Warning!! This game has been known to inflate the ego in lab rats and sport video game junkies, causing them to talk shmack to all their friends that can’t perform as many cool stunts.
I’ve been critically infected, and as such am forced to repeat my 9300-point single stunt record to several people including my mother, who still doesn’t understand what I’m talking about.
Microsoft’s Motorcross Madness 2 delivers cool stunts and great graphics. It was easy to install and just as easy to figure out. You better have a good graphics card, but then again my PII 300 with 128MB RAM and 8MB number nine graphics card is outdated. When I moved to a lab test machine with a fairly good graphics card, the game looked a lot better, but only after I forced the game to squeeze all texture data into memory. The tradeoff is lower performance – once in a while you will have to load some terrain details while in the middle of a jump, but you get stellar graphics.
But lets face it, what makes this game cool is that when you crash, you crash big"and the guy on the bike looks like he feels every bit of the pain and loves it. I only wish that what happened to the biker after a crash as a little more accurate, but oh well. It’s still fun to see him go flying hundreds of feet in the air and then smack into power lines or trees or even a passing bus.
The tournaments themselves and competitions are kind of lame. They’ll bore you quickly and quite frankly the biker continuously crashing will too. But the art of perfecting a stunt and the feeling you get when one is done perfectly will always leave you coming back for more.
Online play is fun because you can zoom around and watch others do stunts, and if they are nice they will tell you the secrets. Stunts are performed using a combination of keys on the left side of the keyboard. How to do the stunts is kind of a mystery. The in-game documentation does not tell you "for stunt A, click S, pull the bike back and then hold down the Z key." You are pretty much on your own, which is part of the fun. You get bonus points if you perform the stunt while leaping over objects, like a moving train or even a low flying airplane.
The game allows you to explore several different terrains from the icy peaks of a Rocky Mountain ski resort to the lush forests of what looks like somewhere in Yosemite National Park. Even tearing up tracks in forbidden Roswell, New Mexico is an option/ However, I was sadden to find it kind of cheesy with alien ships flying by every couple of minutes and no one shooting at me"but oh well again, I’m over it. The addition of Marines on bikes chasing me down or something might have been cool.
Sound is very well done in this game and that really helps to add to the illusion. When you get to close to a trailer home, you can hear the radio or television playing inside. Power lines buzz, trains chug-chug down the track and other bikes Doppler by you at lightning speed. Turn the sound way up to really enjoy this title. The only negative part is that the bike sounds a little anemic, but I guess Microsoft did not want you blowing your speakers when you revved up that 1200cc monster.
You can also do a straight race against other people online or against a bunch of computer players. This consists of racing around either professional motorcross tracks or some of the aforementioned terrains. In any case, the goal is to go under a series of gates and get through them all before anyone else. It’s pretty hard to do, and I would have preferred a more random type of gate grabbing, like the type seen in a rally game out now from Codemasters. Otherwise, it is too easy to memorize the track, and it gets a bit boring after awhile.
You get to choose your bike, some being quicker than others, and you get to choose the color of the rider’s uniform and helmet. That pretty much completes your choices in this game. However, that’s all you really need in Motocross Madness land, the game is simple and basically just plug and play. If you aren’t doing stunts, the only keys you need are your arrows. As far as driving games go, this one can be played by people of almost any age.
The true strength of this game is that it is very much like a console title, in that it is a natural fit to have a bunch of people crowd around your PC to compete. Few PC games do that. But Motorcross Madness 2 will have you and a group of your closest shmack-talkin friends yelling such prized phrases as "Damn! That’s gotta hurt!" and "OOOuch! He shouldn’t have a head right now." Or the best one "He’d be so dead." No, really? I don’t see why you can’t survive an 80-mile an hour airborne impact with a bus?
Motocross Madness earns 3 1/2 GiN Gems. It offers group fun, something that few computer games can, as long as you have enough hardware to get the most of it.