Video Game / Death Rally

"The race is on, in Death Rally, where life is short & hot, fast & deadly. Watch the road, hear the rumble. Start out easy, get the feel of it. But remember: by the rules or fry the rules, play to win. 'Nuff said. Now ride your machine, your motor-war-chariot."
True Tom Rhymer

Death Rally is a Driving Game developed by Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment and published by Apogee Software in 1996. It was one of the last titles to be published under the Apogee name.

The game's menus are all 640* 480, 256-colour graphics, but the actual races are only at the standard 320* 200, 256-colour resolution.

The actual races use the classic top-down viewpoint; if you've played the Micro Machines games, you'll know what to expect. The cars are sprites but some elements of the track are in 3D. The player can drive under street lamps and signs, see parallax on rock formations and buildings and drive through tunnels.

The game can be played with or without weapons (although weapons make things much more interesting) and the player can even run over the bystanders on the side of the track, although it shouldn't be done intentionally as it slows the player down and damages their car.

The original game supports up to 4 players over an IPX network, along with two-player modem and serial-link multiplayer which was standard at the time of development.

In October 2009, Remedy released the game as freeware, and also ported it to run on Windows, Vista and Windows 7 included. If the player wants to play multiplayer, they have to use the DOS version and make use of DOSBox's IPX over TCP/IP emulation.

A reboot of the game was released for iOS on March 31, 2011. New features include an optional behind-the-car chase cam, several new weapons, Achievements and "challenge" events, which enforce certain restrictions such as every racer using the same car. A free Android OS version was released in May 2012. It removed Duke Nukem as a Guest Fighter but allowed the player to purchase new weapons, cars, tracks and special power-ups with real money. A PC version was released via Steam on August 3, 2012, featuring updated graphics, more special races, extra paint jobs for most of the vehicles and additional game mechanics such as the ability to hold Nitro boosts in reserve, Coop Multiplayer and the "Shadow Man".

Get ready to go!

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    Common tropes 
  • A Winner Is You: The freeware release of the original and free Android release of the reboot have the final cutscene replaced with nothing and a dialogue box proclaiming that the player has completed the game respectively.
  • Alliterative Name: Bogus Bill, Mad Mac, Matt Miler, Motor Mary, Nasty Nick, Sam Speed and Suzy Stock.
  • A.K.A.-47: Except with cars instead of guns. In the original game, the Vagabond (Volkswagen Beetle), Shrieker (Pontiac Trans-Am), and Wraith (Porsche 911) are all recognizable real cars, and the Deliverator is based on the Mach 5. In the reboot, the Dervish is a Hummer H3 and the Shrieker is a Mustang.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Several of the opponent drivers, some with Xtreme Kool Letterz, and all the available vehicles. There aren't many things that can describe a man racing in a muscle car as gloriously as Dark Ryder and his Shrieker, for example.
  • Car Fu:
    • The player's machine gun in the original game has very limited ammunition, and the player's regular gun in the reboot has a lethargic fire rate while the sub-weapon has very limited ammunition, so the player's other primary weapon is ramming the opposing cars into obstacles, mines, innocent bystanders (in the original game), and each other, preferably with spiked bumpers on.
    • One of the special races in the PC version of the reboot requires the player to destroy the other opponents using only a special set of spiked bumpers that do much more damage than the regular ones (all other weapons are disabled). For an extra kick, all vehicles are also given permanent Nitro for the race.
  • Cool Car:
    • The Deliverator, the so-called "Prince of the Race", visually inspired by the Mach 5 and bearing a visual resemblance to the real life Alfa Romeo 33.2. The Deliverator still carries this trope in the reboot, this time with a new design reminiscent of the Mach 5 from Speed Racer: The New Adventures.
    "Cybernetic roadwarrior, the player's car is the player's body. And this is not just any body, it is some body."
    • The unplayable Adversary's car in the original game, which is a modified Deliverator with a huge jet engine attached to the back.
    • The Wraith returns in the reboot with a much sleeker redesign.
  • Driving Game
  • Every Car Is a Pinto:
    • The vehicles in the original game burst into flames when destroyed. They remain as burning wrecks on the track for the rest of the race. Oddly enough, it is possible for a wreck to come Back from the Dead if it is nudged into a repair powerup.
    • The cars outright explode in the reboot, leaving a blackened, burnt wreck behind. These wrecks remain on the track as obstacles for the rest of the race.
  • Guest Driver:
    • Duke Nukem in the original. Hail to the king, baby!
    • In addition to Duke Nukem in the reboot, there's John Gore, Barry Wheeler, and Mighty Eagle. There's even a guest vehicle too: The Mighty Foot! In keeping with its Informed Ability of being virtually indestructible in Forever, the Foot has more armor upgrades then even the Deliverator and can easily shrug off the heaviest beatdowns in harder races. Duke is absent from the Android and PC versions, with his "Duke Match" event replaced by "Tex Match" and the Mighty Foot reskinned as the "Bravestar".
  • Heal Thyself: In the form of wrench powerups that occasionally spawn on the track in the original and can be obtained from destroyed crates or opponents in the reboot.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!":
    • Available from the Underground Market in the original. There is little that causes more damage, and nothing that knocks someone off course faster.
    • Available from the main shop in the reboot. Running into just a handful of these is a very good way of getting offed.
  • Mirror World:
    • Half of the tracks in the original are simply mirrored from the other half and given alternate color schemes.
    • "Reversed" challenges in the reboot has the race going the wrong way around one of the regular tracks.
  • Money Sink:
    • In order to get a new paint job in the original game, the player has to buy an entirely new car. And vehicle upgrades don't carry over.
    • The reboot replaces the vehicle paint job in the original with Fame points. Any winnings the player gets are automatically used to increase their Fame if their current vehicle is fully repaired and upgraded and their selected weapon is fully upgraded. Fame serves no purpose apart from increasing completion percentage and obtaining some Achievements.
  • More Dakka:
    • The first three cars in the original (Vagabond, Dervish and Sentinel) have one machine gun, while the other three (Shrieker, Wraith, Deliverator) and the non-playable Adversary's car have two machine guns. Said guns have no purchasable upgrades, but better car = nastier guns.
    • Upgrading weapons in the reboot increases their ammunition capacity and, for single-press weapons such as the Shotgun and Sniper Rifle, decreases firing delay. The former goes Up to Eleven with the Gatling Gun.
  • Nitro Boost:
    • If weapons are enabled in the original game, the player can buy the Rocket Fuel powerup before a race from the Underground Market, which replaces their regular boost for an entire race. The catch is that it damages their vehicle when it is used, although it does speed the player up much more than the regular boost. On the other hand, the player's regular boost isn't as powerful but does not damage the player. In addition, two "Hard" level tracks, Velodrome and its mirror Eidolon, have "speed strips" the player can drive on to speed themselves up.
    • In the reboot, Nitro pickups may occasionally spawn when crates lying on the track are destroyed. They activate immediately when they are picked up in the iOS and Android versions, while in the PC version they can be held in reserve and activated with a keypress. The "All Nitro" challenge gives every car permanent nitro for that particular race.
  • Pacifist Run:
    • The player may choose to disable weapons in the original, making it a normal racing game. There're no bonuses for 2% of damage or destroying all the cars, no Professional Killer, no drug dealer, and no Loan Shark; and while the player can still ram opponents, it's only useful to slow them down rather than knock them out completely. The repair bills tend to be high, but the player can focus on improving their car instead of thinking about what to buy in the Underground Market. The good thing is that the bonus for winning streak is still there.
    • Two of the reboot's challenges are "No Guns" and "Marathon". All weapons are removed in such challenges, but like the original game, the player and their opponents can still take damage from collisions or nearby exploding barrels.
  • Powerup:
    • Pickups that can be found during races in the original include cash bonuses, repair kits, Nitro recharges, extra ammunition and...mushrooms.
    • In the reboot, numerous crates are strewn around the tracks during races. They can be destroyed if they take enough damage from collisions or weapons fire and may occasionally contain a power-up. If the player still has additional tracks and/or vehicles to unlock, portions of these may be littered around the the track or looted from the wrecks of other opponents as well. Any racer may also spew a power-up upon destruction. Other pickups include cash bonuses, repair kits, Nitro boosts, and extra ammunition.
  • Professional Killer: Occasionally, a race sponsor will offer a cash reward if the player takes out a specific racer. The amount the player was rewarded with in the original game was based on the race difficulty; in the PC version of the reboot, the player's total prize earnings are doubled regardless of difficulty.
    • In the original game, the Grim Reaper himself will reward the player for destroying all the other racers.
    • The reboot gives the player extra cash for each opponent they waste.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
    • In the original game, one of the services of the underground market is for-pay sabotage. For the right price the player's highest-ranked opponent will start the next race with a damaged car (up to 50% worth, but usually somewhere around 35%). Fortunately for the player, this is the one service from the underground market the AI will never buy. However, sabotage is unavailable when the player go up against the Adversary.
    • The PC version of the reboot adds the "Shadow Man", who will occasionally call the player before a race begins and offer the player a powered-up car or weapon the player does not already have, a supply of Nitro boosts, or to sabotage an opponent. If the player accepts, he takes a cut of the player's winnings. Notably, sabotage outright destroys the target, as opposed to simply damaging them as in the original game. In addition, if the player declines the Shadow Man's offer to sabotage an opponent, the AI will take up his offer, meaning the player might actually be on the receiving end of this as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the original game:
      • Two of the drivers are called Bogus Bill and Farmer Ted.
      • From Duke Nukem (the player can select him as the player's portrait, and there are various one-liners such as "Let's Rock" and "Hail To The King, Baby") to Need for Speed.
      • If the player takes between 50% and 60% of damage during a race, (or, if the player took more, fix until reaching this range) the Repair option will invoke Duke Nukem's "Uhoh, that's gotta hurt" one-liner.
      • There's one to Star Trek after the player buy the first tire upgrade:
    "Warp 9, Captain. No problems with traction now. The finish line, she's closing fast."
  • Top-Down View: It is possible to use a chase cam in the reboot versus the fixed-map view that is carried over from the original game.
  • Vehicular Combat:
    • Any time the player plays with weapons enabled in the original game. The Grim Reaper himself hands the player a cash bonus for wiping out all three of the player's opponents by the end of the race. Don't try to take out Duke Nukem though; he's got thicker armor then anybody else save The Adversary.
    • In the reboot, the player can win a race by simply taking out all the other cars. Doing this gives a nod to the original game with the "Grim Reaper" achievement. This is also the entire point of the Duke/Tex/Death Match events, where the player squares off in a firefight to the death against Duke/Tex and his Vagabond mooks.
  • Weaponized Car:

    Tropes related to the 1996 PC game 
  • Aerith and Bob: The AI opponents get names such as (Iron) John, (Diesel) Joe, (Nasty) Nick, Clint (West), Liz (Arden, short for Elizabeth) Sam (Speed)... and also Mic (Dair), and Cher (Stone).
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Occasionally, he offers the player a mission. Pick up some drugs on the side of the track and then come in first to get a cash bonus.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • One of the few reasonable ways to beat The Adversary is to place mines in the right place so he crashes trying to avoid it every lap. This also counts for normal races.
    • In the normal tracks, the player can push opponents to the outer-centric areas. They would go on loops until they find a way to get out of it.
  • Animesque
  • Badass Driver: The Flame-Crowned Demon King of the Race - The Adversary. Or the player, if the player beat him. The other drivers to an extent, especially Duke Nukem.
  • Big Bad: The Adversary is alternately spoken of as either the demonic ruler of the "road-hell purgatory" or just a really, really nasty driver. True Tom's usually cryptical speeches about him doesn't help. He does tell the player straight out, however, that the player should be afraid of him.
  • Cool Shades: The assassination contractor wears a visor, and several drivers wear shades such as Diesel Joe, Dark Ryder and of course, Duke Nukem.
  • Critical Existence Failure: In the main race, cars do not show any damage in the race or suffer reduced performance until damage hits 100%, at which point they become flaming wrecks... which can be restored with a bit of luck at the right time, and an opponent bumping the player to touch a nearby item. However, provided that the player play with the extended GUI instead of the reduced one, the picture of the car on the left does show increasing amounts of damage, and the player can see the damage meter of other cars.
  • Determinator: True Tom sees the player as one, when he's not patronizing the player as the Young Gun.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Utopia/Complex and Holocaust/Toxic Dump tracks are the most intricate tracks of the game, but once the player knows the valid shortcuts and the quick steers, and knows how to manage Nitro usage, they become really easy, to the point where the player can even lap some cars.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: If the player ends the race in fourth place or gets lapped, they receive no bonus money collected from the race. And if they accepted the offers of The Aggressive Drug Dealer or the Professional Killer beforehand...well...
  • Easter Egg: It is possible to play as Duke Nukem simply by selecting his portrait. But if the player then goes so far as to actually enter "Duke Nukem" as their player name, the player will hear some of his various one-liners throughout the game and gain his armor.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Speed Makes Me Dizzy", "I Live To Ride" and "Petrol In My Veins".
  • Loan Shark: Once the player gets a Dervish or better, they can borrow money from him. If they don't have enough money to pay him back after 3 races, he'll take one of their upgrades. If the player don't have any upgrades, he'll damage the player's car. And if the player's car is already totalled, well... In the end, the alternatives (such as playing a race in Medium or Easy when the player has a "Hard" ranked car) often end up much cheaper than just paying the guy back.
  • MOD: The music in the game was composed by Jonne Valtonen in ScreamTracker 3 Module (.S3M) format. Valtonen is better known in some circles by his pseudonym "Purple Motion", and for being the lead composer of the now-defunct demoscene group Future Crew.
  • Made of Iron: As an AI opponent, Duke Nukem drives a dark red Deliverator that can take more damage than the Deliverator purchasable by the player and driven by other opponents.
  • Mushroom Samba: the player's screen goes all wavy if the player picks up a mushroom and the player hears a voice saying "Whoaaaaa maaaaannnnnn~" It's worth noting that this Interface Screw also affects the AI, and in some cases it affects them more than it does to human players.
  • No Damage Run: Finishing the race with 2% or less damage with weapons enabled does give the player a nice bonus, with the sponsor claiming not a scratch on it. Players can fake out a pristine-quality car by picking up enough repair powerups to reduce their vehicle's damage to the required range, but as far as the sponsor is concerned, it was untouched.
    "It was a snowball's chance in Hell. Through that Bullet Hell blitzkrieg, and not a shadow of a scratch on your paint job."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Some of the opponents in single player have names like Greg Peck, Jane Honda, Cher Stone and Clint West.
  • Oh Crap!:
    "Oh this is no good, you've been lapped."
  • Pimped-Out Car: V8 Engine, super sticky tires, body armor, spiked bumpers, land mines, rocket fuel...
    "Zillions more miles to go. That junk of yours is no juggernaut. She won't take you all the way... Evolve, improve, better, best. BUY, and be one shining perfection."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Said by The Adversary to True Tom Rhymer:
    Racer Boy, now I'm going to mow you dead.
  • Spirit Advisor: In between races, the player can read messages from one True Tom Rhymer, a racer who was slain at the hands of the Adversary after he dared to challenge him to a race. He speaks to the player from his car-coffin grave, offering the player advice with a religious reverence for cars, racing and the long road that lies before the player.
    "Things can get out of hand real speedy like, racer boy. Listen to True Tom. I tell no lies."

