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Video Game / DiRT

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"Who needs roads when there's DiRT!?"

DiRT is a Spinoff of Codemasters' popular Colin McRae Rally series of games based around off-road racing, as the title implies.

Colin McRae: DiRT was first released in 2007 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. DiRT possesses a wide variety of vehicles to choose from; these range from the regular 2WD and 4WD rally car classes, to massive big rigs and rally raid trucks.

DiRT 2 employed an 'extreme sports' style, with fluid, first person menus set in vibrant settings, as well as a heavy emphasis on pleasing the fans and becoming a star. In addition, the trophy trucks and buggies were the highlight of the game, with traditional rally races taking a backseat. With the success of Ken Block's Gymkhana videos supposedly generating buzz in rally interest, he and several other rally stars were roped in to add a human element, whilst acting as consultants on how the cars handle.


DiRT 3 set out to go back in the more simplistic style route of DiRT, all the while retaining features which made DiRT 2 stand out. Rally took center stage again, yet kept the Trailblazer and Landrush (trophy trucks and buggies) from DiRT 2 to keep the variety. Ken Block again helped with vehicle and handling consulting, as well as help add a much-requested Gymkhana mode.

DiRT Showdown was released on May of 2012. The game is more arcade-y than its predecessors, putting more focus on Gymkhana and putting in more modes, such as demolition derbies and party games. It was made into an actual Arcade Game by Sega in 2014, simply titled Showdown.

DiRT Rally went back to the series' roots, with a far more realistic handling model and a heavy focus on traditional rally. The game entered Steam's Early Access in April 2015. The full release came out on 7th of December in the same year through Steam and it was released for both PC and eighth-gen consoles on April 5, 2016.


DiRT 4 was announced on January 26th, 2017. Released in June, it features a random stage generator called Your Stage, as well as more officially licenced rallycross circuits and a new playground/driving school area called Dirtfish Rally School, based on the real-world rally school of the same name. The game marks the comeback of Landrush, and there are two handling models, one more arcade-y and akin to DiRT 3, and the other more simulation-oriented and closer to DiRT Rally. Nicky Grist also returned to provide his co-driving voice, after his absence since the original DiRT.

Dirt Rally 2.0 was announced on September 26th, 2018. The game is going to feature rally courses from Poland, Spain, Australia, New Zeland and United States as well as 8 official tracks from FIA World Rallycross Championship. The game was released on Febuary 26th, 2019, and featured former co-driver Phil Mills as he lent his voice for the game.

Not to be confused with the short-lived FX Network series.

The games provide examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The series borrows the Flashback mechanic from another Codemasters' racing series, GRiD since DiRT 2.
    • The feature is currently not present in DIRT Rally and DiRT 4, though.
  • Car Fu:
    • Rallycross races in all DiRT games. Truth in Television however, as rallycross usually has the drivers swapping paint.
    • The whole point of DiRT Showdown.
  • Continuity Nod: Take a close look at the laptop in your trailer in DiRT 2. It's playing the original DiRT!
  • Cool Car: Even the scrappy 2WD hot hatches featured throughout all of the Colin McRae series are highly and finely tuned dirt-slinging machines.
  • Cultural Translation - Many of the old-school Colin McRae Rally fans complained about the "Americanness" of the DiRT installments, especially the second one.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Group B cars are hard to tame especially with DiRT Rally's physics like in real life, with enough experience they are a blast to rally around with and are hands down the fastest cars in the game.
  • Elite Tweak: So many settings to change in the first DiRT...
    • So does DiRT Rally.
  • Fauxrrari: While all of the games have had licensed vehicles, the beat-up derby vehicles in Showdown marks the first instance in the series where fictional cars based on real-world models are used. Licensed vehicles return for the arena modes, though.
  • Golden Snitch: DiRT Showdown's "Knock-Out" and "Rampage" modes both dish out double points during the final 30 seconds of a round, making it possible to come from behind to win.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels:
    • In the first DiRT;
      • Pro (hardest)
      • Pro-Am
      • Amateur
      • Clubman (easiest difficulty with Terminal Damage)
      • Rookie
    • In DiRT 4;
      • Competent
      • Challenging
      • Demanding
      • Tough
      • Brutal
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Subaru Impreza Group N in DiRT2 is this; a car that can easily take the top three in any of the "interchangeable disciplines" (Trailblazer/Rally/Rallycross), but isn't powerful enough to really dominate any one discipline.
  • Nintendo Hard: DiRT Rally is so very much this. Even in the 60's Open division, the league the player starts in, it takes both crash-free and quick driving to consistently win stages, never mind rallies. More modern and faster classes, like Group B and the 2010's category aren't any easier.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Having a DiRT 1 save game gives you the No Fear Gold paintjob for the Subaru Impreza Group N in DiRT 2, the same paint scheme McRae used in the 2006 X Games.
    • Also, if you have a GRiD save game, and you'll be rewarded with a Ravenwest livery for the said Impreza too.
    • Owning a save game of Overlord 2 will unlock you a Overlord Minion dashboard toy.
  • Plot Coupon: After every world tour or X Games you complete, all of your cars will have a sticker showing your achievement on the dashboard.
  • Product Placement:
    • Play DiRT 2 for a few minutes, and then start wondering why you suddenly want a pair of DC Shoes, some Superdry gear, a pair of Oakleys and a 6-pack of Monster Energy. This is actually one of the few things the game got flak for in many of the reviews. DiRT 3 was more subtle about it.
    • DiRT Showdown lives off of this.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The whole point of Your Stage.
  • Revisiting the Roots: DiRT Rally was deliberately developed as a technically up-to-date, no-nonsense Nintendo Hard rally simulation game, in the vein of the Colin McRae Rally series and once-rival titles such as Richard Burns Rally. Codemasters kept the game's existence under wraps until the last minute, in order to give fans of their older rally titles a real surprise. Given the positive reception of the game, it seems to have paid off.
  • Scenery Porn: The DiRT series features some of the best PC and console graphics ever put to screen. From huge rallycross circuits (sometimes) based on stadiums (such as the real life Los Angeles Coliseum!), to the epic rally stages of Finland, Kenya, and even Monaco, Codemasters really knows what they do in graphics.
    • Even better are the main menus. DiRT 1 has a minimalistic menu, DiRT 2 had the menu options scattered around a huge arena scenario, DiRT 3 went back to the roots, while Showdown had a crossover between 2 and 3's menus. DiRT Rally has also went the same route as 1 and 3.
  • Shout-Out / In Memoriam: To real-life driver Colin McRae, who did a lot of the consulting on car handling for earlier games.
  • Truth in Television: Said Peugeot 307 rally car is also very fragile in Real Life.


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