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Started in 1998, the franchise has been a critical and commercial success and is generally acknowledged as a pioneer of realistic rally sports racing games. The series is named after the late World Rally Championship driver Colin McRae, who provided technical advice during development.
Despite McRae's death in September 2007, Codemasters retained the use of his name on their rally games.
Colin McRae Rally
Colin McRae Rally, the first title in the series, was released for the PC and PlayStation platforms in January 1998 in the United Kingdom and in September 1999 in the United States. The game featured real cars and drivers from the 1998 World Rally Championship. Colin McRae's Subaru Impreza was featured on the game's cover.
Cars included in Time Trial (intermeditate mode) are: Subaru Impreza 22B - 4WD . 300BHP, Mitsubishi Lancer E4 - 4WD . 300BHP, Ford Escort WRC - 4WD . 290BHP, Toyota Corolla WRC - 4WD . 290BHP. Included on the Novice Mode (Front Wheel-Drive) are: Renault Maxi Megane - FWD . 250BHP, SEAT Ibiza Kit Car EVO2 - FWD . 230BHP, VW Golf GTI Kit Car - FWD 250BHP and Skoda Felicia Kit Car - FWD . 240BHP.
In Novice mode there are only 3 stages per rally, each followed by a Service Area, making easier to adjust the vehicle to the different conditions of each stage and repair the damage. Also the Novice Championship does not include Indonesia neither UK. Service Area adjustments included are: 1. Tyres (Slicks, Dry Grooves, Wet Grooves or Spikes); 2. Suspension (Soft, Medium or Stiff); Brakes (Rear Bias, Even or Front Bias); 3. Steering (Low, Medium or High sensitivity); 4. Gear-Ratio (Max speed, High speed, Balanced Speed, Good acceleration or Max acceleration). Changing the predefined setup will consume time: Tyres - 3'00", Suspension - 15'00", Brakes - 10'00", Steering - 12'00" and Gear-Ration - 20'00". The total time available in the Service area for setup and repair is 40'00". The bodywork is repaired automatically.
The game contains stages in eight countries; New Zealand, Greece, Monaco, Australia, Sweden, Corsica, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The PC version also includes four unlockable tracks to which real-world locations are not attributed.
Apart from Colin McRae himself, and Travis Pastrana in Colin McRae: Dirt, and Pastrana, Ken Block, Mohammed bin Sulayem, Dave Mirra and Tanner Foust in Colin McRae: Dirt 2, this first edition of the game featured real-world drivers whereas all of the sequels used fictional competitors. Featured real-world drivers include Didier Auriol, Philippe Bugalski, Richard Burns, Juha Kankkunen, Piero Liatti, Alister McRae, Colin McRae, Harri Rovanperä, Carlos Sainz, Bruno Thiry, Oriol Gomez and Kenneth Bäcklund in the place of Tommi Mäkinen, who has his own rally game.
Colin McRae Rally 2.0
This second game features the 1999-spec Ford Focus WRC, the 2000-spec Ford Focus WRC, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI Gr.A, Subaru Impreza WRC2000, Peugeot 206 WRC, Toyota Corolla WRC and SEAT Cordoba WRC, among other cars. The countries included are Kenya (gravel and tarmac), Finland (gravel and mud), United Kingdom (tarmac, mud and gravel), Sweden (snow and ice), Australia (loose pea gravel), Japan (1 stage in challenge mode, Tarmac and Mud), France (Corsica) (tarmac), Greece (rough gravel), and Italy (tarmac). The car featured on the front cover of the game was McRae's Ford Focus WRC 2000 (V3 FMC).
Colin McRae Rally 3
This was the first Colin McRae game released for the PlayStation 2, as well as the Xbox. A GameCube version was announced but it was cancelled. It uses an autosave feature.
Winning each rally during the championship unlocks the following: In Normal Difficulty, Spain Rally 1st place - Citroën Saxo Kit Car, Finland 1st place - Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII RS II; Japan 1st place - Subaru Impreza 22B STI;
Notably, this is the first game in which the Peugeot 206 is completely absent.
There are eight countries: Sweden (snow), Japan (wet tarmac), UK (wet tarmac/gravel and mud), Finland (gravel), Spain (dry concrete/tarmac), Australia (dry loose pea gravel), USA (gravel and dusty tarmac), and Greece (dry rough gravel). Each Rally takes place during 2 days with 3 Special Stages each and final Super Special Stage at the end of the second day. There are service areas between the 2 days (meaning 3 special stages, then a service area, other 3 special stages, last service area, and then super special stage 7 (night)). It is not possible to manually repair the damage of the car. It is calculated and repaired automatically. Also the setup of the car is most of the times already adjusted to the stages conditions.
The championship takes place over three years (2002, 2003, 2004), with the difficulty increasing each year, as you race to try and become the Sparco Rally Champion in Colin McRae's Ford Focus RS WRC '02. Six rallies take place each season. The car featured on the front cover of the game was the Ford Focus WRC '02 (EK 51 HXZ) from the 2002 Rallye de Catalunya.
The Subaru Impreza WRX was modelled, including the license plate, from the car belonging to John Griffin, who helped with some of the research for the game. He still owns the car as of 2008.
