Safari Rally
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  • SNK
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  • Action - General, Other
  • 1979
  • 1-2
  • high score save
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7  |  Weird, But Fun Start For The SNK Company
Darryl B. , 9/10/2005 1:48:47 PM
Wow, there's all kinds of oddness going on with this one here.

First off, this is another review in a series that I'm doing of when a friend sent me a bunch of ROMs, plus this is also apparently THE very first game the classic company SNK made. True, it's not original, but it did put on a few new spins (pardon the racing pun) on the old dot-eating/car game genre (which this is in pretty good company with Dodgem, Space Race, Head On [the original one, not the one that came out several years later of the same name that was closer to being a regular racing game, rather than a "run over the dots" game], etc.).

Like I inferred, this is another one of the old games where you control a car that runs over dots; however, one of the new wrinkles is that there are several different sized dots (actually, they're supposed to be coins, but I still think of them as dots): the bigger, the more points they're worth (yep, size matters once again in yet another game). Occasionally a row of dots will turn into flags, although several rocks always appear right in front of that row as well; it won't destroy the car that you control in the game, but it will cause it to spin for a few seconds, should you come into contact with the rocks, which could give the computer car (who's always trying to ram into you) an ample chance to smack you Head On (har, another racing/game pun!) and cause you to lose one of your cars that you have in reserve.

The game also had good graphics for the time, having a bit of scenery on the sides on the race courses, being a bunch of trees and a house, although the scenery repeats itself in no time flat, but at least an effort was made to make the game look a bit different than the scores (another pun, etc.) of the other car-eat-dot games that were already out there.

However, THE biggest difference in this game is that the screen scrolled: I don't know how many screens there are if they were to be stacked one on top of the other, although I'm going to guess three.

This was a nice change of pace (pun again, har har) from all the other car/dot games, which made it a bit of a challenge to finish running over all the dots on just the first screen, especially since the A. I. for the computer car is not only pretty decent, but after a while, it starts speeding up as well. Sure, you've got the usual turbo speed button like probably all of the other dot munching car games that were ever made as well, but the longer you hold down that button, the harder it'll be to get into the lane(s) that you want to finish up all the dots and to dodge another object (the computer car) that's also racing towards you at a high rate of speed ("granny"-type Sunday drivers need not apply here).

And, not only that, but animals also appear for you to run over as well! Yep, perfect for your racing and running over pleasure, you get giant snakes (BOY those things are huge!) and lions, just as long as you don't hit their tails, or else that'll cost you a car (hit them either at their undersides [boy, this is sounding sick now, but they just disappear when you hit them, except for their point value appearing] or smack into their heads).

Normally, I wouldn't rate a rip-off so highly, although just the scrolling screens alone really add to this game. I'm barely giving Safari Rally a 7, though, since, unfortunately, the game's pretty hard due to the computer car's A. I., as it's pretty difficult in not only just trying to clear TWO entire screens, but also in no time at all, there are TWO computer cars appearing on the track(s). Good luck trying to get any further than that!

Still, there were quite a few interesting twists in this one, and it's just as interesting to see how SNK got their start. (Taito also reportedly came out with a version of this game a year later, which was in color.) 7/10

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