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Unirally
(I suppose French would be good for reading French manuals.)

//introduction

Imagine a cross between Sonic, any racing game and Tony Hawk's Pro Skateboarding. Maybe that's a bit too difficult to imagine. Maybe that doesn't really explain anything to you.

So maybe you should forget what I just said.

//the basic rules

Imagine a game featuring unicycles. These unicycles race through courses, which are all viewed from a side-on perspective. There is no accelerator - you simply press left or right to accelerate in those directions.

However, one little rule has been thrown in, which affects the game significantly. Stunts give speed boosts.

//stunts

Occasionally, you will find yourself airborne for a short time after speeding off a ramp. If you want to win, you should use this time to perform rolls, flips, twists, z-flips or table-tops to attain a speed boost after landing correctly. The more stunts you perform, the more of a speed boost you get, and it can help to combine stunts.

Whilst speeding along a straight section of track, you can jump and then use the short time you are in the air to perform a single roll or twist. When the track flips you upside down, you can quickly perform a trick, correcting yourself for the landing. The key to winning is in performing as many tricks as you can during the race without wiping out (landing wrongly).

//tracks

To help you, the tracks are colour-coded to give you an idea of what's ahead. Green and blue indicates that you can perform some tricks, purple and blue warns you not to do tricks, yellow indicates a shortcut and so on.

The track takes you on loop-the-loops, corkscrews, and throws a lot of wiggles, curves, and turns your way. After the first track, a straight section rarely occurs, apart from at the start and finishing sections.

Occasionally, an orangey section appears, indicating that you must jump over a section of sticky goo. Jumping on the purple and blue sections will normally result in you landing badly on a wiggly bit, or falling onto a corkscrew and having to travel back, losing you precious time.

//stunt course(or whatever they're called - my manual isn't English)

In each tour, there is 1 stunt course where instead of racing against another unicycle, you must gain a certain number of points by doing tricks. Performing the same trick gives you progressively less points, and this - along with the small number of tricks - gives this mode a certain simplistic charm. By the time you've collected 8 gold medals, you'll be used to planning out your run in minute detail and performing multiple tricks simultaneously.

//multiplayer options

There are 3 multiplayer modes - 2-player, VS and league. When playing a 2-player game, the races or stunt courses you wish to compete in are selected 1 by 1. Each course is played with a horizontally split screen. After each game, a tally of each player's wins and losses is displayed. The game finishes when one or both of the players simply decides to play no longer.

The VS mode works in a winner stays on fashion.

Leagues are started by selecting the competing players, who then go on to play games against each other. A league can last for half an hour, or over a year, depending on the players' dispositions. A running tally of points is shown, along with the number of games played, and the pairings are forced to keep it fair.

//options

Apart from choosing which colour unicycle you make your own, there is little in the way of options. You may tackle available courses in any order you wish though and the game really needs no customisation, since it is already so well refined.

A great number of high scores are saved. The top 3 times (or number of points) are saved for each course and also shown are the player records, which show the number of games played, wins, losses, fails and total number of points. Overall scores show such statistics as the best and worst win percentage, score, number of games played and so on.

//sound

The music is made up of screaming guitar noises. The sound effects are employed whenever tricks are completed, the brakes are used, a comparison of times is made or a player wipes out. These are hard-to-describe noises, but can perhaps be described as simple beeps and record-scratching-type noises.

//graphics

The graphics are simplistic, but there is no slowdown, or any other such problems. Backgrounds are made up of simple repeating tiles and the tracks are merely thick lines. The whole thing moves along at a fair pace though.

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how far I got: Fully completed the game. (All 9 courses.)

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rating : 5

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I find it rather distressing that whilst many games such as Megaman X2 are highly reccommended on GameFAQs, reading a reccomendation for Unirally is a rare occurence.

The game is a fresh twist on the racing genre, and its spirit has never been recaptured since.

Having to jump over gaps and sticky bits makes it feel like a zany speeded-up version of Sonic, a feeling strengthened by the side-on viewpoint and the track design (that includes corkscrews, loops and multiple routes).

Unlike the stunts in Waverace 64, which merely exist for the purposes of showing off, the stunts are integral to Unirally and a key part of winning is working out how to fit in the maximum number of stunts as you race around the tracks. The speed boosts you gain by performing stunts are offset by the speed you can lose by landing badly. The planning out of which stunts you are going to perform and where brings an element of strategy to the mix and performing the maximum number of stunts means taking some serious risks at times.

The stunt courses require even more planning and perfect execution. The small number of tricks, coupled with the diminishing number of points, is what necessiates this. At times, the precision and perfection called for is rather frustrating - mainly when attempting the gold stunt courses - but this also means that there is a greater sense of achievement when you actually manage to get a gold medal.

The 9th course (Hunter) is rather disappointing to be honest, mainly due to the lack of Bronze/Silver skill levels. When I reached the Hunter course, I was expecting a bronze level with maybe the difficulty of a typical silver and so on. I was expecting at least another evening to be needed to finish the game. Instead, I found the Hunter course to be rather easy in comparison and it was defeated within half an hour.

Still, expect to find the later challenges rather discouraging. Chances are that you'll perhaps get so far, only to find a challenge virtually impossible. Chances are that you may well give up. Rest assured though that you will return. After a few years, you may even finish the game...

Overall, this is great stuff. The high difficulty level of later challenges will ensure that you continue to play this for a long time indeed and the concept remains unique and enjoyable to this day. A 2-player game between similarly skilled players is a memorable experience. Unirally is perhaps one of the few 'must-haves' for the Snes.

 

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Unirally

Zoop

 

Snes stuff

T-o-P

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