I'll admit. I was supposed to have the Namcoator change Gus into a police uniform like Mappy wore for the previous chapter, but that slipped my mind. Oopsie.
And to Anthony: Hahaha! I wish that were the case, but unfortunately it isn't.
"I sure am!" Jackie exclaims. For whatever reason neither of them have commented on the fact that Gus and Jackie have been taking turns with the challenges, but they seem to be acknowledging it.
"Glad to see you are enthusiastic, Jackie." The Namcoator replies, smiling. "The eleventh challenge is the Rally-X challenge, which you will be undertaking."
"So what's happening? What am I doing?"
"We shall find out." The Namcoator snaps his fingers and Jackie dematerialises.
We cut to what seems to be a massive maze. The walls of this maze are made out of hedges, as is the outer boundary. The ground is made out of compacted sand, and there is no ceiling - the maze is open to the sky. This maze is somewhat like the Pac-Man maze in that there is no defined entrance or exit and there are no dead-ends. At a point along the bottom edge Jackie rematerialises. She takes a look around.
"I'm in a maze again… is this just Pac-Man all over again?" Jackie questions.
The Namcoator stalls for a second to decide what to say. "There are a couple of similarities, I'll concede that, but this game is pretty different from Pac-Man upon closer inspection. But I say we not waste any time. You will not be walking, but rather driving."
"Driving… So I'm in a car like in Pole Position II?" Jackie deduces.
"Yes, but this car is quite different from the one you used. Turn around."
Jackie turns around, seeing her vehicle. This car is painted blue, like the one she used in the Pole Position II challenge, but it's a lot smaller, only having room for Jackie herself, and lacks the aerofoil wings. Jackie duly hops in and buckles up, but to her surprise, there is no steering wheel! Instead, the controls consist of a two-way joystick, a grey button with a cloud symbol next to the joystick, a black electronic display on the other side and a fuel gauge above all that.
Jackie scratches her head. "There's no steering wheel. How am I going to control this thing?"
"Well," the Namcoator explains, "this car is semi-autonomous. It can drive by itself, and the joystick is simply there to help you tell it which way to go at an intersection."
"That explains the lack of steering wheel, but what's the grey button and display for?"
"To understand that, I need to explain what you will be doing in this challenge. Are you listening?"
"Good. Allow me to begin. There are ten yellow flags scattered at random points in this maze. Your goal is to collect all ten of them throughout 15 rounds."
"Collecting each flag will earn you an increasing number of points, but one flag has a red 'S' on it. This 'Special Flag' will award you double the points from collecting flags until you die or the round is cleared."
"Your main obstacle will be a group of red cars that will chase you around the maze, and a number of stationary rocks - collision with either will cost a life."
"Pressing the grey button will deploy a smokescreen which will stun the red cars. Beware - they are still harmful even when stunned!"
"Do remember to keep an eye on your fuel gauge, depleted by both driving and the smokescreen - it that runs out, you won't actually die immediately, but the red cars will quickly sort you out."
"Don't understand why you don't just immediately lose a life, but go on."
"At the end of a round, you will be given bonus points depending on how much fuel you have left when the last flag is collected."
"Of course something like that would be present."
"One last thing. That display to the left of the joystick will show you your position, the position of the red cars and the position of the flags. Think of it as a radar of sorts."
"That'll be helpful. Alright, I think I've got it from here. Let the challenge commence!"
"Very well, The Rally-X challenge shall now commence!"
The Rally-X start jingle plays.
JACKIE JOHNSON - READY!
Jackie's radar shows that the first flag was behind her, so just after she starts moving she turns right and proceeds down an empty path to it, collecting it just as the red cars start moving. She then proceeds up the right edge where she collects the second flag. She proceeds left for the third flag before turning down for the fourth.
She turns up for the next flag, which turns out to be the Special Flag. The sixth flag is on the other side of the maze, as is the seventh. "Just three left…" Jackie thinks.
After a quick trip to the bottom-right corner for the eighth flag, Jackie sees in her rear vision that the two red cars chasing her are gaining on her, so she hits the grey button, a cloud of smoke erupting from her exhaust and enveloping the red cars, causing them to spin out. "Pretty slick defence," Jackie comments as she picks up the ninth flag.
She turns into a loop for the final flag, and following a scape with collision with a red car manages to snag it. She has about a quarter of her fuel left. "Round clear!" Jackie exclaims as the fuel bonus points are tallied up.
"Round clear indeed!" says the Namcoator. "I shall now transport you to the second round!"
Gus is watching is girlfriend on the monitor as she streaks through round seven. She has died a couple times, but that isn't stopping her.
"Jackie seems to be a natural at this! Although it is pretty similar to Pac-Man…" Gus comments.
The Namcoator chuckles. "Funny you should make that comparison… I've got a bit of a story to tell with those two games."
Gus looks at the Namcoator with a expression of intrigue.
"Rally-X appeared in a trade show in 1980 alongside Pac-Man, Atari game Battlezone and Williams Electronics game Defender. The traders at that show believed that Rally-X would be the big hit."
"And needless to say, they were wrong?" Gus deduces.
"Of course, they were wrong. Very, very wrong. That doesn't mean Rally-X is bad, but some people found it quite tricky, so its 1981 sequel, New Rally-X, was intentionally made easier. This sequel proved to be more popular in Japan than the original."
"Okay then." says Gus. He turns back to the screen and silently cheers Jackie on.
Jackie is now racing towards the final flag on round 15. This is a challenging stage, so the red cars are not moving. Upon collecting it, she freezes in position. "That's challenging stage four done!" she declares.
"Well done player! That was the fifteenth round, which means you have cleared the Rally-X challenge! Let's get you that trophy!"
The Namcoator snaps his fingers and Jackie materialises, leaving the car empty.
Jackie rematerialises in the monitor room, where the Namcoator has the Rally-X trophy prepared, showing the Special Flag. Jackie takes it.
"Is it just me, or did this flag appear in other games? It looks familiar."
The Namcoator nods. "It did, as a matter of fact. It appeared in Xevious, where it granted you an extra life, and in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, where it did the same thing."
"What's the next challenge?" Gus pipes up.