Freestyle Metal X
Metal X has the audacity to arrive at the crowded extreme-sports party in a tattered Twisted Sister shirt, blastin' a butt-rock compilation and slangin' behind-the-times terminology. Of course, if it could truly compete with contenders such as Mat Hoffman and Tony Hawk, I'd happily ignore its putrid soundtrack and retarded "Rad-ometer." Regrettably, this average motocross action can't overcome its trailer-park trappings. Challenges run the standard Tony Hawk-inspired gamut, but goals repeat level after level with minimal variation. Sporadically glitchy gameplay guarantees that victory is more about dumb luck than finesse. For example, in one level, you're supposed to chase down some delinquent kids...who magically sprint at near-light speed and teleport through walls. On the upside, you get enormous, seamlessly connected arenas ranging from snowy peaks to seaside parks, as well as hillclimbing events unique to motocross. Like most wannabes, Metal X is fun in limited doses--provided you have a soft spot for the inadvertently hilarious.
I'm not a fan of motocross culture, so naturally, this game's chauvinistic innuendos, bikini-clad bimbos, and hellish cheese-metal soundtrack don't appeal to me (and, unlike Shawn and G. Ford, I don't even find them amusing). But last month's Wakeboarding Unleashed featuring Shaun Murray showed me that great gameplay can make an excellent game out of a hick sport. Freestyle Metal X, however, doesn't have great gameplay, so the terrible accoutrements just become that much more irritating. The repetitive challenges are uncreative, and the game's choppy graphics and collision-detection issues make the whole experience headsplitting. Decent level design can't compensate for these problems.
You should know the story by now. If the others' comments weren't convincing enough, please take it from me: Among extreme-sports hopefuls, this one's merely average. Besides the slowdown and choppiness, you'll find random and sometimes disturbing challenges-- one has you scaring a girl's windowwashing ex-boyfriend off his perch, with the cinema showing his fall. Is that extreme? Eventually, you'll mine some fun from this game while riding and tricking around the levels, but only because you want to justify your purchase. Rent it, laugh at its absurdities, then play some Hawk 4 to wipe it from your brain.
Download Freestyle Metal X
A surprisingly robust title from Midway, Freestyle Metal X is a frenetic, kinetic, and in all other ways 'etic title that, given a little more polish, would've been an excellent game all around. Based on the traditional, now stereotyped, Tony Hawk style gameplay, Freestyle Metal X doesn't do a change up on anything that doesn't need it, and I like it that way. With a slight variation from the normal gameplay, and with only a few minor nags, this is a title worth getting if you're into dirt bike action.
We start out with your standard choice of beginning bikers, with a small selection of bikes to use during competition. Later you'll unlock more bikes and more riders, but for now you'll have to settle with the starters and the ability to customize a great deal about your bike, especially factoring in its appearance. Only a few of the riders are the celebrity tricksters featured in the game's multitude of promotional material and videos, but they seem to have picked an interesting collection, including a real life rider named Twich, so dubbed because of his Tourette's Syndrome. Hey, his interview on the game said it, I didn't.
Gameplay does involve visiting levels and completing objectives, but at least it prepares you with a strong and detailed tutorial system. It's a little frustrating as the tutorials aren't fully informative, but if you've got the skills, it's nothing to worry about. The most annoying thing to pick up and use later in the game is the trick system, which relies on a series of key pressed followed by the trick button, occasionally modified with a trickout button. The game has a clutch that lets you rip up to decent speeds, allowing for large air on good takeoffs, but it's still hard to kick off a good trick all the time. The controls are par for the course, giving you a smooth and easy to handle method of controlling your racer. As I said before, the tricks are the only really difficult part, and they're definitely one of the things I would've improved before release.
My other two gripes lie in the graphics for FMX. First, it isn't always that pretty of a title, and even for a multi-platform featured on the Xbox, I'd hoped for more from a PS2 title. Second, when it shows its flaws, it really shows its flaws, such as in the case of the hall of fire stunt match, with really bad looking fire tunnels.
It's got a great collection of levels, and you'll get invited to perform daredevil stunts if you keep with it long enough. The stunts themselves were my favorite, especially given that you can attempt to perform a 9 loop course, kinda like driving through the inside of a giant coil. The greatest feature of the game is that once unlocked, you can apparently drive from one end of the first level all the way to the end of the last level, as they're all connected portions of one large city, which the designers claim loads seamlessly. I didn't get a chance to go from one end to the other, but I did get to go between a few sections of the game, and it was mighty impressive.
All said, I think it's only those few flaws that keep this game from being a really good and worthwhile buy.