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Rally-X

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Rally-X is an arcade game released in 1980.

Overview

Rally-X (or Metrostar's RALLY-X in the European Union) is a maze driving arcade game that was released by Namco in 1980. It runs on Namco Pac-Man hardware, and was the first Namco game to feature "Special Flags", which would become a recurring object in later games (along with the Galaxian flagship).

It was the first game to ever feature a "bonus round." The object is to "capture" all of the flags scattered in the field before the other racers hit you. It was also the first game to feature background music.[1] It also featured an early example of a radar, to show the car's location on the map.[2] It was also notable for featuring a playfield that scrolls in multiple directions, both vertically and horizontally, and it was possible to pull the screen quickly in either direction.[3]

Description

File:Rallyx2.png

In the game, the player controls a blue car through a maze. The car will automatically move in whichever direction the joystick is pushed, but if it hits a wall, it will turn and continue.

In each stage, ten flags are scattered around the maze. The player must collect all of them to clear the stage and move onto the next round. The flags increase in value as they are collected: the first is 100 points, second is 200, third is 300, and so on. There are also special flags—if the player collects one of them, the value earned from flags doubles for the rest of the round. If the player dies, however, the next flag value is set back to 100 and the double bonus is lost. The maximum points the player can obtain each round is 2000 (1000 plus the double bonus), given if the player collects all 10 flags in one run. The player will also obtain a fuel bonus after the round is complete, and it varies depending on how much fuel is remaining according to the fuel meter.

Several red cars patrol the maze, and contact with any of them results in losing a life when hit. The number of these cars begins at three and increases in number throughout each normal stage to eight. The first five appear at the bottom of the screen, and the next three will appear at the top of the screen. However, the player can use a smoke screen against the red cars. If a red car runs into a cloud of smokescreen, it will be momentarily stunned. The amount of time stunned decreases with each level, but will still always cause the red car to chase the blue car using an alternate route. Using the smokescreen uses a small amount of fuel.

The car has a limited amount of fuel which is consumed with time, though it is normally sufficient to last until all flags are cleared. When fuel runs out, the car moves very slowly and the smokescreen no longer works, so it very quickly falls victim to the red cars. When the stage is complete with no fuel remaining (a rare occurrence), no fuel bonus is awarded.

There are also stationary rocks that the player must avoid. The rocks are randomly distributed throughout the maze, increasing in number as levels are advanced.

On the third stage and every fourth stage after that, a bonus stage ("CHALLENGING STAGE") will start. The player must collect flags in the normal way, but the red cars (the maximum normal number of red cars, which is eight) are unable to move. If the player runs out of fuel, the red cars will start moving. If a player hits a red car after they start to move or if they hit a rock, the challenging stage ends, and the player loses a life. Once all lives are lost, the game is over.

The soundtrack is unique to this game.

Gameplay

You guide a car through a scrolling maze, looking for ten flags to pick up while avoiding rocks and collisions with enemy cars in pursuit of you. Use the radar on the right side of the screen to find where the flags are and where your enemies are. Each flag you pick up gives you increasing points in increments of 100, though once you pick up the special flag that's marked with an S beside it, all increasing point values will be double -- until you reach the last flag or collide with a car or rock. You can activate smokescreens by which you can stun the chasing cars for a little while. You have a limited amount of fuel with which to use to complete the level; when it runs out, your car ends up moving slowly and thus can easily be overrun by the chasing cars.

On the third stage and every fourth stage after that, a bonus stage ("CHALLENGING STAGE") will start. The player must collect flags in the normal way, but the red cars (the maximum normal number of red cars, which is eight) are unable to move. If the player runs out of fuel, the red cars will start moving. If a player hits a red car after they start to move or if they hit a rock, the challenging stage ends, and the player loses a life.

Ports

Rally-X was ported to the MSX home computer. It was also included in Namco Museum Volume 1 series of 1995, which was released for the PlayStation, Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection in 2005, and the Pac-Man's Arcade Party 30th Anniversary arcade machine in 2010.

Jakks Pacific ported Rally-X to its Namco Collection TV game, which also includes Dig Dug, Bosconian, Galaxian, and Pac-Man.

The Metrostar's RALLY-X remake was ported to Niysa Assai 286 TV console under the new name (New RALLY-X).

Clones

Name Platform Release date Author Publisher Comments
迷魂車/BB Car Nintendo Entertainment System  ? Hwang Shinwei  ?
Driver Oric-1, Oric Atmos 1984 François Lionet Dialog informatique Added speed limit signs. http://oric.org/index.php?page=software&fille=detail&letter=&num_log=37
Jovial Race Nintendo Entertainment System  ? Sachen  ?
Radar Rat Race Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64 1981  ? Commodore Cars are replaced with mice, flags with cheese, boulders with cats, smokescreens with "star screens", and the soundtrack with "Three Blind Mice".

Sequels

The game's sequel, New Rally-X, offers a slightly different color scheme and easier gameplay (the special flag now flashes on the radar). Also, a feature called the "Lucky Flag" was added, which awards the player bonus points for the amount of fuel remaining when touched, after which the game continues if there are more flags. New Rally-X was manufactured in greater numbers and became more popular (at least in Japan) than the original.

Namco Classics Collection Volume 2, released in 1996, includes a version of Rally-X with enhanced graphics and gameplay, Rally-X Arrangement. Namco Museum Remix, released on October 23, 2007 for the Wii, also features a revamped version of Rally-X called Rally-X Remix.

Rally-X Rumble was released on Apple iOS on August 17th, 2011.

Trivia

In 1980, Defender, Pac-Man, and Battlezone were shown alongside Rally-X at a trade show sponsored by the Amusement Machine Operators of America. It was believed that Rally-X would be the top money-earner. Defender went on to sell more than 60,000 units—more than disproving these projections—and cemented its place in video game history.[4] Meanwhile, Pac-Man went on to sell more than 350,000 arcade units[5][6] and became the highest-grossing video game of all time.[7]

In Rally-X Remix on Namco Museum Remix, there is an option to play as the red car and crash into Pac-Man. To unlock it, known as "Red mode", all 4 worlds must be beaten.

References

  1. Gaming's Most Important Evolutions. GamesRadar (October 8, 2010). Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  2. Rally-X at Museum of the Game
  3. Gaming's Most Important Evolutions. GamesRadar (October 8, 2010). Retrieved on 2011-04-27.
  4. Source: Midway Arcade Treasures bonus material.
  5. Marlene Targ Brill (2009), America in the 1980s, Twenty-First Century Books, p. 120, ISBN 0822576023, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NjmhJKkoKW0C&pg=PT120, retrieved May 1, 2011 
  6. Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen (2001). Game of the Week: Pac-Man. GameSpy. Retrieved on April 9, 2011.
  7. Steve L. Kent (2001), The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond : the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world, Prima, p. 143, ISBN 0761536434, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C2MH05ogU9oC, retrieved May 1, 2011, "Despite the success of his game, Iwatani never received much attention. Rumors emerged that the unknown creator of Pac-Man had left the industry when he received only a $3500 bonus for creating the highest-grossing video game of all time." 

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