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An obscure but beloved PlayStation 1 racing game from 1997, Rally Cross, has recently been added to the PS Plus Classics catalog. While not as well-remembered as other titles like Jet Moto 2 or R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Rally Cross stands out for its fun physics, tight analog controls, and memorable 4-player split-screen mode. Despite running at a low frame rate, the multiplayer experience is described as enjoyable and nostalgic, especially when playing with friends.

Rally Cross, often considered Sony’s counterpart to Sega Rally, features six unique tracks and unlicensed cars. The gritty and less polished feel of the game gives it a slight edge, according to fans. The racing gameplay is fast-paced, often hilarious due to the floaty physics engine, and allows players to flip their cars upside down and roll them over using the shoulder buttons. This unique feature, along with the game’s analog control support, sets Rally Cross apart from other racing games of its time.

The game was released around the same time as Sony’s Dual Analog gamepad, which significantly improved the analog controls of Rally Cross and provided a more immersive gaming experience. Even without vibration feedback in the US variant, the analog control greatly enhanced the gameplay. Players could later enjoy the vibration feature with the release of the DualShock controller in 1998, offering a retrofitted experience for those revisiting the game.

The author expresses a deep connection to Rally Cross, having interviewed members of the original development team for a magazine feature in 2017. This personal investment in the game and its history highlights the impact it had on players at the time of its release. Despite its age, Rally Cross still holds up well today and provides an enjoyable experience for those looking to relive the nostalgia of early PlayStation gaming. The addition of trophies for achievements adds an extra layer of excitement for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Overall, Rally Cross remains a hidden gem in PlayStation’s early days, offering a unique and enjoyable racing experience. The author hopes that the release of the first game in the Classics catalog will pave the way for a sequel, Rally Cross 2, although they believe it may not live up to the original. The distinctive features of Rally Cross, such as the four-player split-screen mode and quirky physics engine, continue to make it a standout title for fans of classic racing games. Despite its age, Rally Cross still manages to provide an entertaining and nostalgic gaming experience for players of all ages.

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