Rally 04 is: A. Carefully listening to your co-pilot and B. Selecting the right settings between stages. Although this might sound logical, paying attention to your co-driver's instructions really makes all the difference. Unless you'll play the game a lot, you won't be able to memorize what the different stages are like, so you're really up to his instructions. Especially in narrow sections, it's important not to get of track, because once you're between trees, it can easily cost you 10 seconds to get out again. Once every two stages you can set up your car in the service station for the next two stages. You get a little map which shows you the course layout and gives you a stats table that shows how much of a type of surface you may expect. It's important to check what surface type appears most in the next two stages combined and choose tires accordingly. Besides tire types you can also adjust your brake bias, steering speed, gear ratio, ride height, spring tension and anti-roll.

Second function of the service station is to repair damage done to your car in previous stages. Depending on how big the damage on, say, your turbo might be, it'll take anywhere from only a few minutes to almost half an hour of repair time. You get a maximum of 60 minutes at every service station so it's best not to trash your car on the way there. Besides visual damage there's also a lot of internal damage that can seriously affect your car's performance. You have the option to set the car damage on "normal" or "hard" depending on your skill level. At the normal setting the occasional jump in the scenery doesn't mean catastrophe but at the hard setting it's vital to avoid crashes at all costs.

In the championship mode you'll have to drive a series of normal stages in each country and end with a special "face-off" stage where you have to drive faster than another driver in an arena-track. Between rallies, you'll be able to attempt to win new/upgraded car parts in constructor challenge mini-games. This can range from sliding enough to wear down tires on a selected course to staying within a small RPM-range while switching gears. Goal of the championship mode is to win each individual rally (obviously) as well as having your manufacturer win the overall championship. After finishing one of the championships, you unlock a few cars.

The PC version of the game features online or LAN multiplayer for 2-8 players. Despite all players driving at the same time, you can only see ghosts of your opponents' cars instead of the actual cars. I haven't had the chance to check the multiplayer out just yet, so I can't really say anything about it.

Visually, Colin McRae Rally 04 is great. The PC version has improved graphics over the original Xbox version, with more detailed and sharper looking cars, roads and foliage, as well as improved weather conditions. The game was always smooth to play, with a minimum of frame drops and glitches. Textures are generally good but some foliage and trees are rather low-res; this is especially apparent when you go of-course. the damage model looks pretty realistic with broken windows, loose bumpers and parts that completely fall of your vehicle. Colin McRae Rally 04 doesn't have the DX10 graphics of DiRT, but that's only natural considering the game's age.

There is no music in the game except for the random techno tune of the menus, but that doesn't mean Colin McRae Rally 04 sounds bad. In fact, this game sounds as realistic as I can imagine rally sounding like. Engines roar, gearboxes rattle, exhausts scream, windows shatter, ... it's all there. Derek Ringer does an excellent job as co-pilot and never bored or annoyed me at any time. Every sound gets a extra dimension when switching to the cockpit view where everything looks and sounds just a bit more dramatic. I never made much use of this view though, because it limits your view greatly.

If you happen to see Colin McRae Rally 04 somewhere and it isn't too expensive, get it. It's pretty much everything a good rally game should be and I had a great time playing this game. 8.0/10


Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Colin McRae Rally 04 [Xbox Classics] Codemasters 2005 Racing
Microsoft Xbox PT, ES S Colin McRae Rally 04 Codemasters 2003 Racing
Microsoft Xbox France S Colin McRae Rally 04 Codemasters 2003 Racing
Microsoft Xbox France S Colin McRae Rally 04 [Classics] Codemasters 2005 Racing
Microsoft Xbox Germany S Colin McRae Rally 04 Codemasters 2003 Racing
Microsoft Xbox Germany S Colin McRae Rally 04 [Classics] Codemasters 2005 Racing
Microsoft Xbox FR, DE, GB S Colin McRae Rally 04 Codemasters 2003 Racing
Microsoft Xbox U S Colin McRae Rally 04 Codemasters 2003 Racing
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Sirgin: Review
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Last Updated: 2012-10-16 21:15:21
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