Motocross racing has held many a young person in its thrall for years. As many more have come to realize, it’s not as easy as it may look. Broken bones, internal injuries and bad posture have plagued real life racers for as long as the sport has been around. So for those of us who could never fully realize what it is to hurtle ourselves many, many feet in the air, Atari and Infogrames have brought motocross racing home on the PS2 -- but I think I would rather have suffered the agony of the inevitable compound fractures.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
MXrider is a third person perspective racer where players select from one of the 60 riders available and throw themselves into the exciting world of motocross racing. The controls are simple, as either the left analog stick or d-pad control the steering while the right side buttons and triggers control the speed and stunts. It’s a fairly easy configuration that works well with the game schematics. The game has several modes which can be accessed at the title screen: Single race, Freestyle, Championship, Challenge and Multiplayer. The single race has an AI selector that allows you to tweak the level of difficulty that the computer riders have. I was fairly disappointed right away that this game has what I call "auto-catch-up." Basically, the riders who fall too far back in the pack get a little boost from the game allowing them to get more involved in the race. This is my biggest beef in all racing style games. The auto-catch-up function is something that should be turned on or off, at the players’ leisure. Anyway, the single race is just that, pick a rider and a bike and have at it.
The next mode is Freestyle. The Freestyle mode allows players to perform stunts and break records (like longest jump). It is here that the best parts of this sad game come into play, as performing enough stunts and scoring enough points opens up the other arenas. When you break the record, a small window pops up and tells you how far (or how high) you actually leapt -- like you want to take your concentration away and read the incredibly small print. In this mode you also can win fans’ respect and admiration. Why this is in the game, as it has no overall effect, is beyond me. The Championship mode allows players to compete as a full-fledged rider. You will ride through several seasons, accumulating money and racing points in an effort to become the top rider. There are 23 officially licensed tracks on which the races run. Tracks do vary and some even have some interesting surprises that are a welcome addition. Unfortunately, most of the tracks didn’t look that good. Oh, and there is an option that puts up invisible barriers so you don’t fly out of bounds. Yes, I played this game the bare minimum required to do a review, not a minute longer. The only other semi-original mode was the Challenge section of the game. Here, you are given a specific challenge to pass with an already selected rider and motorbike. In this mode, if you pass the challenges, you can unlock one of the three hidden riders. I almost wished that the riders unlocked were fantasy characters, like a sasquatch or cowboy. That’s how uninspiring this game was, I was wishing it had extras like the early 90’s game, NBA Jams. Lastly this game had a multiplayer mode where two players can race split screen in the above venues.
It’s not a good sign when the back of the packaging features grainy, blurry graphics for its selling shots. The game really looks like it belonged on the PS One console, it was that poor. And that’s not even fair to the PS One, as I have seen better racing graphics on the Game Boy Advance. Whew! Not good. The terrain looks just positively plain and the character/dirt bike colors were bland and muddy looking. Yes, there was a horizon distance that gave the correct depth of the game, but if everything else looks poor, who cares about the horizon? One bright side, the sky looked nice, cause that’s what I look for in my games -- good looking skies.
Hearing the crowd cheer is the only thing that I can say sounded good. Dirt bikes didn’t have the rough growly sound that I expected. Instead, I felt that the bike sounds were too thin and high pitched. Now, as some of you may know, dirt bikes can run at a high pitch, but not throughout the entire race. I feel that even the game makers knew they could have done a better job on the game as a whole, but had already passed the point of no return.
There are far better motocross games out there. I can honestly say that you should not purchase this game, as I feel that it isn’t worthy of gracing the PlayStation 2. If you are looking for fun motorcycle/off road style racing, pick up the far superior ATV Off-Road Fury. My normal opinion is to rent all games that you take any sort of interest in, this time I must say, don’t bother.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP