Rally-X[a] 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.
North American promotional sales flyer
|Platform(s)||Arcade, MSX, Mobile phone|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer (alternating turns)|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, tabletop|
|Arcade system||Namco Pac-Man|
|CPU||1 × Z80 @ 3.072 MHz|
|Sound||Namco WSG (3-channel mono)|
|Display||Horizontal orientation, Raster, 288 x 224 resolution|
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 Williams' 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.
In 1980, Battlezone, Defender, and Pac-Man were shown alongside Rally-X at a trade show sponsored by the Amusement Machine Operators of America. It was believed that Rally-X would be the top money-earner. Defender went on to sell more than 60,000 units — more than disproving these projections — and cemented its place in video game history. Meanwhile, Pac-Man went on to sell more than 350,000 worldwide arcade units, and it became the highest-grossing video game of all time.
|Auto Chase||VTech CreatiVision||1981||VTech|
|Radar Rat Race||VIC-20
|1981||Commodore||Cars are replaced with mice, flags with cheese, boulders with cats, and smoke screens with "star screens."|
|Mí Hún Chē / BB Car||NES||1988 (Mí Hún Chē)
1991 (BB Car)
|Chi Chi Toy Co. (Mí Hún Chē)
RCM Group / JY Company (BB Car)
|Released on Famicom multicarts.|
|Jovial Race||1989||Joy Van
|Only released in Brazil.|
|Turbo Jam||Amiga||1995||Phelios Development|
The game's sequel, New Rally-X (released in 1981), offers a slightly different color scheme and easier gameplay (the special flag now flashes on the radar, and there are fewer red cars). A new flag called the "Lucky Flag" was also added, which awards the player bonus points for the amount of fuel remaining when collected, after which the car is refueled, and the round continues if there are still flags remaining. New Rally-X was manufactured in greater numbers and became more popular (at least in Japan) than the original game.
The compilation arcade game Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2 (released in 1996), includes a version of the game with enhanced graphics and gameplay called Rally-X Arrangement (but it did not have multiplayer capability). Namco Museum Remix, which was released on October 23, 2007 for the Nintendo Wii, also features a revamped version of the game, known as Rally-X Remix, which was also included in Namco Museum Megamix.
Rally-X was later included in Namco Museum Volume 1 for the Sony PlayStation in 1995, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary in 2005, and the Pac-Man's Arcade Party 30th Anniversary compilation arcade game in 2010. A carbon copy of this game (along with one of New Rally-X) was also included in the compilation title Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2 in 1996.
Rally-X was included as part of Microsoft Revenge of Arcade.
- Szczepaniak, John (11 August 2014). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers (Firstition ed.). p. 201. ISBN 978-0992926007. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
- Source: Midway Arcade Treasures bonus material.
- Marlene Targ Brill (2009), America in the 1980s, Twenty-First Century Books, p. 120, ISBN 0-8225-7602-3, retrieved May 1, 2011
- Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen (2001). "Game of the Week: Pac-Man". GameSpy. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- Steve L. Kent (2001), The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond: the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world, Prima, p. 143, ISBN 0-7615-3643-4, retrieved May 1, 2011,
Despite the success of his game, Iwatani never received much attention. Rumors emerged that the unknown creator of Pac-Man had left the industry when he received only a $3500 bonus for creating the highest-grossing video game of all time.