All Colin McRae Rally games reviewed

Colin McRae Rally 3 is one of the first non-child video games I remember. You can imagine a 7-year-old me going full throttle with Focus in Australia SS1, crashing all the time. After all these years, I decided to finally beat this series and briefly review each game.
List is incomplete, entries will be added after beating each game.

Colin McRae Rally

Played on: Windows ≥ 7? Not sure

First game in the series. I don't remember much from this game since I'm typing this while beating 2005. What I do remember is driving school, which is always a bit annoying in every racing game, and trees not being transparent, which is very likely an issue with modern systems.
I listened to the game theme while writing this and it's a good track, but I have no recollection of listening to it before.

Colin McRae Rally 2.0

Played on: Windows 98, 2000, 10, Wine

First of all, people remember the intro video with its iconic music. I like it as well, but, probably because of the childhood bias, it isn't my favourite. I enjoy the menu and service zone music.
Most importantly, this game is actually challenging. When I tried my best on expert in Finland, I was losing to AI. As such, I'll need to return to this game someday.

Colin McRae Rally 3

Played on: Windows XP

Here it is: the childhood game™. I love the music track from menu (which is actually the only music in the entire game). The cutscenes, while repetitive, are a nice addition, same for the service zone that feels like you're actually there. The tank, unlockable with a code, is a silly gimmick that I find quite funny.
What I clearly dislike is not having a car choice in championship mode, which makes me not drive any other vehicle more than once. The championship itself caused me a few restarts in the last year to get the perfect score, but it wasn't anything too bad.
I haven't mentioned co-drivers yet. Nicky Grist is fantastic in every game and I won't repeat myself in every other title. Polish co-driver, ✝ Janusz Kulig, is a pretty nice voice, but I have no idea why he screams when the road changes to tarmac XD

Colin McRae Rally 04

Played on: Windows XP

This game is a downgrade in terms of atmosphere. All the cutscenes from 3 are gone, service zone is your car colored with some staff and stuff colourless as if it isn't there. Speedometer is only in MPH for some dumb reason, thankfully that was a one-time goof.
However, there are also some good things: there are now 6 (or rather 4, 2 of which twice) championship series, so you now know how 6 cars drive instead of just one. During these series, you'll try some challenges like braking in a certain zone or destroying your suspension.
What is not as good is that this game, on all difficulties, is too easy for me. I need to crash 3 or 4 times during a stage in order not to finish first, I can easily get -20s on a 3-minute stage.
In Polish version, there are six voices. Both Nicky Grist and Derek Ringer are available. Derek is very clearly Scottish, his accent distracts me completely.
As for Polish voices, one of them is a joke voice and gets boring after some time. "Default Pilot" (or rather Jarosław Boberek) screams too much in my opinion. Martyna Wojciechowska is fine, but Krzysztof Hołowczyc, the legend of car GPSes, takes the number one spot for me.

Colin McRae Rally 2005

Played on: Wine

2005 annoys me.
On one hand, there are many important improvements:

On the other hand, this game needed some more development time:

I mentioned being able to drive all the cars during the career mode, here are the notable ones, mostly negatively:

For some reason, championship mode has only 6 rallies out of 9 and each has 6 SSs out of 8. Quite a strange decision in my opinion, especially compared to 3.
As for the voices, this time my favourite Polish voice is "Polish Pilot" (again, Jarosław Boberek), he doesn't scream in this game. Leszek Kuzaj is a bit too enthusiastic in the USA stages. The joke voice this time is called "The real blondie…" 2004 was a different time.
For unknown reasons, Kuzaj and Boberek don't mention splits in instructions while Grist and blondie of all co-drivers do.

Colin McRae: DiRT

Played on: Windows 10

With the exception of DiRT 3, I haven't played the games starting with this one before writing this.
I played with Visual Overhaul Mod except for Sim-Lite.
I started with the Polish version, but patches make the UI in English. This wasn't an issue for me as you can see by the language this text. I changed to full English anyway because I couldn't stand the Polish narrator.
The most-left map, usually the first player sees, is empty and looks like a downgrade, even though it was made for the next generation of consoles. Once you get into the better tracks, you can feel the visual upgrades. The countries that appeared in previous games don't look exactly the same as before. When you take a HUD-less screenshot of any track from a PS2 Colin, you can immediately tell what country it is just by looking at the road for example. Vegetation seems more realistic. Cockpits have working HUDs now and I love playing with that camera.
Damage system got some improvements. Now the game shows you when a part of your car has ≤25% durability left and, when you pause, you can check what's broken in your vehicle. In the service zone, you can now partially repair parts. Gone are the days of 14-minute parts that you can't repair at all because there's only 8 minutes left. Unlike the previous games, that had only (super) special stages, this game expands beyond simply rally (hence it was removed from the title). We have:

Except for CORR, I enjoy all of these categories and they provide more variety to the game.
OpenAL sound has some volume problems in crossovers, mostly noticeable when both sides of a track cross. Co-pilot this time is… honestly I don't even know who, manual lists a couple of people who made some voice lines. He's alright, but I miss Nicky. It's a bit annoying that the order is now reverse, it used to be "6 right," now it's "right 6;" he forgot what a hairpin is. There's a good change about him, though: the corners are announced way earlier than in previous games, so you won't get punished for being too fast.

Ranking so far

3 > 4 > 2.0 > 2005 > 1

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