The original Death Rally was developed by Remedy Games and released in 1996 on PC. My first introduction to the game was a demo that was included with Duke Nukem 3D. In 2011, the game returned on iOS and Android. Having owned that version, was pretty responsive, was a blast, and looked great doing it. Now the game has made its way back to PCs.
Death Rally is a game of replayability. Grinding is a bit harsh to say about how to earn money to upgrade and unlock items, but you have to replay races in order to do so. Once a vehicle is fully upgraded, there’s really nothing left to do, so you move on to the next one. Along the way you are shooting enemies to death and picking up weapon parts, car parts, and even track parts. Once they are all collected, then it unlocks the corresponding item.
There is a story, but the beats are only shown to you after a certain amount of gameplay. Basically you’re an outlaw captured by police to bring down killers in the “Death Rally”. Getting there requires playing several variants of races such as regular races, head-to-head, one round (one lap), deathmatches (arenas) across various difficulties. Failure to complete the objective will result in a deduction of funds from your total payout.
Multiplayer is available, but is a weird toggle ON/OFF in the menu. Again, ripped from the mobile versions that could have used an update in the UI. Matchmaking seems quick and easy and supports the modes from singleplayer. However, during the review process I was unable to find a game.
Death Rally is clearly a direct port from the mobile version. The graphics can run resolutions such as 1920×1080 and there are no advanced options. While the framerate is a solid 60+fps regardless of the action, the textures really suffer and look bad in spots. The car detail and the weapon effects look great. The art style feels reminiscent of the original game. Don’t feel bad if you think you’re playing in a full screen mobile emulator.
The best thing the game has going for it, is the control options. The game supports gamepads like the Xbox 360 controller and keyboard play. I found the keyboard to be more responsive (how you had to play the original) over the controller. Either one is far better than a touch screen for navigation.
Death Rally is still the game you remember from years ago. If this is your first venture into the series, the better controls and higher resolutions and fluid framerate are more than enough reasons to purchase it on Steam. Not to mention it won’t kill your cellphone battery to play at length. The game is full of mayhem, chaos, and destruction and worthy of a spot in your library.