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1995-2001
GamesFirst! Magazine

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by THQ

30rider4-01.jpg (5038 bytes)Racing games have long been classified into two rather large groups – Arcade and Simulators. The difference is that on one side there is brainless speed and excitement, and on the other there is a serious effort to simulate the experience of racing and all the little details that are contained therein. Championship Motocross 2001 is definitely in the first group. Not being a real-life motocrosser, and not having played this type of game much in the past, I found this title very easy to pick-up and enjoy. My Mario Kart skills proved to be a real advantage as this title is all about the powerslide.

47047_l01-01.jpg (4585 bytes)I have never really liked having to shift gears, or use the breaks and this is a game that doesn’t really require such things. A real fan of the genre might not like this, but arcade racers will. The tracks are well designed with a nice number of jumps and turns placed in logical locations. The dirt flying through the air behind the tires is also a nice touch. The graphics, overall are rather dated and primitive, with stiff, uninteresting animation (no motion-capture here), but are solid enough to avoid much in the way of pop-up. Color ranges in the texture-palette were also reasonably wide and rich.

47047_l06-01.jpg (4023 bytes)The game has strange inconsistencies here and there. It feels like another month, and more playtesting, would have been a real asset. The two biggest rough spots are the poorly readable menus and bizarre AI. The text throughout the game tends to blur into a big, whitish, nothing. This type of thing happens often when the developer never stops to actually try the game on an ordinary TV set. On the monitor connected to the development kit, or a sharper, S-video TV this is not a problem, but the letters are just too small for a standard, composite-video or RF-adapter Screen. You might think, who cares about the text? Well, if you are using a sports-celebrity like Ricky Carmichael to sell your product, it might be nice to actually be able to read his vital statistics.

47047_l13-01.jpg (4252 bytes)The AI is very strange as well. In a few of the races, I had no problem pulling into the lead and staying there. In others, the computer players would smoke me early on and there was simply no catching-up to the pack. It definitely seems to make a real difference to get into the lead early.

Sup14touch-01.jpg (4556 bytes)All in all, this is a fun game worth about $30.00. There are a decent number of racers, with unique handling characteristics, secrets to unlock, a lot of fun tracks, but not much in the way of gameplay-depth. Doing all the tricks and fancy moves seems to be a hit and miss thing, but as a kart-racer (no offense to THQ) this game is rather enjoyable, especially playing against a buddy. This is not a game to run out and buy at full price, but a great one to pick-up in the bargain bin.

Adam Albrec

Snapshot

Ups: Nice course design; lots of riders; good jumps; arcade-style.

Downs: Nearly unreadable text; bad AI; pulling off jumps and tricks is really tricky.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

 

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