    Tropes related to the 2011 reboot 
  • Ascended Fan Car: The developers held a contest for fans to submit ideas for a new car. The winner was the Interceptor, a fragile hot rod that equals the Wraith and Deliverator in speed.
  • Bookends: The player starts the game fleeing from Tex Harris. In a red Shrieker. The player finishes the game fleeing from Tex Harris. In a red Shrieker.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On Medium difficulty and higher, even the player's three fastest cars, the Wraith, Deliverator and Interceptor, with maximum speed upgrades, are not as fast as the other opponents; they somehow have speed stats that are higher than the maximum top speed of the player's Wraith, Deliverator and Interceptor. This makes it a good case of both Rubber Band AI and Schizophrenic Difficulty.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The GDC 2011 trailer uses a remixed version of the music that was played in the original game when the player challenges the Adversary.
    • The promotional artwork for the game is a nod to the 1996 version's box art and loading screen.
    • In cutscenes, the player character still drives a Shrieker and the Adversary a Deliverator, albeit the latter is now the same as a normal Deliverator appearance-wise. In the final cutscene, the Adversary also crashes at the Start/Finish line just like he did in the original.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Achievements.
  • Gatling Good: The Gatling Gun, which is essentially an improved version of the player's regular gun.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The player starts the game off either getting wasted by Tex Harris and his group of Shrieker cops wielding missiles or with the game inexplicably taking control of the player's Shrieker after about a minute and bringing it to a stop, allowing Tex and his cops to swarm the player.
  • Interface Screw: The "Mixed" challenge locks the player to a certain view of the map regardless of whether Chase Cam is enabled or not. To make things worse, the camera rotates during the race, and the game's directional controls change such that the player steers towards the edge of the screen where they want their vehicle to go, as opposed to steering based on where their vehicle is facing.
  • Jerk Ass: Tex, the cop who busted the player and forced them to enter the race. He makes it clear from the start that he doesn't like the player very much. He even enters the harder races himself on occasion, where he is a big pain to out-race and an even bigger one to kill.
  • Laser Sight: A new addition. In the iOS and Android versions, it takes up the slot that would otherwise be occupied by the spiked bumpers, but makes it easier to aim some sub-weapons.
  • Lighter and Softer: The reboot lacks the, pedestrians, Loan Shark, steroid pusher, Mushroom Samba, and supernatural elements like the Grim Reaper, True Tom Rhymer and the possibly demonic nature of The Adversary. The player is a street racer hauled in on reckless driving charges, but since they managed to elude Tex long enough due to their insane driving skills, he decides to use them to get at the Adversary, who is another street racer.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Striker fires a spread of seeking missiles, with one more missile added to each shot per upgrade level.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Picking up ammo when the player's sub-weapon is already full will cause its next shot to be stronger or more accurate. The Gatling, for example, rapid-fires a stream of bullets, and the Flamer aims at and burns nearby opponents for about 5 seconds.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The first secondary weapon the player unlock, and it is very, very potent at close range.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Eureka, unlocked by collecting parts as one would do to unlock a new car. It is longer than some of the other tracks and the player slides around a bit due to the ice.
  • Trailers: The GDC 2011 trailer, which concludes with a Blipvert of gameplay footage, as well as images of not only Duke Nukem, but the Mighty Eagle too.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Implied at the ending.
    Cop: "He's the next Adversary."

Race over!