Death Rally is a top-down combat racer for the PC. You start out with a "Vagabond" car that's based on the VW Beetle, and $495. The game has you fighting for the top spot along with 19 other racers. The game is divided into rounds; each round consists of three parallel races with different difficulty levels and four cars. The higher the difficulty, the larger the cash prize and points for the leaderboard; however if you are destroyed or lapped you don't get any points or bonuses. You race on 19 different tracks, some of which are duplicates rotated 180 degrees. Some tracks are specific to the difficulty level. You might get an objective at the start of a race to either pick up objects or destroy another driver. Successfully completing this objective will earn you extra cash, but failing will cost you. You can also borrow money from a loan shark, who must be paid back with interest.
The cars in Death Rally are all based on real or fictional cars. There are engine, tire and armour upgrades; each component can be upgraded between one to four times, depending on the car. You can also fit weapons to the cars such as bumper spikes, mines and rocket fuel (like nitro that damages your car and the one behind). Each car already has a specific gun fitted to it that can't be upgraded. Before each race you can bribe a mechanic to tamper with the best car on the grid.
Here are the cars and what they are based on:
- Vagabond - Volkswagen Beetle. Has a single small gun.
- Dervish - Pick-up truck. Has a slightly more powerful gun.
- Sentinel - Peugeot 405. Has a large gun. This is the best car available in the shareware version of the game.
- Shrieker - Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Has two machine guns.
- Wraith - Porsche 911. Has two large machine guns.
- Deliverator - Mach 5 from Speed Racer. Armed with deadly chainguns. Duke Nukem drives the Deliverator.
- Vagabond: Bogus Bill and Farmer Ted
- Dervish: Liz Arden, Diesel Joe and Mic Dair
- Sentinel: Mori Sato, Suzy Stock, Iron John and Cher Stone
- Shrieker: Lee Vice, Dark Ryder and Greg Peck
- Wraith: Mad Mac, Motor Mary, Matt Miller and Clint West
- Deliverator: Nasty Nick, Jane Honda, Sam Speed and Duke Nukem
Depending on what face you choose at the start of the game, some drivers might get shuffled around.
The Adversary is the ultimate boss in the game. Once you get to the top you race against the Adversary who drives an improved version of the Deliverator, armed with a rocket engine and chainguns. You can't sabotage his car before the race, and the final race takes place in the Arena, a oval shaped track.
A freeware version of the game, modified to run on modern PCs, is available for download from Joystiq.