Rally-X is a maze game with elements of later open-world driving games included within. In Rally-X, the player is tasked with driving car through a course with the goal of collecting ten flags before running out of fuel or crashing. Harrying the player throughout this task are four opposing vehicles. As your fuel runs down they get a bit faster than you, although you have ways to escape them. Each way is costly, though. You can kick smoke out of your tailpipe which will stun cars for a bit, but that loses fuel. Ducking around too much and ignoring flags also costs time, which is expressed by a finite amount of fuel. The mazes get progressively tougher the longer play continues.
Once the player reaches the third stage, and every four levels after level three, the player is placed in a bonus level (CHALLENGING STAGE) where they are able to run through the maze to collect flags without being pursued by enemy cars.
An optimum mode of play involves locating the S-Flag (marked with an S) in the maze, which doubles the score per flag, before moving on to collecting the ten flags in the maze.
Extra lives are awarded at 20,000 points and 100,000 points by default.
Rally-X was the first Namco title to feature the aforementioned bonus levels, as well as the first to feature background music throughout the game, and the first to utilize a minimap.
Rally-X was superseded two months after release by New Rally-X, and has not appeared in compilations as often as that title. It has made appearances in the following collections:
Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 included a remixed version of Rally-X, "Rally-X Arrangement", that was included in the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube releases of Namco Museum '01.
Rally-X was the first scrolling open-world video game, and the first open-world driving/racing game. It inspired Miami Vice (1986), which in turn inspired Grand Theft Auto (1997).