Skip to main content

Remedy's latest game, Alan Wake 2, contains their very first

But sadly not in playable form

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 showing a "Death Rally" arcade machine in a very dark room.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Epic Games Publishing

This isn't a Mega-Scoop for the Ages, but it's a fun little story. Tucked away in one dark corner of Remedy's latest horror extravaganza Alan Wake 2 you'll find an arcade cabinet machine dedicated to the very first game the Finnish developer ever made.

The project in question is Death Rally, a top-down combat racer for MS-DOS in the spirit of Micro Machines, which graced CRTs all the way back in 1996. Published by Apogee, it sees you looping around toytown courses, peppering your rivals with bullets or pranging them with your spiked fender. "It features both death and rallying, so is adroitly named," opined some guy named Kieron Gillen back in 2009.

Four cars jostling together in MS-DOS 1996 racing game Death Rally
Image credit: Apogee/Remedy Entertainment

Remedy themselves were founded the year before Death Rally's release by members of the Finnish demoscene groups Future Crew and The Aggression. The demoscene was/is more about tinkering and experimenting with computer hardware than game-making, so shifting to a "proper" videogame production was a challenge.

"Obviously during the Future Crew times, we had done a few game-like things," co-founder Markus Mäki observed in a 2016 retrospective. "But just doing a full blown game is a completely different ballgame." Death Rally is also the game Remedy's nowadays creative director and Kojima-adjacent auteur celebrity Sam Lake joined the studio to work on. He was studying English literature at the time in Helsinki, and was approached by co-founder Petri Järvilehto to write dialogue.

Death Rally was a big hit for the time, selling over 120,000 copies and allowing Remedy to expand and work on another title for Apogee, an isometric shooter initially titled "Dark Justice" which eventually became the very first Max Payne.

The game isn't actually playable in Alan Wake 2, alas, unless there's some secret activation method we've yet to uncover. This feels like a missed opportunity, given Remedy's crazy talk of all their games sharing a universe. It's just as well, then, that you can download Death Rally for free from Steam - forever. There's a remake knocking around, which Nathan Grayson (RPS in peace) found to be not that good.

Watch on YouTube

As for our full verdict on Remedy's latest paranormal potboiler, watch out for Katharine's Alan Wake 2 review in the coming days - her opening impressions are positive. My understanding from conversations with various people is that it's longer than anticipated, and rather fiddly. Ah, for the simpler days when all you had to do was drive in circles, murdering people.

Read this next