SEGA Rally Championship was one of those very slick arcade racers by SEGA in the mid 90s in the vein of Virtua Racing and Daytona USA. Of the three, Rally was my favourite but it wasn’t the most informed of decisions: in their original arcade run, I played all three a combined dozen times (give or take a few). It’s not that I didn’t like the games — I did — it’s just that the combination of really advanced rendering technology (for the time) and large cabinets made these games expensive. Expensive for the retailers, so seeing these games was a rarity, and expensive for the player. In a time when a quarter would score you multiple fights in Street Fighter II (and even more if you played against people and won) the idea of spending a buck, or more!, on one race seemed ludicrous. But they were very pretty games to watch.
Skip ahead a decade and I find myself working in an office with a SEGA Rally Championship 2 arcade machine set to “free play”. Oh yes. That machine was played. Sometimes it was the only thing keeping me awake in there while I worked away until 7am (ugh). I became pretty decent at it and could beat the game in one go fairly regularly. All four tracks of it. That’s what made it great. It was a very focused experience. There weren’t a lot of vehicles or tracks or options (Manual or automatic?) but it did all those things so very well that it had depth beyond the sum of its parts. In short, it was a great arcade game.
Playing SEGA Rally Revo on the XBox 360 reminded me of all those things. That SEGA polish of yore is there in this game and it does some really cool things with the buzz-worthy “deformable terrain” and deep down it’s still the same game you want to throw quarters into every once in a while, but that’s its biggest problem: it’s an arcade game with a home console price. $60!? That’s a hell of a lot of quarters. It’d be a perfect “arcade” game (barring size restrictions) but for $60 it doesn’t seem worth it.