Originally released in Japan last January, Sega Rally 2 which was held back from the North American launch, has finally arrived. The Japanese version had major issues with the inconsistent frame rates. Sega promised this would be remedied for other markets. Have they upheld their promise? Unfortunately the answer is no. In addition, the online racing component that made the Japanese version fun is mysteriously absent. All is not lost however, as Sega Rally 2 provides enough extras to keep most racing fans busy for hours on end.
At first glance, Sega Rally 2 is a perfect arcade to home translation. But after sitting down with it for a few minutes, things do not appear so good. The framerate still suffers the same deficiency as in the Japanese version. Where the Japanese version was all over the place, the US version seems to hover around the 30 frames per second refresh rate. The FPS problem is really problematic when you perform power slides around corners. Although the framerate problem takes away from the appearance, it doesn't really affect the gameplay. Another poor graphics issue is the quite noticeable pop-up. Once again it does not affect gameplay but it does take away from the overall driving experience of the game. The sprite-based elements which include the sides of tracks and spectators just look plain cheesy. These also take away from the replay mode and make it look very unnatural.
Don't get me wrong, if you can look past these scars, Sega Rally 2 has its graphical pleasantries. Some of the on track details are nice like staying skid marks. The backgrounds at times will have you amazed, especially during the early evening races. The in-car viewpoint is meticulously detailed. The cars themselves look pretty darn close to their real-life counterparts. Their movements however are quite far from their true handling. This is understandable and welcomed as Sega Rally 2 is an arcade racer and not a simulation as the likes of Gran Tourismo for the Playstation.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. What was present in the arcade version has been copied to the home version. The most important aspect of the audio is the aid you will get from your computer controlled co-driver. The co-driver will assist you with the navigation of the course. Without this support even the most skilled drivers would be unable to succeed each course.