Colin McRae Rally Released On Steam, Sort Of, Not Really

Content from the sequel, named after the original, actually a re-release of a mobile game.

It’s easy to think that simulation and sports game are advancing along a straight line of progress, each sequel or yearly iteration delivering a game with better physics models, more polygons, and all towards some objective perfection. To this strawman that exists within my brain I say: not true! As would have been interestingly demonstrated by Codemasters releasing Colin McRae Rally 2.0 on Steam today. The game, a precursor to the modern Dirt series, was originally released in 2000. It was good.

Except that’s not what has happened here. This game, called simply Colin McRae Rally, is only “based on” that old game. Instead this is the PC release of last year’s mobile version, which used tracks, cars and audio from the older games but was otherwise its own thing. Is that misleading? It certainly confused me for a bit.

Here’s the trailer for the re-release:

The description of the game on Steam says that it’s “from the developers of the multi-million selling franchise and based on content from the 90% Metacritic rated Colin McRae Rally 2.0”. The name, coupled with that description, initially led me to think it was a re-mastering of the original games. Coming to Steam via mobile rather changes things, like travelling to London via Didcot, but there’s no mention of the mobile version on the Steam page. Perhaps because the Metacritic for that is 69.

There are a lot of old racing, sports and simulation games from the late ’90s I would like to see come to Steam, but if you decide to drop £5 on something you once loved, be aware you might not be returning direct to your halcyon youth.


  1. Laini says:

    It’s pretty clear these days that Valve will let developers put whatever they want onto Steam and they don’t care whether it’s misleading or not.
    Hell, Air Control is somehow still on there. “Oh but it was Greenlight, the people wanted it”.
    Maybe, but doesn’t change the fact it’s nothing at all like the game advertised on Greenlight or is it in fact functional in any way, shape or form.

    There’s nothing wrong with mobile phone ports per se but they should be clearly labelled I think.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Then get tagging them using the tools provided.

      • BarryAllen says:

        Unless Steam ban the “mobile port” tag like they did the “UPlay” and “Comfy” tags

        • ran93r says:

          There are a lot of banned tags. Port being one of them, certainly I couldn’t get it to tag it as one. P0rt on the other hand works.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            They seem to be pretty much banning any tags that might lead to lost sales. Essentially they have created the “user defined” tag system which has served only to make games sound better, never worse. The fact that this is the only moderation they seem to feel the need to do, is especially galling. Screw removing broken shovel ware like Air Control, that is clearly unnecessary. People tagging a game as “walking simulator” though is clearly an affront to the quality of their store.

        • tobecooper says:

          I’m pretty sure “mobile port” was one of the first things they banned.

          • BarryAllen says:

            What is the point in the tag system even existing?

            “You can tag our game but if we don’t like the facts your representing with those tags we’ll ban them!”

          • rpsKman says:

            Valve has found the perfect system. You do whatever you want to maximize sales and reduce customer awareness, you provide no customer support and you never make statements. Come next Steam sale, all objections are silenced.

          • BarryAllen says:

            Yeah your right, and the average user is so brainwashed by Valve they’ll never be called out on their bullshit

          • RobF says:

            Tags are there to help people find content they want to find, not for criticism or for negative stuff.

            People have reviews, forums and just about everything else on the internet for the rest of that.

    • Metalhead9806 says:

      It takes a minute to hit the games forums to ask if a game is a mobile port and most developers of these games will admit to them being a port in the store page. Also you have access to the steam tagging system and are on the internet with an infinite amount of information at your finger tips. No one ever should blame Valve or a developer of trickery when the user has so much available to combat scumbaggery.

      • rpsKman says:

        Tags are banned, and why would I have to ask on forums? Be upfront or piss off. I prefer rewarding those who don’t waste my time.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        I do agree that people shouldn’t go wildly stabbing the “buy” button without first doing a little research, it’s just general good practice. However Steam are being fairly shitty with the way they have implemented the tag system to give people “more information” then promptly banning any tags that may reduce sales of games such as “mobile port” and other things and I believe people have a right to bitch about it if they please.

        • skittles says:

          Except not really. The tag system to find games based on criteria that a player finds interesting. It is not a place for negatively pegging things. That is what the reviews are for. They aren’t banning games being crammed with negative reviews to my knowledge, just scroll down on CMR, there are plenty of negative in there. They are just banning tags that are contrary to what the tag system is intended to do. I would suggest people use the scroll function and take a gander at a few user reviews before hammering buy.

          As to whether Steam should ban devs that misleadingly market their games, well yes, do that please Valve!

