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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 (who later went on to make Max Payne and Alan Wake) 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. You 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 you can even run over the idiots who are standing by the side of the track to watch the race. You shouldn't do that intentionally though, as it slows you down and damages your 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 you want to play multiplayer, you'll have to use the DOS version and make use of DOSBox's IPX over TCP/IP emulation.

Death Rally returned for iOS on March 31st, 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 of 2012. It lacks the chase cam, but invokes Bribing Your Way to Victory by allowing you to purchase new weapons, cars, tracks and special Power Ups for real money.

A PC version of the iOS app was released via Steam on August 3rd, 2012. It features updated graphics, a new track and paintjobs, and additional features such as the ability to hold nitro powerups in reserve, Coop Multiplayer and the "shadow man".

Get ready to go!

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    Tropes related with the 1996 PC game 
  • Aerith and Bob: You 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 you a mission. Pick up some drugs on the side of the track and then come in first, and 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, you can push your rivals to the outer centric areas. They would go on loops until they find a way to get out of it.
  • A.K.A.-47: Except with cars instead of guns. The Vagabond (Volkswagen Beetle), Shrieker (Pontiac Trans-Am), and Wraith (Porsche 911) are all recognizable as real cars, and the Deliverator is based on the Mach 5.
  • Alliterative Name: Bogus Bill, Mad Mac, Matt Miler, Motor Mary, Nasty Nick, Sam Speed and Suzy Stock.
  • Animesque
  • Awesome McCoolname: Iron John and Dark Ryder
  • A Winner Is You: Beating the game in the freeware version just takes you to the high score screen. In the original DOS version, beating the Adversary got you a cutscene, at least.
  • Badass Driver: The Flame-Crowned Demon King of the Race - The Adversary. Or you, if you 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 you straight out, however, that you should be afraid of him.
  • Car Fu: You burn through your ammo pretty quick, so your other primary weapon is ramming the opposing cars into obstacles, mines, innocent bystanders, and each other.
  • Cool Car:
    • The Deliverator, the so-called "Prince of the road", visually inspired by the Mach 5. And, to a lesser extent, it also bears a visual resemblance to the real life Alfa Romeo 33.2.
    "Cybernetic roadwarrior, your car is your body. And this is not just any body, it is some body."
    • The unplayable Adversary's car, a modified Deliverator with a huge jet engine hanging off the back.
  • Cool Shades: The assassination contractor wears a Cool 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 you to touch a nearby item. However, provided that you 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 you can see the damage meter of other cars.
  • Determinator: True Tom sees you as one, when he's not patronizing you as the Young Gun.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Utopia/Complex and Holocaust/Toxic Dump tracks are the most intrincate tracks of the game, once you know the valid shortcuts and the quick steers, and know how to manage the Nitro, they become really easy, to the point of even lapping one/some cars.
  • Driving Game
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: If you end the race in fourth place or being lapped, you receive no bonus money collected from the race. And if you've accepted the offers of The Aggressive Drug Dealer or the Professional Killer... well...
  • Easter Egg: It's possible to play as Duke Nukem simply by selecting his portrait. But if you then go so far as to type "Duke Nukem" as your player name, you will hear some of his various one-liners throughout the game, and gain his armor.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The cars burst into flames when destroyed. These wrecks remain on the track as obstacles for the duration of the race. Oddly enough, it is possible for a car to come Back from the Dead if nudged into a repair powerup.
  • Guest Driver: Duke Nukem. Hail to the king, baby.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Speed Makes Me Dizzy", "I Live To Ride" and "Petrol In My Veins".
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Available from the Underground Market. There is little that causes more damage, and nothing that knocks someone off course faster.
