— your co-driver, after you've plunged your car into another crashfest
Rally Trophy is a rally racing simulation game, the commercial debut of Finnish driving game developer Bugbear Entertainmentnote better known these days for their Black Comedy demolition derby game series, FlatOut, first published by JoWood Productions in autumn 2001. The game was in development since the late 1990s and became a surprise hit, with lots of critical acclaim by players and reviewers alike.It deviates from other existing rally games by being a retro-themed title, focusing on various classic rally cars from the 1960s and 1970s. It generally aims for a realistic simulation of these cars of yesteryear, which means they lack various fancy technical enhancements and upgrades of Present Day rally cars. Thanks to an advanced physics model, driving them actually feels like driving a vintage car, making the game fairly Nintendo Hard, but enjoyable and challenging nonetheless.The retro atmosphere is also enhanced by grainyand traditional-looking menu screens, more regionally-themed and lesser known national championships, lots of Played for Laughs elements and some genuinely quality folk-rock style intrumental music, with a heavy dose of 1960s guitar sound.An archived version of the game's official site can be seen here and its developer site can be seen here. Patches, wallpapers, etc. are still downloadable from the official site.
This game features the following tropes :
Ace Custom: Each car in the game has a standard rally version and a factory team version. Naturally, the more powerful (and often cooler-looking) factory team version of the car only gets unlocked as you progress through the game, winning new national championships or setting new time records on stages.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Played with. Of all the 11 available cars, 8 are RWD and vary a lot in terms of performance and the amount of skill needed for driving them. While switching from one car to another, you'll often have to unlearn or rethink skills you've learned. It's generally better to start with the more easily accessible FWD cars (the SAAB 96, Lancia Fulvia and Mini Cooper) and then gradually accustom yourself to the rear wheel drives. Some RWDs in the game can be literally sadistically hard to keep on the road along a straight line, with the LanciaStratos and the 1960s version of the Opel Kadett being the worst offenders. But it's all justified, since those cars really were that hard to control. Generally speaking, the most stable to drive RWD cars are probably the Alfa Romeo Giullia and the Ford Cortina.
Driving Stick : As in many rally racing games, you can choose either manual or automatic transmission. Automatic is easier to drive with (especially for newcomers), while manual is harder, but more sensitive and responsive.
Game Mod : Racing games traditionally aren't overly modding-friendly (even the ones with huge fan communities), but RT had a surprisingly great amount of fan-made custom content. Some quality stuff was made back in the day - especially many additional cars, both old and new, and even entire new stages and countries (the Australian maps were among the best). If you already own the game, you can start looking for various mods and addons here, here and here.
TT Real Mod is aimed at further enhancing the already high level of realistic driving physics from the vanilla game.
In-Vehicle Invulnerability : Played straight, but with a subversion or two. As your windshield and front lights get damaged, your line of sight diminishes and gets a bit obscured (especially on night stages).
Large Ham: Your co-driver, particularly in some instances.
Leitmotif: Each country in the game has its own music themes - two alternating ones for the rally stages in Rally mode and one for the circuit races of Arcade mode.
Limited Sound Effects : Averted very well - except for the crash SFX, which play this painfully straight, being nearly identical, regardless of whether you hit a rock, tree or some metal object or whether you damaged the car's body or windows.
Miniscule Rocking: Much of the game's soundtrack consists of themes barely longer than a minute or minute and a half. Justified, since most of these themes are designed to run on a loop and provide incidental background music. Most of the time, players hardly even notice the looping, since the songs' ends blend seemlessly into each other.
Norse by Norsewest : Sweden and Finland, being traiditional rally racing countries, feature in the championship. An aversion of this trope, since they're portrayed faithfully and differ quite a bit from each other (it helps that Sweden is the obligatory "snow and winter" country of the championship).
Pet the Dog: While your co-driver will berate you for every crash or driving blunder, he doesn't hesitate to acknowledge your driving skills if you did well :
Pintsized Powerhouse: True to its Real Life counterpart, the Abarth-produced sports modification of the Fiat 600 lives up to this trope. It might be as small a car as the Mini Cooper, but it's a rear wheel drive and has a very powerful engine, making it a speedy and agile little racer. Unfortunately, the much more powerful engine also provides the disadvantage of the car easily oversteering or understeering at higher speeds if not driven with care.
Subsystem Damage: You can damage virtually anything on your car, from your bodywork and windows to your engines, axles, steering, brakes and transmission. Tyres also gather wear with each completed rally stage and require regular replacement. One of the few Acceptable Breaks from Reality is that your engine will never completely shut down, no matter the damage.
Unlockable Content: New stages and cars (including the factory team versions) become available as you gradually progress through the main championship campaign (career mode) on gradually increasing difficulty levels.
Wacky Racing: Present a bit in Arcade mode, where you race against a maximum of five opponents on a circuit track for at least three laps. While not outright vehicular combat, every single lap is a genuinely tense and thrilling experience. Standings of racers change easily and once a race starts, it's basically every man for himself. Even the background music is faster-paced and sounds a lot wackier than that of the stages in Rally mode.