  2. BarryAllen says:

    Why can’t Codemasters just make a new Colin McRae Rally game as I miss the format of those and them just being about rally. I know Colin is dead so they could at least just call it DiRT Rally or something.

    Man and seeing that old Ford Focus has brought back some fond memories of when I used to watch WRC on Eurosport

    • GameCat says:

      With Spintires mud physics.

    • Guvornator says:

      Bring back TOCA Touring Cars, while they’re at it. Sod all this GRID nonsense, I want to hurl a blocky Volvo estate around Oulton Park.

      EDIT: Also, Graham Smith is a bad man for dangling the dream in front of me, then throwing it in my face

      EDIT 2: Just to be clear the dream is the reboot of a beloved gaming franchise and not his junk. Dreamy though it may be….

  3. AshRolls says:

    Speaking of Codemasters, is there any update on the expected ‘Wot I Think’ for Grid : Autosport?

    • rpsKman says:

      Floppy physics, blurry cockpits to hide the recycled Grid 2, lots of DLC. There you go.

      • Faldrath says:

        And yet it’s actually a really fun game, the best thing Codies have released since Grid 1/Dirt 2. Even though everything you said is true.

        • rpsKman says:

          Well, I’m more of the TOCA/CMR school. I don’t think their modern stuff is up to snuff.

  4. ran93r says:

    CMR 1 for the original TatoStation (and PC) had a really nice feel to it. I have never, ever played a rally game since that I enjoyed as much as that.

    Realistic simulation physics? No but I didn’t give a hoot, funningest rally game ever!

    This shit here? No ta.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yep I bought it for the PC and a steering wheel around the same time. Was awesome-sauce compared to my previous experiences such as Sega Rally on the Saturn with a traditional D-Pad.

  5. Metalhead9806 says:

    Its a mobile port for $6. i purchased it knowing this. Its a fun little game. I dont get the hate. PC is a open platform, the biggest digital market place on PC should also be a open platform. Heavily curated stores limit us. I dont know about you but im smart enough to do research on games before i buy them.
    I have no issue going through massive release listings and reading up on games that might appeal to me. I do the same exact thing on mobile. People need to account for thier actions and stop wanting everything to lead them like sheep to the right choice.

    • rpsKman says:

      Any reason why you’re quick to jump to the side of the misleading advertiser?

      • Metalhead9806 says:

        I am pro open platform. People are using this one game as another excuse to blast Valve for not having a curated store. I will argue and fight for what i believe is the right choice for PC gamers and the PC gaming platform.

        Also this game is not misleading at all. It says in the store that its based off Mcrae 2.0 also in the game forums the developers clearly state the game is a mobile port and they are testing the waters with the release.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          If you are pro open platform then surely you must also be against steam regularly banning user-defined tags from being used. A tag stating “mobile port” would be quite handy in situations like this. Steam however feels it shouldn’t exist, presumably because it is happy tricking the customer into a purchase they may not have made.

          • Metalhead9806 says:

            Open platform for developers to place any game they want on the store… not open platform so you could let all the morons run wild and troll the tags system… Did you forget the first day tags were in beta?

        • bill says:

          I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect an HD version of a PC game (that is based on the PC game) to actually be similar to the original PC game. It seems pretty misleading to me.

          It’s like releasing a HD version of Deus Ex 3 and saying it’s based on the PC game. And then it turns out to be an HD version of Deus Ex 3: The Fall which is a mobile game based loosely on the PC game.

          IF you release an updated HD version of a classic PC game on a PC store, most people would naturally assume it is the game they remember. I don’t think they should then be expected to do additional research to find out whether it is indeed the game it appears to be.

      • trjp says:

        I’m leaping too – I don’t think it’s “misleading” – it’s a Colin McRae rally game using assets from the original games but it’s moved to a modern development environment (I don’t think anyone would want CMR or CMR2 as they were 10 years ago?)

        It’s quite common to use expressions like “from the developer of…” when the ‘developer’ (company and/or personnel) changes with every game – it’s happened for years…

        The only ‘misleading’ aspect of it is that people didn’t look and read and think – they assumed and you know what that makes…

        • GameCat says:

          ” (I don’t think anyone would want CMR or CMR2 as they were 10 years ago?)”

          Every GOG customer who likes racing games.

      • Guvornator says:

        Is it totally necessary to accuse everyone who isn’t following the RPS party line of astro-turfing? It’s got metacritic score of 69, which indicates it’s possible to have fun with it. I don’t agree with Metalhead9806 regarding his views on research and I’m certainly not going to buy the game, but it stifles debate to accuse people with different opinions of being agents of The Man.

        • trjp says:

          Absolutely – metalhead did what people are supposed-to-do and went in with his eyes open.