  • Loan Shark: Once you get a Dervish or better, you can borrow money from him. If you don't have enough money to pay him back after 3 races, he'll take one of your upgrades. If you don't have any upgrades, he'll damage your car. And if your car is already totaled, well... In the end, the alternatives (such as playing a race in Medium or Easy when you have a "Hard" ranked car) often end up much cheaper than just paying the guy back.
  • Mirror World: Half of the game's tracks are simply mirrored from the other half, with alternate color schemes.
  • MOD Music
  • Money Sink: In order to get a new paint job, you have to buy an entirely new car. And seeing how upgrades don't carry over...
  • More Dakka: The first three cars (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.
  • Mushroom Samba: Your screen goes all wavy if you pick up a mushroom and you hear a voice saying "Whoa, man." It's worth noting that this Interface Screw also affects the AI, and in some cases it's worse against them than it does to human players.
  • No Damage Run: Finishing the race with 2% or less damage with weapons enabled does give you a nice bonus, with the sponsor claiming not a scratch on it. Players can fake out a pristine-quality car by using repair pickups, but as far as the sponsor is concerned, it was untouched.
    "It was a snowball's chance in hell, but through that Bullet Hell blitzkrieg, and not a shadow of a scratch on your car."
  • Nitro Boost: If playing with weapons on, you can buy the Rocket Fuel powerup before a race from the Underground Market. The catch is that it damages your car while you use it, although it does speed you up a fair bit. Your regular boost isn't as powerful but doesn't damage you, regenerates, and is always equipped. In addition, two "Hard" level tracks, Velodrome and its mirror Eidolon, have "speed strips" you can drive on to speed yourself up.
  • 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."
  • Pacifist Run: You may choose to disable weapons for the career, 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 you can still ram opponents, it's only useful to slow them down rather than knock them out. The repair bills tend to be high, but you can focus on improving your car instead of thinking which things you can buy in the Underground Market. The good thing is that the bonus for winning streak is still there.
  • 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."
  • Power-Up: Pickups that can be found during races include cash bonuses, repair kits, boost fuel, extra ammunition and... mushrooms.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Said by The Adversary to the True Tom Rhymer:
    Racer Boy, now I'm going to mow you dead.
  • Professional Killer: Occasionally, a race sponsor will offer a cash reward if you take out a specific car. However, another race sponsor will give a cash bonus if you take out all three other cars in the race.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: One of the services of the underground market is for-pay sabotage. For the right price your highest-ranked opponent will start the next race with a damaged car (up to 50% worth, but usually somewhere around 35%). Fortunately for you, this is the one service from the underground market the AI will never buy. However, sabotage is unavailable when you go up against the Adversary.
  • Shout-Out: From Duke Nukem (you can select him as your portrait, and there are various one-liners such as "Let's Rock" and "Hail To The King, Baby") to Need for Speed.
    • There's one to Star Trek after you buy the first tire upgrade:
    "Warp 9, Captain. No problems with traction now. The finish line, she's closing fast."
    • If you take between 50% and 60% of damage during a race, (or, if you took more, fix until reaching this range) the Repair option will invoke Duke Nukem's "Uhoh, that's gotta hurt" one-liner.
  • Spirit Advisor: In between races, you 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 you from his car-coffin grave, offering you advice with a religious reverence for cars, racing and the long road that lies before you.
    "Things can get out of hand real speedy like, racer boy. Listen to True Tom. I tell no lies."
  • Top-Down View
  • Vehicular Combat: Any time you play with weapons on. The Grim Reaper himself hands you a cash bonus for wiping out all three of your opponents by the end of the race. Don't try to take out Duke Nukem though, he's got thicker armor then anybody save The Adversary.
  • Weaponized Car: Every car comes equipped with machine guns, and you can upgrade to mines and spiked bumpers.

