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.
I have never really liked
having to shift gears, or use the breaks and this is a game that doesnt 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.
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.
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.
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.