Supercross 2000

a game by Electronic Arts, and MBL Research, Inc.

Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Racing

See also: Racing Games

Mud wrestling gets a mental mechanical makeover!

] Why is it that when you wait ages for something to come along, loads turn up at once? Not only is Supercross 2000 here, but just a short distance behind in its muddy spray wait Excite Bike, Jeremy McGrath Supercross and Top Gear Rally. Obviously someone out there thinks that the consumer has developed a dirt and mud fetish. At least EA has the upper hand and has managed to get its game out before the market is totally saturated, but is it actually any good?

You certainly get value for money with this game, which offers a grand total of 24 tracks and 24 riders, all of which are officially licenced and based on real life counterparts. Unfortunately, all of the riders and locations are American, but it's nice to know that they're there. Besides, fans of the sport are sure to take great pleasure in such perfection.

Muddy Madness

When you initially kickstart this game to life, the first thing you'll see is that there are quite a few modes of play. One warning - avoid the freestyle arenas at all costs! EA may have been trying to give this game a hip look, but it just feels as though the freestyle mode was thrown in as an afterthought. As a result this section just feels dull and repetitive, and isn't helped any by the game's biggest flaw, the controls.

'Biggest flaw' in fact is probably too kind a term for what is a truly game- destroying feature. It's not that the bike doesn't feel right, because the physics as it rides over jumps and bumps are superb. Where the game really falls down is when you try and negotiate a corner - the emphasis here is on the word 'try'! The only way to turn the bike is by powering it around the comers, but when you put the power on, even at low speeds, the turning circle is for too high. This can be countered to some extent by shifting your weight on the bike with the stick, but otherwise the bike usually ends up going around the outside boundaries. Naturally, the computer- controlled bikes don't have this problem.

Bumpy Ride

What this means is that, with no extensive straights, the races have very stop-start gameplay. On the lower difficulty levels, invisible walls keep you on the track, stopping you in the process, but when you reach the higher levels you are continually shooting off the course at every jump and having to restart back down the track, which is even more annoying!

When you do get up to speed, the game still runs at a fairly decent rate with no noticeable slowdown. With the Expansion Pak in full force the game looks great, until you pick up the controller. Don't be surprised if nobody will play you at this for more than ten minutes (although that's actually a good thing, as it's only two-player anyway).

If you do manage to stick it out and learn the controls, races can be won. You can actually start to attack some of the corners by flying off jumps into them and landing at an angle. Before each race, to help you win, you can customise your bike set-up changing gear ratios, suspension and traction. None of this means a thing however, because the uncooperative controls and lack of a four-player option do ruin what could otherwise have been a superb game. Let's hope the contenders learn from EA's mistake.

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Jump in, buckle up and drive yourself insane! Top Gear Rally will have your engines revving! No options on this baby - it comes fully equipped: 9 polygon cars, 5 intense tracks (Desert, Jungle, Mountain, coastline and Strip Mine), 4 high-performance game modes and multiple camera views!
Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000
The ONLY Supercross game with Jeremy "Showtime" McGrath! Totally customizable bikes and racing modes, plus free-ride practice environments and variable weather conditions. All-new engine featuring state-of-the-art graphics and bike physics. Design your own tracks with the custom 3D track editor. 16 Supercross stadiums and licensed Motocross tracks. 250cc and 125cc bikes plus Create-A-Rider. Sick freestyle motocross competitions exclusively featuring Travis Pastrana!
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Supercross 2000 Downloads

Nintendo 64 Supercross 2000 download

The first dirt bike racing to hit the N64 has arrived and nobody was more excited about it than I was. I have mentioned a number of times how much I love racing games and I really enjoy racing games that have a different angle than just street racing. Supercross 2000 is the first of four game that will be released within the next month that take on the dirt bike arena. While being first is worth something, I hope that this will not be the best dirt racer on the system otherwise fans of this type of racing will not be happy.

Supercross 2000 features 24 real life riders (I know that some are real so I am assuming that they all are) and 16 real stadium tracks and uses the memory Pak for a graphical kick. There are plenty of different types of racing and different skill levels which effect more than just the opponents skill levels. While this game may not be the best dirt bike racer ever, read on and see if it fits your gaming style.

