Rally Cross is a first generation PSX game. It featured a wild physics model that emphasized long power slides, huge jumps, and devastating crashes. The game featured a wide variety of cars and 6 courses.
: The player and 3 AI cars each run the course at the same time. The winner is the first to complete a set number of laps. In Championship Mode, the points were awarded as 100 for first, 75 for second, 50 for third, and 25 for last. Head-On
: The player and 1 AI car run the course at the same time, but in opposite directions. The player who completes the set number of laps first wins. In Championship Mode, these were run as a best of 3 series, with the direction switching each time. A short bracket was used to assign points. Suicide
: The player runs the course at the same time as 3 AI cars. The AI cars all run the opposite direction of the player. Thus, if the player is racing forward, all 3 AI cars are running in reverse. Mixed
: Only available in Championship Mode, mixed involved a 4 car standard race, with the top two finishers then running a Head-On match to determine first and second. Time-Trial
: Race an empty course for best lap and best overall times.
Rally Cross featured long, lurid power-slides. Theses were entirely physics based, and could be engaged either with the brake pedal, the handbrake, or simply corner speed and weight shift. Counter-steering was not necessary on slower cars, but at the higher levels became necessary to avoid overturning.
The physics model allowed for plenty of jumps and crashes, and cars could become overturned. The player then was able to use the shoulder buttons to rock the car back and forth. When pressed, the wheels on one side of the car would thrust out, giving the car momentum, and as the car swung back the other side would be engaged, giving further rocking motion, until the car was righted. The game manual offered that this was the driver and co-driver rocking back and forth inside the car, however real rally cars are usually righted by fans standing along the race course.
Rally Cross had both manual and automatic transmissions. With the manual transmission, players had the option to using a separate button for a clutch. In practice, this was unnecessary, as cars shifted fine without it. With an automatic transmission, players did not need to control forward gears, however players did need to manually select reverse gear. Also, at the start of the race, cars defaulted to neutral, and players must manually put them into first.
Although the game only had 6 courses, each course had three variations, and could be raced forwards and backwards, for a total of 36 options. The variants generally involved the opening and closing of alternative paths. In some cases, it involved changes in the weather, with drastic gameplay results due to increasingly muddy conditions. One course, Stadium, actually redesigned itself for each variation.
Oasis, the first course, featured a desert theme. The course started in sand dunes, with wide, sweeping turns and several large jumps. Although the course begins wide, the soft sand on the borders is significantly slower than the packed sand in the middle. The course then moves into a rocky ravine that curves around the Oasis. The course splits into two sections for a short burst, and then comes together and immediately splits again for a long curve around the Oasis. Version A
: Features all paths open. Version B
: Features only the narrower, more rocky path around the Oasis. Version C
: Features only the wider, sandy path around the Oasis. Reverse
: Primarily the same, except when racing forwards, there is a long straight before the finish line, with a jump that leads directly into a tight corner. When racing forward, this corner requires heavy braking, however in reserve this is not necessary.
Jungle (also known as "Islands" on some screens)
The second course, Jungle, takes place on a tropical island. The course starts on a worn paved road that winds its way past waterfalls. This section is very fast and narrow. This section leads into a wide turn onto soft dirt. This turn can be difficult. After this corner is the arguably the game's most famous section, as cars race up a large hill, and then launch into a huge jump down the other side. This leads to a very difficult rock tunnel, and then a ride through a muddy bamboo forest and village. The course splits, then comes together, and then splits again in this section. Version A
: Both paths are open. Version B
: Only the left paths are open. Version C
: Only the right paths are open. Reverse
: Racing forward makes the rock tunnel after the jump more difficult, however racing backwards creates a difficult jump just after crossing the finish line.
Mines, the third course, is a rather short course. The course crosses paths near the start/finish line. At the start, players race up a hill, and then into a mine shaft. The surface throughout the course is hard packed dirt. In the mine shaft, mine carts on the sides create hazards. Exiting the mine shaft, players then race down a hill and cross paths with the beginning of the course. There is then a lengthy 270 degree turn that leads back the finish line. Version A:
The course is sunny with few mud patches. This course is very fast and can be difficult with the advanced cars.Version B:
The sky is overcast with some mud patches. Version C
: Is is rainy, and the course is very muddy. The amount of mud can make this course very difficult with the beginner cars. Reverse
: The Mines course is very different in each direction. Almost every turn has to be approached differently. Also, the section where the tracks cross has jumps in some directions, and not in others, meaning it can be possible at times to jump clear of danger, depending on direction.