    Tropes related with the 2011 i OS game 
Bear in mind that tropes of the PC game may apply here as well.
  • A.K.A.-47: Except with cars instead of guns. The Dervish is a Hummer H3 and the Shrieker is a Mustang.
  • 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 Deliverator in speed.
  • Book Ends: You start the game fleeing from Tex Harris. In a red Shrieker. You finish the game fleeing from Tex Harris. In a red Shrieker.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On Medium difficulty and higher, even your two fastest cars, the Deliverator and the Interceptor, with max upgraded speed, aren't as fast as the other opponents; your opponents somehow have speed stats that are higher than your two cars' maximum top speed stats. This makes it a good case of both Rubber Band A.I. and Schizophrenic Difficulty.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The GDC 2011 trailer uses a remixed version of the music that was played in the original game when you challenge 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 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.
  • Cool Car: The Deliverator returns, with a new design reminiscent of the "New Adventures" Mach 5. The Wraith made a return in an update, also sporting a new design.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Achievements.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted, bits and pieces visibly fly off of damaged cars.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The cars outright explode, leaving a blackened, burnt wreck behind. These wrecks remain on the track as obstacles for the duration of the race.
  • Gatling Good: In the 2011 version. It essentially functions as an improved machine gun.
  • Guest Driver: Duke Nukem, John Gore, Barry Wheeler, and Mighty Eagle. There's a guest car, too: The Mighty Foot! In keeping with Duke's past appearance, the Foot has more armor upgrades then even the Deliverator. 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".
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: You start 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 your Shrieker after about a minute and bringing it to a stop, allowing Tex and his cops to swarm you.
  • Jerk Ass: Tex, the cop who busted you and forced you to enter the race. He makes it clear from the start that he doesn't like you very much. He even enters the race himself, where he is a big pain to take out and a bigger one to outrace.
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Available from the main shop. There is little that causes more damage, and nothing that knocks someone off course faster.
  • Laser Sight: A new addition. It takes up the slot that would otherwise be occupied by spiked bumpers, but makes it easier to aim some sub-weapons.
  • Lighter and Softer: The 2011 game lacks the speedbu- er, pedestrians, Loan Shark, steroid pusher, and supernatural elements like the Grim Reaper, True Tom Rhymer and the possibly demonic nature of The Adversary. You're a street racer hauled in on reckless driving charges, but since you managed to elude Tex long enough due to your insane driving skills, he decides to use you to get at the Adversary, who is another street racer.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Striker weapon fires a spread of seeking missiles, with one more missile added to each shot per upgrade level.
  • Mirror World: Reversed tracks return, as well as ones where you're locked into a certain view of the map, regardless of whether you use the chase cam.
  • Money Sink: Averted this time around, you can freely swap between a few predefined color-and-symbol schemes for each car.
  • More Dakka: Upgrading weapons gives you a higher ammo capacity. This goes Up to Eleven with the Gatling gun.
  • Nitro Boost: Nitro pickups activate 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 the duration of the event.
  • Power-Up: Pickups that can be found during races include cash bonuses, repair kits, boost fuel, and extra ammunition.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Picking up ammo when your 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The PC version adds the "Shadow Man", who will occasionally call you before a race begins and offer you a powered-up car or weapon you don't already have, or to sabotage an opposing car. If you accept, he takes a cut of your winnings. Notably, sabotage outright destroys one of your opponents, as opposed to simply damaging them as in the original game.
  • Short Range Shotgun: The first secondary weapon you unlock, and it is very, very potent at close range.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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 you slide around a bit due to the ice.
  • Top-Down View: Though it's possible to use a chase cam, versus the fixed-map carried over from the original game.
  • 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.
  • Vehicular Combat: Yup. You 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 the entire point of the Duke/Tex Match events, where you compete against them to destroy the most Vagabonds, though destroying them also counts- and prevents them from getting kills while they wait to respawn.
  • Weaponized Car: Every car has a machine gun as before, but there are now a wide variety of sub-weapons to choose from, including the mines and spiked bumpers from the first game. The spiked bumpers can be equipped in tandem with most other sub-weapons. In the PC version, you can equip mines, spikes, the laser sight AND any other sub-weapon.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Implied at the ending.
    Cop: "He's the next Adversary."

Race over!
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alternative title(s): Death Rally
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