South Park as a rally game…I can see the thinking behind it but the execution just wasn’t up to scratch.
At the time of release South Park Rally was the 3rd South Park to be released & up to this point everyone had been average at best. No-one has been able to capture the world of South Park correctly (until recently with The Stick of Truth) & South Park Rally doesn’t even come close.
The story is paper-thin with the Mayor of South Park deciding to stage a rally series throughout the town of South Park. Now you might think this means you get plenty of exciting races across well designed tracks in some of the famous areas of South Park. The races part is right…sort of.
Some events are races, others are mission-based that require you pick up an item & get to a set point on the track, it’s confusing as hell. Others are themed such as the Valentine’s Day shootout that sees you picking up a Cupid bow & arrow & having to shoot other drivers with it. It’s not fun & incredibly limited.
The problem lies mainly in the terrible track design & the awful kart controls. How hard is it to do good kart controls? Just copy Mario Kart! Instead we get floaty-style karts that flip over so often you’ll want to throw your control at the TV. Braking is akin to pot-luck…with any thoughts of drifting gone. Try & drift well…see the results. There is too much pot luck involved & you’ll find yourself slamming into walls more often than not.
Players start with a small number of playable characters & 1 race track, you unlock more by completing races & events. Once unlocked players can then race on these tracks in practice mode & multi-player.
Multi-player is hardly much of an improvement as the same poor controls & bad track design still exists. Instead of cursing at the screen you can curse at the person sitting next to you. Although it should be noted the N64 version has 4-player which is marginally more fun.
So what does South Park Rally get right? The stages at least reflect South Park fairly well & the camera is done well enough & rarely locks up. The weapons & items you pick are uniquely South Park but limited unfortunately as are the one-liners that are at least authentic. The problem there lies in the reality that by the 4th stage you’ll have heard them all several times & be sick of them.
A bad racing game, a bad karting game & a bad South Park game. I don’t know what’s worse…the horrible controls, the floaty karts or the frustrating level designs.
South Park Rally