Gameplay

I don't know what it is lately but I seem to be playing games that I really don't like when I first start playing. This game was no exception. After my first race, I was amazed that they could have released this game with the awful controls but after playing for a few more races and reading the manual to learn a few tricks, my opinion started to change. Not only did my opinion change but my understanding of the game did as well. Let me explain.

Most racing games fall into one of two categories. They are either arcade style racers (who needs a stinking brake?) or simulation (trying to be as realistic as possible). Up until now, just about every motorbike racing game I have played fell heavily under the arcade racer influence. The idea was flying around tracks, catching big air, and pulling off tricks. Since this is what I was expecting, it is easy to see why I did not like the game at first. I figured that I would keep the gas on full throttle the whole race, tap the brakes occasionally and win all of the races. As soon as I went into the first turn, it became very obvious that this strategy was not going to work.

Once it became clear to me that Supercross 2000 was aiming at capturing the simulation market, I knew that I was in trouble. In a panic, I resorted to reading the manual to see if I could pick up a few tricks to help me win. It did not take long before I found what I was looking for. Apparently there is something called fanning the clutch that helps you turn. So what I had to do was slow down going into corners and pop the clutch in and out (controlled by the Z trigger) and it helped slide my back tire around and got me heading in the direction of the corner. This took a lot of getting used to but once I mastered it, I really started to appreciate it. I got pretty good at timing it for optimal performance and found that it actually enhanced the game much more than I ever expected.

Also since it is a simulation, there is no going full speed into the corner and whipping out the other side by fanning the clutch a little. This game really makes you think about how you are driving and also what you are going to do up ahead before you reach the corners. All of the tracks are made up of sharp corners that require you to come almost to a complete stop so if you try to hit them at a high speed, you will never make it. This is going to take some people a while to get used to but if you stick with it, I think you will start to appreciate the game for what it is.

I first started playing the game on the beginner setting and I was all set to rip it apart because it seemed to have invisible walls that keep you on the track. Plus, I would constantly knock the other racers off their bikes but I would almost never fall. I really thought this was lame but like any good reviewer, I decide to play all of the modes before ripping the game. Good thing I did because the things that I was going to complain about were gone. It seems that they put in the invisible walls to help you in the beginner mode but not in the pro mode. If you go off the track, you get a penalty and have to start from a dead stop, plus it is much easier to crash. Top it off with the fact that the bikes go faster in the pro mode and now the game gets really challenging. Hell, it gets damn near impossible to win.

One of the neatest things that this game has is the Freestyle mode. The freestyle mode is a big, open arena with jumps placed around so you can just drive around and pull off tricks. You have a set time limit and you receive points for pulling off tricks. Think of it as a half-pipe in a snowboarding game. This mode was fun and quite inventive but the trick system was fairly limited so after I played a few times and pulled off all of the tricks, some of the fun wore off. It is still something that I pull out when I have a couple of buddies around so they can do some cool tricks.

There were a few things that bothered me about the game that really kept it from being great in my eyes. First and foremost, the rider's physics just seemed off. I never really felt like I was riding a motorcycle. I was constantly bending and contorting in mid air in ways that just were not natural. I also would find myself having a difficult time staying on the track because the slightest touch of the steering would send me off in a side-to-side rampage that was tough to stop.

The game also had some collision detection problems. I would constantly get stuck in places and it was very difficult to get unstuck. I would run into other riders and go right through them. Plus, on the pro levels, I really did not like how the game handled it when I went off course. It just put up a message that I had gone off the course and started me over back in the middle. I almost would have liked to have seen the game have me jump off the bike and try pushing it back on the track or something like in real life. I don't know. It just seemed too abrupt and unnatural.

Graphics

For N64 graphics, I must say I was impressed. The riders were all animated very nicely. They would lean into turns and put a foot down to stabilize them. The crashes had the riders sliding across the ground in a very painful looking way. I was playing with the Ram Pak and everything looked good. When I got close to some of the walls, the writing looked bad but it was hardly noticeable. Overall, the graphics are pretty good.

Bottom Line

This game will really make you slow down and pay attention to the simulation aspects of dirt bike racing. If you don't think that would be your type of game, I suggest you stay away from this one because you will only get frustrated. If you are the type of gamer who is willing to invest the time in learning how to control the bikes, you should have some fun with this title. I really liked the freestyle courses but did get bored with them after a while. This game is not for everyone but it is worth a rental to see if it is right for you.

reggie posted a review
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