Review By: Joe Rolfe
Coast Power & Light
32-bit console generationís last few years, an explosion of
motocross games surged onto the scene with each annual turn.
Electronic Arts, Acclaim and THQ each vied for the action sport
racing crown with their new releases, all trying to get to the
sacred spot that Nintendoís classic NES title Excitebike (and
itís future N64 sequel) held. And even though competition
usually breeds quality results, the motocross crowd never really
got a winner on par with the Big Nís efforts. THQís early
PSone versions of Ricky Carmichael, despite decent critical
support, never really took off with the public. However, that
hasnít stopped them from trying once again with the new PS2
hardware. Now, after years of experience on the dusty PSne, THQ
and developer Pacific Coast Power & Light set out to create
a new motocross champ on PlayStation 2, and itís results have
come through quite well though in MX 2002 featuring Ricky
forewarned: if anyone is expecting a new motocross revolution in
gaming, then youíll be surely disappointed with MX 2002. There
is quite a lack of modes in the game, featuring a plain
Exhibition mode, a shallow Career option (read: shallow
customization) and the Freestyle mode. The game just has a
dearth of discrepancy and variety, so donít be awaiting a wide
selection of modes and a myriad of bells Ďn whistles.
MX 2002 is quite a fun game. The game has a nice selection of
indoor and outdoor tracks, featuring diverse environments
ranging from snowy ice covered hills to a construction site
complete with heavy machinery. Controlling MX takes little time,
utilizing nearly all the buttons on the controlling. Gamers must
learn how to punch the clutch accordingly to get the quickest
time scores (and outrun the opponents) and angle the bikes
correctly for landing in hopes not to put too much weight on the
front or back wheels.
to Tony Hawk-style gameplay may find the trick scheme
uncomfortable at first, but it can become second nature with
practice. Instead of button-tapping succession combos as seen in
the Birdmanís skating games, MX2002 is a tad bit more
complicated. To gain the biggest air, gamers have to work the
springs right by putting on a bit of downforce while approaching
jumps, and then using button-holding combos in the air to get
trick points. Itís not quite as ergonomically friendly as THPS,
but MX2002 can easily be mastered with just a little time spent.
Overall, the physics and controls are done quite nicely.
visual front, MX2002 will please the eye, although itís not
anywhere near taxing the systemís power. The bikers are
modeled with an average amount of detail and have little to no
individual actions. Thankfully, the gameís tracks and outdoor
environments make up for the bland riders with their highly
detailed and designed look. Great, realistic looking textures
give them an authentic feel and little objects like trees and
(once again) heavy machinery give the game a bit of character
and charm. Most importantly, it all runs at a slick frame rate
for smooth driving, so thereís hardly any pop up or slowdown
game suffers the worse. While the engine revs and muffles are
standard stuff, the gameís selection of music is poor at best.
MX2002 has bands such as bland rock group Saliva and annoying
pop-"punk" bands like American Hi-Fi and Sum-41. Of
course, itís all a matter of taste, but the music just doesnít
energize me as much as THPS2 did with its wide arrangement of
indy punk and classic hip hop sounds. Not to mention that the
game only gives you 7 total songs to pick from and itís just
best to turn the whole music part off in the game.
For the most
part, Ricky Carmichael MX2002 is a nice first entry into the
next-generation motocross scene. While it does have some
problems in each aspect of the game, thereís nothing too
immense to detract from the fun racing physics and great tracks.
Iím sure that the coming motocross games will eclipse this one
in most categories, but for now MX2002 ainít a bad start at
- Substantial graphics.
- Great bike physics.
- Interesting and diverse
- Pretty weak on extra
options and modes.
- Career mode could use a
heavy injection of depth.
- You call this music?
first effort from the boys at THQ. It obviously could use some
polish and a bit of work in each part of the game, but MX
2002 shows a lot of promise for the future. Rent it if youíre
just a casual racing fan, but definitely take a strong look into
it for those motocross freaks out there. You wonít be