Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX
Helmet: check. Knee Pads: check. Elbow Pads: check. Total lack of sense and concern for well being: check. Okay, we’re ready to do some sick and twisted BMX riding courtesy of Acclaim sports. Davewas such a smash hit for the PlayStation that it was ported over to the PC for all you fans of BMX to enjoy. If you’ve played the PSX version, then you pretty much know what you’re in for, but if you’re new to this sport, then you’re in for a real treat. You get to assume the identity of ten different professional BMX riders -- doing awesome tricks over a variety of riding venues. There is no multiplayer, but the game has immense replay value, which we will discuss later. Okay, let’s get you riding!
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX puts you on the seat and behind the handlebars of a "freestyle BMX" bicycle. Riding as Dave Mirra, Mike Laird, Leigh Ramsdell, Chad Kagy, or six other professional BMX riders, you get an intense, 3rd person view. The goal of the game is to complete all 12 levels and, obviously, the first levels are easier. Before long, you’ll be staying up till 3:00 A.M. trying to learn all 1300 different tricks. I found myself getting stoked when I would be trying to pull off a jump and, all of a sudden, in the wee hours of the morning, I could finally do it! Bam! The level was shredded! (I should mention that you must have a control pad, I just can’t see you having as much fun trying to work the keyboard. Plus, I found I started really grooving when I was using a gamepad.)
You’ll find all difficulty levels in this game, from very easy to "staying up until 6:30 in the morning" challenging. The first six levels let you learn tricks and achieve objectives so you can get better bikes and cool new clothes. The last six levels are competition levels in which you compete against nine other computer riders, so you better have your stuff ready. I noticed that when I got to the competition levels, the game became as addicting as Rice Crispy treats.
Originality / Cool Features
I think the coolest feature in DM Freestyle BMX has got to be the many different and varying courses you can ride. One minute, you’re riding in a cement and plywood skate park and the next you’re pulling sick, nasty air over huge dirt jumps. The game also gets high marks for originality because, if memory serves me correctly, I don’t remember seeing a BMX game for the PC before this.
I was pretty blown away by the 3D graphics and how fluid they are considering they’ve been ported over from the PlayStation. The opening movies are pretty bad (pixilated), but once you get into the actual game, you’ll be quite happy. After 70+ hours of playing, I did notice several glitches. Occasionally, the rider gets stuck, falling through the map. Or, my personal favorite, sometimes the rider embeds himself in a rail or box. DO NOT LET THIS BOTHER YOU. The game is way too much fun to let those few things take away from the game (not to mention these glitches don’t happen very frequently). I really started to enjoy the graphics when, later in the game, I got to ride in a re-creation of an actual skate park in San Jose, Calif. The rails, spines, and fun boxes looked awesome, as did the vert sections. I also enjoyed the outdoor riding sections, but the graphics just looked better in the indoor sections. The bike and rider detail is very nicely done. You’ll notice shadows and see the spokes spinning on your bike wheels. So all in all, I would have to say "Great job!" What the graphics may lack is made up for by the sheer fun of the game.
Music soundtracks tend to get very stale when playing a game over and over. I normally wind up just shutting down the audio and throwing on one of my own CDs. I’m very happy to report that you won’t have to do that for "DM Freestyle" because the soundtrack kicks some major booty. Whoever picked the music was right on the nose because it just makes you want to ride like a demon let loose from hell. You’ve got Rancid, Sublime, Dropkick Murphys and many more bands. I’ve played the game for well over 70 hours and have not gotten sick of the music yet, which is very rare for me. Heck, I even went out and bought a few CD’s from the bands that appear on the soundtrack for the game.
Pentium-200 or equivalent, Win 95, 32 MB RAM, 3D Accelerator, 270 MB Hard Drive Space, and a Sound Card.
There isn’t a whole lot to the manual in DM Freestyle BMX but there really doesn’t need to be. The toughest thing to learn in the game is all the different trick combos, but that just comes from practice. The manual does explain all the different game types within the game, provides brief overviews of the tricks and, of course, it contains the standard installation section.
This will be a very simple bottom line! GO BUY THE GAME NOW! I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time playing just a single game. I would constantly find myself thinking "Hmmm, maybe I should turn the computer on and see if I can pull off that triple backflip" or "If only I would’ve done that no-footed can-can, I would have scored a 90." Just ask my wife. We would be sitting at the dinner table and she would look over at me with that evil eye and say "You’re thinking of that @#!$% game again aren’t you?"
If you are into action sports, then Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is a definite must have. On that note, I will give this game an 89/100. Now I’m off to ride and see if my wife will speak to me again. Ride hard! Ride safe!