Codemasters have put together much more than another car game. They have built a great rally racing game that gives you a great look into the “real” world of high impact rally racing. Although it’s a little more bland then other games in its genre, it has a realistic edge that is refreshing.

The Game
Colin McRae 03 is a full dose of the popular European racing style of the rally. With over 50 courses you will have your Ford Focus hitting rocks, sliding into trees, jumping hills and experiencing all the fun and dangers that are realality in the gritty world of rally racing.

The game physics in Colin McRae are really accurate and feel like you are driving in these absurd environments. The forests are done particularly well, you can hit a jump and slide off the track into a patch of trees and work your way out... even if they are 2d textures. A lot of work has been put into the level design to making each course feel realistic, and it shows in the game. The car physics are also done to perfection. Your Rally car will actually take damage and bits and pieces will fall off when you take to some extra roughness on the course. I especially liked the way the hatchbacks hatch would come unhinged when you hit those high jumps.

Additionally there are a number of extras you can unlock which keep you playing; plus with the number of configurations that you can have, Colin McRae has a good replay value. Another cool concept is the ability to change up your setup and compare and test it on the track with other configurations. This way you can fine tune the car to the track and your driving style. Very cool, other "racing" developers take some notes.

Graphics & Sound
The graphics are wonderful in Colin McRae Rally 3. The car models, environment, layout and level design are perfect. All the little touches are added, like dirt throwing up off of your cars tires and steam pouring out of the engine after burning through a trench of water. These little touches with the overall polish of the game makes for a very well presented graphical package. The cars noticeable structural damage is neat, and it’s impressive how the smooth the cars look and feels when it hits the road. Colin McRae is sharp and developed with a keen eye for detail.

The sound aspect of Colin McRae is put together very well too. There is a nutral feeling of feeling free and ready to explore the intriguing world of Rally. To stay true to the real world there is no music when you are racing, this could be a complaint to many, but if you where driving for the real deal there wouldn’t be 1000db mind numbing destraction.pumping in your ear. The effects on the track are well done as well as the engine noises. I think they could have benefited from some more atmospheres when traveling along the road, some more nature, but overall it’s nothing to complain about. They sound does the trick and helps give this game the pro feeling it has.

I am split on the mojo level for Colin McRae. It has good graphics, gameplay and sound. The game has a polish that a lot of other titles don’t hit, but still I don’t feel the mojo like I did in RalliSport Challenge. There is mojo, but it’s hidden by the realistic feeling of the game. Not a bad thing, but not a mojo thing. Colin McRae is a cool game, but it could have been cooler.

The easy comparison on the Xbox for Colin McRae would be RalliSport Challenge. RalliSport was a more exciting game for me, but didn’t have the realism that Colin McRae Rally 3 has. So if you want faster action and a wider car selection go with RalliSport or if you would rather have less cars, but more realistic car physics and rally feel go with Colin. Both games are excellent in there own right. If you are a rally car fan by far you need to check out this RalliSport and this title.

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | April 16th 2003

  • Featured cars include: Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7, Subaru Impreza WRX 44S, Citroen Xsara Kit Car, Ford Puma Rally, Citroen Saxo Kit Car, Fiat Punto Super 1600, MG ZR and the Ford RS200 and Lancia 037 from the classic set.
  • The main championship game is a gruelling series of races across eight international rallies: Japan, Spain, USA, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Australia and the UK are all included offering tarmac, gravel, dirt, and rain-soaked road surfaces.
  • As always, unpredictable weather conditions can make all the difference when every second counts and, for the first time, the visualisation of this is incredible: just witness the raindrops falling, exploding onto the windscreen, then streaking up the windscreen. What many games have promised, Colin McRae Rally 3 delivers in immaculate detail.
  • The championship game pummels players through a three-year deal. Like the professionals, players will compete in the full year and drive in every rally. Fall foul on a stage or damage the Focus beyond immediate repair and you’ll be retired from that particular rally and without the all-important championship points. The driving seat beckons at the beginning of the next rally, but points will have to be made up to stand a chance of becoming a champion.

Colin McRae
Rally 3

Feb. 2003