Jeremy McGrath Supercross World
The King is back! No, not Elvis'Jeremy McGrath. Hop on your cycle and get ready to fly around 25 different tracks in four different events and pull off dozens of nutty tricks while racing as or against some of today's greatest Supercross riders in Jeremy McGrath Supercross World.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Within five minutes of popping in the game, I realized just how similar to Microsoft's Motocross Madness this game is. If you've played Motocross Madness then you already have a very good idea of what is all about. But just because they're similar doesn't mean they're the same, though.
Supercross World is made of up four different events in the Single Event Mode: Baja, Indoor, Outdoor, and Freestyle. In case you aren't familiar with these, Baja is a checkpoint race in a huge outdoor area. Indoor and Outdoor are both very similar types of track races although Indoor typically has much tighter turns since it's in a smaller area. Freestyle has you attempting to pull off stunts for the most points in a set amount of time. Within each event are several different tracks that take place in many different environments such as arid deserts, lush forests, snow-covered mountains, and rolling countryside vineyards just to name a few. Of course the indoor and freestyle tracks all take place in an arena so you won't see much variance to the environment there. When you first start the game a few tracks are open and a few more are locked. On each course are five different bonuses, which are described before you start the race. It often isn't possible to get all of the bonuses on a single run but fortunately the ones you get are so you can go back as much as you want to complete the bonuses. The bonuses give the game some extra flair and make this more than just an ordinary motorcycle racing/stunt game. While some are easy to achieve such as pulling off a particular stunt or completing a lap in under a certain time, there are others that are really difficult such as grabbing some bags of cash that are floating above jumps or performing a triple stunt combo.
The back of the DVD case mentions something called the "New Stunt Advantage System". I think they forgot to put "Dis" in front of that "Advantage." Performing tricks is a huge challenge in and of itself. To do stunts, you need to do combinations of controller buttons and movements in the right order. It's much like doing special moves in Mortal Kombat or only harder. The stunts range from pretty easy to just plain crazy. I found that the timing needs to be perfect to do many of the stunts and due to the difficulty, it really detracted from the game. I'm sure some people might enjoy the challenge, but it might've been nice to have the option of a simplified stunt system too. When you do stunts in the game you'll be given a score. Holding a stunt for a longer period of time will score additional points and multiple combinations of stunts will add a multiplier to the score. If you perform the same stunts over and over again, the judges will deduct points from the amount that you received for the stunt so you'll need to learn a bunch and vary them. In addition to points received for stunts, you can also build up a meter that will give you turbo boosts.
Because of the difficulty of the stunts, I found the game much easier if I just didn't perform any when just trying to race. Unfortunately, this doesn't cut it during the Freestyle mode. Aside from the stunts, the control feels pretty responsive. In addition to your steering and throttling, you can move the camera around, but it's of virtually no use as it snaps back to its original position as soon as you release the C-stick. You can preload your jumps (pulling up on your bike just as you go off a jump for more air). Unfortunately if you aren't familiar with what preloading is, the manual doesn't explain it and it's an essential maneuver for mastering this game (see documentation section below for more gripes on this). You can also power slide around turns, which will give you a much sharper turn. Again, this is essential on certain tracks and when you first start the career mode.
Career mode is another feature in the game that allows you to see who's the best of the best over several different tracks. All four of the Single Event Mode events are here and are separated into Amateur, Pro, and Hardcore, the latter two being locked when you first start. Completing an event will unlock another track for you to play on and will put a trophy in the trophy room. When you start career mode, the rider you select has almost no skill at all and you will definitely notice a difference in the way the bike handles as compared to playing in Single Event Mode where your riders all have pretty decent riding skills.
Both Single Event and Career modes allow you to select one of several real Supercross riders such as Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, Ezra Lusk, Sebastien Tortelli, Tim Ferry, Grant Langston, and Nathan Ramsey. Each rider has four stats: Stability, Cornering, Jumping, and Stunt Skill. When you play in Single Event mode each rider has different skill levels in each area ranging from 1 to 5. In the Career mode, they all start at level one and you'll need to build up points as you win events. In addition, there are several bikes to choose from and all have a few stats too: Top Speed, Powerband (acceleration), Suspension, and Traction. Not all of the bikes are available when you start, but can be unlocked eventually. You can also select what difficulty you want to race in, how many opponents you'll race against, and how many laps (or how much time in Freestyle) you'll go. Unfortunately if you modify the default settings you cannot go after the bonuses.
No complaints here by GameCube standards. As compared to a PS2 or Xbox game, well, it's just not on par, but I think that's to be expected. Everything looks really good. About the only art that seemed to be lacking was the background sky/clouds/mountains. If you look close it looks blurry and pixelated and not even up to par for this system. Fortunately, you don't see that much unless you travel to the end of the map because you'll have tons of other hills, trees, houses, tractors, etc, etc, etc (and I do mean etc'there are a TON of objects scattered all over) blocking your view. All of the graphics except the background are clean, crisp, clear, and colorful. Supercross World would be a wonderful place to vacation if you like eye candy. Just ask the people that parked the RV or the people that set up a campsite near the track.
Pretty decent. Most of the sounds consist of an engine that revs up and down as you throttle around. You'll also hear the other cycles around you as well as plenty of ambient sound that are quite fitting for the environment that you're racing in. For instance, the indoor supercross will let you hear the crowd cheering you on while the great outdoors has lovely chirping birds and such. You probably won't notice most of the effects if the music is on, however. The music is hard and upbeat and exactly the type of tuneage you'd expect to hear in a high-energy game like this these days. Some of the songs are from groups such as Mellencolin, The Hellacopters, and Lunatic Calm. Of course, if you don't like this kind of music you can always turn it off.
I did enjoy the bonus challenges on each level even though some are kind of frustrating to achieve. I felt it really added a lot to what would otherwise just be another racing/stunt type game and I found myself going back over and over again to tryy and complete all the bonuses.
You better read it otherwise you aren't going to have a clue as to how to do any stunts as well as perform other actions in the game. Unfortunately, the manual doesn't describe all of the controls or gameplay adequately. For instance, there is no description at all as to what the "preload" control does or how it should be used. I guess if you watch or race bikes a lot then you'll know what it is but to the rest of us we'll remain clueless. The manual also describes all the stunts you can do. Keep the book nearby as a reference for these otherwise you won't get many stunt points.
Overall this is a pretty fun game that is definitely challenging. So why did I give it such a low score? There appear to be several problems in this game that are pretty blatant and really take away from how much more fun the game could be. The first and worst is that the game locked up on me several times. I would just be in the middle of a race and boom - everything froze hard. Even the reset button on the console wouldn't restart the game. Next, on some Outdoor tracks from out of nowhere the game would tell me I'm off the track or going the wrong way, count down, and reset me back quite a ways (this is understandable if I took a shortcut or something, but I was following the intended course). There are lots of different ambient structures, vehicles and whatnot scattered around the course. Some of these appear to be ramps or things you can jump off of. If you try to take on any of these at a speed fast enough that you could get some air, you're guaranteed to crash. I also found that sometimes I would be in mid jump not doing any type of stunts or anything and the bike would just crash for no reason and fall to the ground. And apparently your opponents are made of steel because if you hit one of them, you'll crash but they just keep on riding as if nothing ever happened.
In a nutshell, this is Motocross Madness mixed with Mortal Kombat. It's a good game that could have been great if there weren't so many problems and the stunts were a little easier to pull off. Overall the game is fun, but very frustrating at times, especially when it locks up the GameCube. Without all of the problems the game probably would have received a score of about 85, but there were enough serious problems that I had to drop the score to 78.