Colin McRae Rally 04
Template:Mainarticle This fourth incarnation of the Colin McRae Rally series, unlike in the previous three games, has no official WRC team license. All of the cars' liveries are either fictitious or taken from championships other than the WRC.
4WD cars included in this installment are: Citroën Xsara Rally Car - 314BHP, Subaru Impreza WRX 44S Rally Car - 312BHP, Ford Focus Rally Car - 310BHP, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII Rally Car - 310BHP and Peugeot 206 Rally Car - 312 BHP.
2WD Cars included are: MG ZR Super 1600 Rally Car - 212BHP, Citroën Saxo Kit Car - 207BHP, Ford Puma Super 1600 Rally Car - 200BHP, Fiat Punto Super 1600 Rally Car - 215BHP and Volkswagen Rallye Golf - 230BHP.
Bonus cars included are: MGC (GTS) Sebring Special - 202BHP, Lancia Delta Integrale - 325BHP, Citroën 2CV Sahara - 50BHP, Ford Escort RS 1600 - 200BHP, Ford Transit Rally Van - 200BHP, Mitsubishi Pajero - 250BHP and Subaru Impreza 22B Sti - 285 BHP.
Nicky Grist is replaced by Derek Ringer, although you can opt for Grist for all cars except the Xsara. The countries are: Spain (tarmac), UK (gravel), Greece (rough gravel), USA (fine gravel), Japan (wet tarmac), Sweden (snow/ice), Australia (pea gravel) and Finland (gravel). In UK, USA, Sweden and Australia are also the Super Special Stages. There are six championships to complete, including expert mode, 2wd normal/advanced, 4wd normal/advanced and Group B normal. The car featured on the front cover of the game was the Citroën Xsara WRC '03 (22BJM 92).
Colin McRae Rally 2005
The 2005 installation of the McRae franchise has over 70 stages spread over nine countries: Australia (loose gravel), Japan (tarmac), Finland (gravel), Greece (rough rocky gravel), UK (tarmac, mud, and gravel), Spain (smooth tarmac), USA (gravel/dusty tarmac), Sweden (snow and ice), and newcomer Germany (abrasive tarmac/light gravel). There are over 30 cars available, including Ford Focus WRC '01, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti '04 (which is featured on the front cover), Citroën Xsara WRC '04, Peugeot 206 WRC2003, and Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII (8). There is also a revised graphics / damage engine that enables paint scratches on the car, and a new 'career' mode where the player starts out in the lower club leagues and works their way up to compete with Colin McRae in his 2004 Dakar Rally Nissan Pick-Up. In 'Championship' mode the player competes as Colin himself competing in 6 Rallies using any 4WD car.
The game's graphic engine allows for more realistic damage effects and a blurred vision effect if the player comes into contact with a hard object.
Two mobile game versions of this game were created, a J2ME title developed by IOMO and published by Digital Bridges and a N-Gage title developed by Ideaworks3D. Both were nominated for BAFTAs in the Mobile and Handheld categories respectively. 
Colin McRae: Dirt
Template:Mainarticle At E3 2006, Codemasters revealed that a new McRae game was in development for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. On 20 July 2006, Codemasters announced that the title of the new game would be Colin McRae: Dirt in Europe, and Dirt: Colin McRae Off-Road in the United States.
Graphically, the game has improved greatly over Colin McRae 2005 especially with the added Direct3D 9 bloom and HDR which allows more realistic lighting effects. Also, the damage engine has been improved allowing the car to be deformed and damaged via the inclusion of soft body physics on vehicles.
Colin McRae Rally Mac
Colin McRae Rally Mac is the first Macintosh release of a CMR series game. It was released on 26 October 2007, just six weeks after McRae's death in a helicopter crash.
The development of the game was fraught with problems. Apple's switch to Intel Macs, some behind-the-scenes changes at Feral and other issues conspired to keep CMR:Mac from being released until fairly late into 2007, despite it being based on PC-game underpinnings that Windows gamers had been enjoying since late 2004.
Feral chose to make this release as independent of the PC franchise as possible to avoid any issues that might date it, calling it "Colin McRae Rally Mac" rather than attaching a year to it.
Colin McRae: Dirt 2
Template:Mainarticle In November 2008, Codemasters unveiled a sequel to the successful Colin McRae: Dirt; it was released in September 2009. As well as appearing on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC, the game is available on the Nintendo DS, Wii and PlayStation Portable. The game is built upon an improved version of the EGO game engine that powered the first game, as well as a comprehensive online mode.
Colin McRae: Dirt 3
Template:Mainarticle Colin McRae Dirt 3 was announced in early 2010.
The success of the Colin McRae Rally games resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "Fastest Physics Engine in a Racing Game", "Most Camera Views in a Racing Game", and "Most Complex Audio in a Racing Game". Colin McRae: Dirt can have 96 active sound effects per car at any given time, and with 16,121 different audio samples featured in game, there are 1,005,772,154,467,879,035,136 different combinations of sounds that can occur.
- ↑ Robinson, Martin (2008-11-19). Colin McRae: DiRT 2 AnnouncedColin McRae: DiRT 2 Announced. IGN.