Just like THPS only different: and
not as good. Thats the short version. The long version is that Dave Mirra Freestyle
BMX is a decent game hoping to score a little piece of the Tony Hawk pie. Instead of a
skateboard you have a BMX, and instead of spending most of your time in warehouses and
urban jungles, you spend your time on dirt trails and backyard bike parks. This is all
well and good; after all, THPS has a formula and a style that have been proven winners. I
can see the temptation to follow in the footsteps of Pro Skater, but the danger is that by
doing so developers risk stumbling or even falling on their face when their stride proves
too weak to follow the dancing footsteps of the masters. This is what happened to Dave
Mirra as it attempted to follow the unrivaled Tony Hawk franchise. Its pretty decent
in its own right, but it just doesnt compare.
The biggest weakness in Dave Mirra
Freestyle BMX is the physics system, which is problematic in three primary ways. First,
making a tight turn at a low speed is difficult, especially in confined spaces. While your
character is rolling ineptly around, bouncing off of walls, and trying to peddle in right
damn direction, his real world counter part is simply planting his leg and whipping the
bike a hundred and eighty degrees then proceeding on his merry little way. Second,
its way too easy to grind. I enjoy grinding, dont get me wrong, but its
possible to get caught in momentum loops where you bounce back and forth between objects
and, among other things, can land huge multi-part tricks almost in spite of yourself and
by complete accident. Third, and this is the big one, basic fundamental actions like
jumping are unacceptably inconsistent. As with any such game, you eventually gain a sense
for the how big a jump is and how fast youre moving, but sometimes this simply
doesnt apply in Dave Mirra. There are points that have to be hit or reached off of a
jump. They look so high youre not sure youll be able to hit them. And
youre right. Except, all of a sudden when youve reached the pinnacle of your
jump, youre mysteriously sucked straight up to your target by some sort of strange
vacuum effect. This is sloppy, impossible to judge, and takes the fun out of some of the
are about average for the Dreamcast. There are a few clipping problems, but fortunately
you dont have to spend a lot of time near the edges of the levels, so this is easily
overlooked. Neither the riders, bikes, or levels will do anything to astound you, but
theyre solid with decent textures and a wide variety of terrain and obstacles.
is excellent and features an impressive band list including Sublime, Social Distortion,
Cypress Hill, Pennywise, Rancid, and others. Bikers and extreme sports fans alike will
undoubtedly find some enjoyable tunes to ride to. And when playing two player games that
stop and start a lot, its nice to hear that the music continues, pausing for menu
screens and player switches, but not endlessly looping so you only hear the first thirty
seconds of a song about four hundred times.
Game play in
Dave Mirra is pretty solid, barring the aforementioned physics problems. Each stage
initially has amateur challenges to complete. When these are finished, you can take on the
pro challanges, and finally the hardcore challenges. Beating the challenges unlocks more
levels, new bikes, new sponsors, and new outfits. Eventually you'll qualify for the pro
tour and the medal competitions. Instead of challenges, these levels are scored by judges.
Theyre looking for style, not just high score, so youll be rewarded for big
air, rad tricks, and for not wiping out.
system is relatively simple to learn, and can produce some pretty spectacular moves. Once
in the air, tricks are preformed using a single button and joystick movement combined with
a spin. These tricks can then be modified by a second button to produce more spectacular
tricks. Its relatively simple once you get the hang of it, and in almost no time
your can bust out with back flips, tail whips, and the extremely cool superman. There are
also ample grind tricks. Between all the wheels, bars, and pegs, a BMX bike can produce
some pretty cool grind combinations.
keeps track of several different stats including highest air, longest grind, biggest
single trick, and biggest trick combo, among others. This is pretty cool because it allows
several different people to hold records on the same track. This helps generate
competition when several people are making use of the same game because the fruits of an
excellent run are preserved, thereby guaranteeing your right to talk smack.
Dave Mirra also
features several different multi-player games. Theres the standard games, like
horse, and quite a few where two players try for the highest wall tap, biggest air,
longest jump, etc. The most original game is where two players square off to see who can
get into the biggest crash. Theres actually a lot of strategy in this, as you plan a
route to get enough speed to get huge air and try to line it up so you can bounce your
head off a few ledges and try to land on the back of your neck. Unfortunately, all the
multi-player games utilize alternating turns rather than a split screen. Theres a
lot of cool games you can play by taking turns, but the split screen would have been nice.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX is a pretty fun, although imperfect, game. If youve played
Tony Hawk till your eyes bled and just cant take another game, then Dave Mirra will
put some spice back in your freestyle longings--especially if you happen to be a big BMX
fan. Its no Pro Skater, but its more than capable of entertaining and amusing.