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by THQ

kiss5.jpg (5162 bytes)There is a skateboarding series out there that has forever changed the video game landscape. You might know it as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Since then many other sports that rely on tricks have flooded the market, making it almost as ubiquitous as kart racing games. MX2002 consists of the two-wheeled trick mayhem of Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX, but gives it a gas-powered motor instead of your feet on pedals. Motocross games have been around since the dynamic Excitebike for the NES. Many years later and on an entirely different system, THQ brings us MX2002, and there are not only lots of tricks, but some good arcade racing as well.

bussui2.jpg (5689 bytes)MX2002 is a motocross game that encompasses all aspects of the sport, from racing laps to seeing how many points you can get by performing various tricks. There are many different ways you can play it. First, is the ever-present pure race in which you choose a rider and a course to compete against five computer opponents. If you have a friend over you can take him on in either a race or in the freestyle competition. Finally, the mode you should be playing is the career mode. When beginning a career mode you can create how you want your character look you and choose either Oakley or Fox as a sponsor. After you have chosen your wardrobe you choose your "hog" from such manufacturers as Kawasaki, even team THQ. Once you have finished, give your creation a name/number to be your representation. You will begin as an amateur and as you defeat your competition, you will advance to the upper levels. As you go, you will also unlock courses to be played in the multiplayer and free race modes.

lusksx7.jpg (7597 bytes)You have 30 pro riders to choose from, in case creating your own character isn’t you thing, and 22 real-world racing locations. Featured pros include: Carey Hart, Mike Jones, Mike LaRocco, Trevor Vines, Kevin Windham, Ezra Lusk, and newcomer, James "Bubba" Stewart. Featured tracks include: Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championships, the Chevy Trucks US Motocross Championships, Free Ride Moto-X Championships, and the THQ US Open. The real-world courses are modelled from satellite imaging data to give them an ultra-realistic feel.

scrn06-01.jpg (5981 bytes)THQ has taken the method of performing tricks from such games as Sled Storm in which by pressing either the L2/R2 buttons along with either one of the four buttons on the front of the controller you will perform a variety of moves. To maximize the point you also need to time the landings right in order to get a bonus. Getting moves to perform correctly is a challenge, but soon becomes second nature and you will be performing 360 degree Hart Attacks, defying the laws of gravity as you go. Controls respond well to give you the edge you need.

scrn04-01.jpg (6203 bytes)MX2002 will not win any awards for its graphics. During jumps and tricks, the characters move with a more realistic style than when they are just on the ground. They remind me of those rigid motorcycle toys from my youth. These toys used to have plastic men that sat on the bike. Unable to be posed, they were stationary. It's almost funny watching the characters in the game ride over a series of bumps with their arms locked out. What is a distraction, however, is the horrid collision detection system. When another body or bike falls on you, or you fall on another body or bike, you are usually the one to get knocked down. I personally get frustrated at these stonewall bikers, especially when near the finish you go from 1st to 6th. You do get a sense of speed even when there are multiple characters on screen. It would have been nice, though, if there were more than just one view to play the game.

scrn01-01.jpg (6616 bytes)What it lacks in the visuals it makes up for in the audio. Music tracks from various bands, each with a fast tempo, increase the excitement of the race. I'm not real sure what genre the bands belong in. Anymore, you need a desk reference set just to figure it out. To go along with the tempo setting music is the mighty small engine sound. There are some strange quirks that accompany the sound of the engines. Whenever you take air the sound of the engine becomes mute until you land again. Whenever you are unfortunate enough to have mistimed a trick a thud followed by a groan or two is in your future with resounding clarity.

scrn02-01.jpg (7520 bytes)Even counting all the graphical problems, MX 2002 featuring Ricky Carmichael is still a fan game that is full of enjoyment. Fans of motocross and racers should go out and buy it immediately. Those who want a slight change of pace from the pro whatever series ought to give this game a look-see. Although it’s not the prettiest game, there are gems to be mined.

Jake Carder   (07/24/2001)


Ups: Tight controls; great music; lots of racers; lots of tracks.

Downs: Poor collision detection; rider anims a bit odd.

Sony PlayStation 2


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