The box states "After Boss Rally, life in the fast lane will seem pretty dull." Unfortunately, Boss Rally seems to be stuck in the left-hand turn lane waiting for the green arrow. It's not that it's an entirely bad racing game, but it's not necessarily a fun one either.
The main problem with Boss Rally is that it's not very substantial. You can choose a quick race against one computer- controlled opponent, play a multi-player game via LAN setup or modem or enter the season mode. The season mode is the main portion of the game and it's there you'll unlock new cars and tracks. Basically, you start off with one of two cars and take part in a three-race season (or more depending on how far you are into the game). The objective is to finish each race as close to the leader position as humanly possible. The closer you are, the more points you get. Points are accumulated during the races and you need to meet a specific number in order to qualify for the next season. When you do qualify, you're given two newer, faster cars to help you compete.
Other options include the ability to race in different types of weather and conditions such as snow, mud and rain, as well as fully customize your cars. You can adjust shock suspension, brakes, tires (for the different weather conditions) and steering. There are also a few different camera views (in-car, chase and view) from which to choose.
So, what exactly is wrong with Boss Rally? First and foremost, there simply aren't enough courses. The ones that are provided (six in all, twelve if you count them mirrored) are pretty good in design with all kinds of shortcuts but they're not enough. When you race on the same tracks season after season, it tends to get fairly boring. Second, the races themselves seem insubstantial and feel very artificial. To elaborate, the problem is that as you're driving along, you really don't see all 19 computer controlled cars. You'll meet one at a time which leads me to believe the computer just throws cars in the race after you pass a certain opponent. This really cheapens the whole idea of racing.
Something else that really irked me is hesitation. I've got a very powerful machine and at times when a car was being added on the track, the game would freeze for a second and I'd wind up spun around in the mud somewhere. My third gripe is the inane lack of an Internet option. There are options for modem and LAN, but why not Internet? I don't believe it would have had a problem handling multiple connections on a decent server, yet that important feature is absent.
In fact, that just about sums up Boss Rally. The developers designed some pretty courses but forgot to program in fun options. It's a shame, too, as it could have been a really fun racer. The controls aren't that bad (once you take the sensitivity down) and I had no problem making my car go where I wanted. I did, however, have a problem keeping interest after the first couple seasons of play. The lack of originality and variety just kills the whole experience.
Graphics: The visuals are a bit bland in places but as a whole, adequate. Some of the textures have a first-generation 3D accelerator look with blurry smudges but others look crisp. Aside from the occasional (and downright annoying) hesitation, the frame rate is very solid and silky smooth.
Sound: I turned the music down almost fifteen minutes into the game. The rock band they got for the sound track is completely uninspired and ultimately annoying (especially the tracks with vocals on them). As for the sound effects, they're marginal. The tires and engines sound realistic enough and the clashing of cars (with each other or walls) is decent.
Enjoyment: Because you race the same tracks over and over (I think of mirrored tracks as being the same track -- it looks the same) combined with the sense that you're not really racing against intuitive artificial intelligence destroys the overall experience and enjoyment. There just weren't enough options for me and it gets too boring, too fast. The inclusion of an Internet option would have been nice, but they only catered to the LAN and Modem to Modem people (perhaps they were feeling rushed).
Replay Value: It got boring within a few hours. Once you see all six courses, there's not much to come back for, especially since you play them over and over again. Other than the season mode, there aren't any good modes of play. As I said earlier, if they had included an Internet play option, then it may have pumped some life into Boss Rally. They didn't, and this hurts the game in the long run.
People who downloaded Boss Rally have also downloaded:
CART Precision Racing, Cabela's 4x4 Off-Road Adventure 3, Autobahn Racing, Buggy, Big Scale Racing, BugRiders: The Race of Kings, Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now, Andretti Racing '98
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