The fourth course, Alpine, takes place on a snowy mountain. The start is at the foot of the mountain, and is a snowy path. The course then begins heading up the mountain highway. One side is bordered by the mountain, the other side by a guardrail. This section is primarily switchbacks. There are also two shortcuts through this area in the form of narrow bridges connecting switchback routes. Additionally, frozen streams run across the course in two places, and the ice is very slippery and difficult to control. Once players reach the top, there is a very steep, very straight, and very icy decent. This ends in a sharp corner, and can be difficult to navigate. Once there, the path curves through the snowy forest basin to the start. There are also two shortcuts through this section, although they are much shorter than the ones in the switchbacks. Version A:
: Racing in reverse is often slightly easier, as the difficult corner at the bottom of the midpoint hill is no longer dangerous. Additionally, in reverse players race down the switchbacks, making it much easier to keep speed up through the tight and narrow corners. Also, many of the shortcuts are easier to see and access in reverse.
Castle (also known as "Lakes" and "Gardens" on some screens)
The fifth course, Castle, is probably the most difficult, but also the most fun. This course is a caricature of small, older town, probably in Western Europe. The course starts under either a castle wall or an aqueduct. Players then race through a twisting country road. This part is smooth pavement, and very fast. Right at the start of this section, however, players can drive through some bushes into a shortcut. The shortcut is on short grass and very narrow, but almost always faster than the road. Players then run under a castle wall and up a steep hill, now on narrow pavement covered in leaves. After this section, players enter the town, and race on cobblestone streets. The streets are bordered by sidewalks, which can easily flip a power-sliding car. Players will encounter a roundabout, which can be maneuvered in a variety of ways. Version A
: Both paths are open. Version B
: The shortcut is closed, and players are forced to take the road. Version C
: The road is closed, and players are forced to take the shortcut. Reverse
: This course is equally difficult in both directions.
The final track, Stadium, is a specially designed stadium rally course. This course is designed to be fast and exciting, with plenty of jumps. Version A
: The course is the shape of a squared oval, with several jumps on the straightaways. Version B
: The course begins with a straight, that then turns 180 degrees back in on itself, goes straight, turns 180 degree back again, has a third straight, and then turns 180 degrees a final time. Players then race down a final straight and take two 90 degree turns back to the start. There are again frequent jumps, and one straight has a "whoops" section. Version C
: The same as B, but when players head down the final straight, they then take an access tunnel that goes underneath the stadium seats. This section is concrete floor, and can be difficult to navigate as support columns on each side make for dangerous obstacles. Players then exit at the last corner of B, right near the start/finish line. Reverse
: Stadium is generally balanced in each direction.
All of the cars are fantasy cars, based very loosely off of "Type-B" designs from professional rally racing. Type B cars were completely unrestricted in performance, and the cars in the game feature many crazy spoilers and other designs. The cars tend towards cartoonish designs and paint jobs, however the shapes generally fit in a few distinct categories. The names were either initials or the names of animals. Cars were rated in speed, handling, and acceleration.
While the cars attributes did influence the basic characteristics, there were additional considerations based on how the physics engine reacted to the overall shapes. Racer-Type
These cars had long, low hoods and large rear spoilers. These cars tend to accelerate well, and were a little "floaty" over bumps. They were of average stability through corners. Wagon-Type
These cars had square front ends and station wagon style cabs. Although it real life they were probably closer to hatchbacks, in the game they tended towards full station wagons. These cars were somewhat "heavy" and very stable through corners. Sedan-Type
These cars were shaped like two door sedans, but with large basket spoilers. These cars tended to be the best racing cars with good speed and cornering, although they could be a little difficult to control over jumps. Egg-Type
These cars were shaped like Eggs. The real world equivalent is probably the European Micro Hatch style, however in the game they simply resembled space pods. Usually these were the fastest cars, but very difficult to control due to their high center of gravity. Truck-Type
The game featured 4 trucks that had either maxed, or nearly maxed, stats. These trucks had large suspension travel, but their extreme speed and acceleration could make them difficult to handle in corners.
List of Cars Rookie - Initially Unlocked
The default lap and course records were the names of people who worked on the game. The 4 secret trucks were similarly named.
The course "Jungle" is referred to as "Islands" during some loading screens.
The course "Castle" is referred to as both "Lakes" and "Gardens" in loading and post-race screens.