Rally-X is a maze and driving video arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1980. In the game, the player controls a blue racecar that must collect all of the yellow flags in each stage, while avoiding red enemy cars and rocks. A radar is displayed at the right of the screen, showing the location of the player, remaining flags and enemies, alongside a fuel meter that gradually depletes as the stage progresses. Enemy cars can be stunned by releasing smoke screens, which will deplete the fuel meter. It was licensed out to Midway Games for released in North America. It ran on the Namco Pac-Man arcade board.
Rally-X was one of Namco's first video games to be exported outside Japan, due to their business relations with Midway. It was presented at the Amusement Machine Operator's Union of America trade show in North America, alongside Namco's own Pac-Man and William's Defender. Despite rumors that executives claimed Rally-X would be the most successful, Namco's marketing team heavily promoted the game during its test run, where it would gain just as much praise as Pac-Man.
Despite sales being lower than anticipated, Rally-X was given a positive reception for standing out amidst other games of its genre. The only contemporary home port of the game was a release for the MSX in Japan. Rally-X would be followed with several sequels and releases on Namco video game collections for other platforms, and is cited as an early hit during the golden age of arcade games. An item from the game, the 'Special Flag', would make appearances in a plethora of future video games, including Xevious, Gaplus and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U, usually as an item that grants an extra life.
The player drives a blue car around a multi-directional, scrolling maze. The car automatically moves in whichever direction the joystick is pushed, but if it runs into a wall, it will turn and continue. In every round, ten flags are scattered around the maze. The player must collect all of them to clear the round and move on to the next round. The flags increase in value as they are collected: the first is 100 points, the second is 200, the third is 300, and so on. There are also special flags (indicated by the letter 'S') — if the player collects one of them, the value earned from flags doubles for the rest of the round. If the player dies, however, the next flag value is set back to 100 and the double bonus is lost. By collecting the special as the first flag with all 10 flags in one run, the maximum points the player can obtain from each round is 11000. The player will also obtain a fuel bonus after the round is complete, and it varies depending on how much fuel is remaining according to the fuel gauge.
Several red cars chase the blue one around the maze, and contact with any of them results in losing a life when hit. The number of these cars begins at three and increases in number throughout each normal round to eight. The first five appear at the bottom of the maze, and the next three will appear at the top of the maze. However, the player has a smoke screen, to use against the red cars. If a red car runs into a cloud of smokescreen, it will be momentarily stunned (but will still kill the player on contact). The amount of time stunned decreases with each level, but will still always cause the red car to chase the blue car using an alternate route. Using the smokescreen uses a small amount of fuel, and using it more than once every 30 seconds will almost ensure that it runs out before the round finishes.
The car has a limited amount of fuel which is consumed with time, though it is normally sufficient to last until all ten flags have been collected. When fuel runs out, the car moves very slowly and the smoke screen no longer works, so it very quickly falls victim to the red cars. If the player should clear any round without any fuel remaining (a rare occurrence), they will not receive a fuel bonus as a result.
There are also stationary rocks that the player must avoid. The rocks are randomly distributed throughout the maze, increasing in number as the game progresses. Unlike the cars and flags, their positions are not shown on the radar, so the player has to be careful for them. The rocks will also kill the player on contact, so the player has to be careful not to get trapped between rocks and the red cars. If this happens there is no escape.
On the third stage and every fourth stage after that, a bonus stage ('CHALLENGING STAGE') will start. The player must collect flags in the normal way, but the red cars (the maximum normal number of red cars, which is eight), are unable to move. If the player runs out of fuel, the red cars will start moving. If a player hits a red car or a rock, the challenging stage ends but the player will not lose a life. Once the player has run out of lives, the game will be over; if he or she had the highest score of the day, the game will tell them so.
How to play:
Click on the joystick icon in the Rally-X online emulator to see how to control the Rally-X game