          The PC is an open platform – we accept allsorts – that’s the entire point of the thing.

          I don’t get why people seem to think every game on Steam is mandatory to buy or something?

        • rpsKman says:

          If they don’t make it easy to know what I’m buying, it’s bargain bin or pass. They’re lame and cheesy. If I’d known FF8 had the terrible music, I wouldn’t have bought it either. The others can feel superior if they bother doing research on that kind of pointless tripe, but I’ll just pass.

  6. rpsKman says:

    By the way, WRC 4 is 10 dollars on Humble for the next 3 hours.

    • Metalhead9806 says:

      And a very good game. Seriously i loved that game.

    • trjp says:

      I cannot stand the WRC games – the handling feels wrong (trackball – not a car) and the games are repetitive and shallow.

      If they took the license off it, it would be a £1.99 supermarket till game

      • rpsKman says:

        It’s a gamepad racer that’s responsive and fun enough, no more, no less.

      • Phinor says:

        I actually prefer this mobile port of a game (Colin McRae Rally) over any of the WRC games and it’s not even a competition. Says a lot about the current state of rally games, really.

      • Gargenville says:

        What really gets me is you can plow over patches of ice on the tarmac with impunity. There’s even a pace note where your co-driver warns you a section of road is slippery and it’s just a straight up lie.
        I do think it’s worth ten lousy bucks because while the flat handling and gentle terrain mean you don’t really have to worry about car control beyond where you want the nose to point you can still crank up the AI’s times to where you have to pay attention and get your rally flow on but yeah, not really one of the all-time greats.

  7. trjp says:

    Just a note – 69 isn’t that terrible a score for a mobile game ;0

    Seriously tho – given the (entirely irrational) hatred that some people have for ‘mobile ports’ – it’s no surprise if publishers choose not to highlight that aspect is it?

    If you’re going to rave like a spoiled child – expect less ice cream – basically…

    • Bull0 says:

      It’s actually pretty bad for a mobile game. Mobile games tend to score better than their PC ports. Look at FF3 for example.

      • trjp says:

        The issue with Metacritic and mobile games is that the pool of sites they use is – how can I put this – well – quite ‘wide’.

        They go from ravening ‘hardcore’ reviewers who will attack mobile games like a mad dog, to people who review games inbetween writing cupcake recipes and say everything is ‘lovely’ – you get a lot of noise and little data, basically…

  8. Jason Moyer says:

    CMR 2.0 was kind of rubbish. In those naive pre-RBR days, you already had Rally Championship 2000 (which came out the year before) and Michelin Rally Masters and Rally Trophy came out shortly afterwards. I had a copy of it, but I can’t say I enjoyed the short time I spent with it.

    • buzzmong says:

      Interesting, because I thought RC 2000 was a pale shadow of a game compared to CMR 2.0 (which was the best in the series imo).

      Of course, we are talking 15 years ago, so it RC2000 may actually be a much better game than I remember it being, as I bounced off it.

    • Joshua says:

      I just looked up that Rally 2000 thing, and as it turns out, it’s that game I always loved but forget it’s name because I was simply too young to remember much of it. So, thank you!

    • Gargenville says:

      We were a V-Rally 2 household.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        For some reason I never cared for the PC version of that, but I had it on the Dreamcast and enjoyed it significantly.

      • trjp says:

        That was an amazing game but it’s was, IIRC, NAILS hard.

        If you screwed-up – and you would screw-up – you smashed your car to bits.

        The thing was tho – it always felt like your fault and you’d limp-on because even a trashed car wasn’t, necessarily, game over.

        No-one has tried to do anything like that since tho…

    • Perkelnik says:

      CMR 2 and RC 2000 are different animals. CMR is an arcade and a good one while RC focused on realistic physics and had a 40 min stage. It was crazy :) It was THE rally simulation in the day, only matched by Rally Trophy and later surpassed by RBR.

  9. ScrubLeagueTV says:

    Well this is very unfortunate, Codemasters makes some of the best racing games around and I really want to play another DiRT game, but not some upscaled phone garbage.

  10. Vinraith says:

    Wow, that’s seriously dishonest on their part, thanks for posting about this. I’d wishlisted that, thinking it was a remake of the older games. I’m glad I held off on buying it!

  11. Curratum says:

    If you look at the store page description REEEAL CLOSE, you will see that the game only has rallies Corsica, Australia and Greece in it. No Rally Finland, no UK stages, no Kenya, no snowy Sweden. This is an ugly cash crab, disguised just about well enough to lure in fans of CMR 2.0. I know I almost bought it. Almost.