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January 10, 2000 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-10

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 10, 2000

Despite problems,'Ra0,y 2' races

There's nothing like being a sequel to
make a video game promising. The idea
has already been hammered out, so the
second try has room for finessing. The
first "Sega Rally" was an arcade hit and
a great title on the Saturn. "Sega Rally 2"

Sega Rally 2
Sega
Dreamcast
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Ted Watts

was also an arcade
hit and proves
itself worthy of
many of the
Dreamcast's pow-
ers.
Providing lush
and varied tracks,
"Sega Rally 2"
moves quickly
along roads rang-

ing from nicely paved if twisty roads on
the Riviera to snow bank riddled winter
trails. The game proyides an experience
that is fast without being completely out
of control.
Well, actually, the game is pretty
chaotic until you get the hang of driving
in a way that would get you killed in the
real world. You have to develop skills
like skidding around corners and swing-
ing your vehicle (you get to choose from
at least eight cars, by the way) further
than the direction you're headed to
power slide your way into staying on a
stable surface so you can shave a second
or two off your score so you can finish
the track before time runs out, and if

you're lucky, to come in first. Be careful
the game doesn't immerse you so much
that you get in your real world vehicle
and implement your new found abilities.
You've got a few possibilities of what
it is you're trying to win. First up is
arcade mode; four tracks to get through
in not so very much time. There's plenty
of problems to solve and habits to learn
and unlearn in order to get through the
game. The early tracks start to wear on
you over time, as you play them over and
over.
When that repetition starts to drag, it's
time to move onto championship mode
or practice mode. More and different
tracks are available, and they're easier to
complete, at least for a while. There's
even a high level of organization, since
in championship mode you race on sev-
eral tracks a year for 10 years. This cre-
ates some problems; prime among them
is the huge amount of memory needed to
save a game. "Sega Rally 2" saves a lot
of information about your races; but
because of that, it's pretty difficult clear-
ing enough space to save any informa-
tion about this racer. Good thing some
companies are starting to make mega-
sized memory cards for the Dreamcast;
they're badly needed for the huge save

CNAPI Nbj~

--,

,." MULTI COLOR SPECIALISTS
eARTIST ON STAFF
" RUSH ORDERS
- NEAR U OF M CAMPUS
1217 PROSPECT, ANN ARBOR 665-1771
OFF with this .d
, _ http:/www.tshirtstudio.corn

7

files for games like this.
The game has some other problems;
it drops some frames here and there, but
more importantly it fails to make use of
the Dreamcast modem. There was a
version of "Sega Rally 1" on the
Saturn that made use of the optional
modem; it was more or less expected
that "Sega Rally 2" would use the
standard modem on the Dreamcast to
let people race each other over the
net. Inexplicably, the game is self

contained. Sure, the game has tinely
detailed textures, exciting gameplay
and interactive road hazards like
birds and puddles, but it doesn't go
the obvious next step and move
online.
So "Sega Rally-2" falls short of being
a truly stellar game. It's still good, but
there's an ugly undertone that it could've
been better. Just hope they don't re-
release the game later, because you
should get this version now.

J

.
_--

Grammy
nods g
for brok
fo r k.with tripe .0
Los Angeles Tunes
Where's the towel? The Grammy vct-
ers have egg on their faces again. I kno
it sounds like a tired refrain, but what
else can you say when they nominate the
Backstreet Boys, Cher and Ricky Martin
in their most prestigious categories? 7'
Who's kidding whom when it comes
to pop-music award shows?
Yes, the thousands of voting members
of the National Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences did almost exactly
what everyone feared: In both the best
record and best album categories, they
went almost exclusively for sales. In ret-
rospect, all the academy had to do was
send out the SoundScan list of the year's
Top 20 sellers in both categories.
The only surprise in the balloting is
that the voters went past the Top 20 (past
the Top 200, in fact) in the album cate-
gory to nominate Diana Krall's "When I
Look in Your Eyes," a move that raises
the question: Why?
Krall is one of the most acclaimed
singers in jazz, but there's little sense of
convincing individuality or a trailblaz-
ing spirit in this collection.
Don't expect to find those qualities in
the other album nominees either. The
Dixie Chicks are breaking some ground
in country, but there is no way thei#
"Fly" album is one of the year's five
most distinguished works. 'The
Backstreet Boys may be the most inter-
esting of the "boy bands," but its music
is formulaic pop.
Whatever the problems with the
album category, the best record nomina-
tions are even more discouraging.
Carlos Santana's "Smooth" seems on
the surface to be classier than Rickv
Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," but t
only thing that makes it so is Santana's
guitar work. The lyrics, written and sung
by Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas, have
only slightly less a production-line feel
than "Vida Loca."
Although those two records will be
the favorites, TLC's "No Scrubs,"..a
more artfully crafted effort and an
expression of female independence,
could be the surprise if "Smooth" a
"Loca" split the mainstream vote. T
other nominees, Cher's "Believe" anh
the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It TIfA
Way," are both examples of producers
trying to craft hits (and succeeding'
rather than artists' trying to express
original or revealing emotions (and
sharing any).
There are a few bright spots scat-
tered through the ruins of pop-rock
nominations, starting with R&B singer.
Macy Gray in the best new artist ca'
gory. Her "On How Life Is" is stronger
than any of the album-of-the-year con-
tenders. Unfortunately, it wasn't
among the nation's Top 20 sellers.
Three other worthy album-of-the-
year candidates are stuck down in
the "alternative" music category:
Moby's "Play," Nine Inch Nails'
"The Fragile" and Beck's
"Mutations." Unfortunately, they,
too, fell below the voters' commer-
cial radar screen

m

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