I like THQ, and I like Motorbikes. I find Motocross pretty cool...but not the game. I'm sorry but this is a low ranker and a very poor execution of the genre. People have accused me/us in the past of stacking ratings and pandering to the companies regardless of how crap the title in question is. Well, you're about to learn the cold hard truth of the matter - if I don't like something you'll find out. And you're also going to find out why I don't like it.
MXSuperFly featuring Richy Carmichael is a mediocre stab at the world of combined Motocross, Supercross and Freestyle. Pulling together the different parts of these genres and it doesn't quite work well at all. There are some good things about the game, but there are also some appalling things about it than make the game a chore to play. To begin with I am always leery of anything that adds a 'star' to the game, as if you're going to go out and buy it on the strength of the name.
We have Tony Hawke's games, we have Matt Hoffman's, and we have some other games that have big name genre stars added to them. But they're billed as such, not featuring, but the star in question has given their name to the game itself. So far we're not off to a very good start at all. But I hoped that the game would live up to the graphics on the back of the box.
It really didn't, the graphics don't make use of the PS2's features at all - there are some nice touches here and there in the animations and the fact that if you fall off the bike your character's costume is covered in mud. But that doesn't make a great game, you can have all the eyecandy in the world but if the gameplay doesn't come up to par, you're left feeling as though you've eaten a pizza - without any of the core ingredients.
So let's look at the features of the game according to the back of the box.
22 race tracks, freestyle arenas and massive environments to explore.
27 Professional riders to play and #1 rider, Richy Carmichael.
You can place ramps, buses, jumps in the new Stunt Track Editor.
You can earn cash in racing and freestyle modes.
It has multiplayer and you can play the racing and freestyle modes head to head.
11 mini-games to play.
Sounds good? You'd think so, but I'm afraid the whole package is rather lack-lustre. It didn't hold my attention for long enough - and the Stunt Editor is a fun diversion for a very short period of time. To go back to the graphics first, I found the whole thing to be very sparse. The character models were ok, their textures were good but nothing to write home about and the tracks/backgrounds felt tacked on. There were some problems with pop up on the PS2, not too many, and there were some definite dodgy textures here and there. The mud on the costume when you take a dirt nap is pretty good but that's about it. I can't really say anymore about it to be honest in that area.
And I've also heard mention that it looks a lot nicer on the Gamecube as well.
Sounds? Well, the music is the best thing in the game, featuring a lot of hard-hitting bands and good songs. The sound effects are ok for the drone of the bikes and the screech of tires around the course. Nothing special again, and for a bike game like this it doesn't really need it. Commentators make comments at the start, and usually when you're on your final lap. They don't say different things, just inform you when it's time to start the show and end it, again - this is really all that's needed.
Summary: Ok graphics on the PS2, nothing fantastic and nothing out of the ordinary. Feels a bit rushed to me, but the mud on the costume is nice when you do take a fall.
Now onto the gameplay, you can experience the Racing mode or the Freestyle mode. In racing it's the old, race around and earn cash to compete in higher leagues. This was actually fairly enjoyable and managed to lift the game from a 40% score to a 60% score. Rider AI seemed a bit sketchy at times but forgivable, I was able to place 1st on a number of occasions and the replay camera at the end of the race was good to get an overview of where I could have improved my ride.
Freestyle was not as enjoyable, I found the arenas lacked a little in size and it was a bit tricky to get the right speed for a run-up. Tricks are ok, and the system can be set to advanced or easy mode allowing you to pull of stunts in a variety of ways. Again the stunts are ok, and some of them are pretty way over the top. A bonus for sure if you like that kind of thing, then again, I was a big fan of the new Big-Air moves in SSX Tricky so I'd like to see more stunts like this. In Freestyle you compete against other riders to try and outscore them, and that's about the sum of it. Earn cash, advance and enter better leagues seems to be the theme of the game.
A brief foray into the Mini-Games found a few old favourites like Horse, where you have to perform a set list of tricks - fail and you get a letter, take too long and you get a letter. First one to spell HORSE is out. Then there's Pizza Delivery where you have to collect Pizzas and deliver them to marked areas on your screen. I found the map here to be of little help and the whole thing was more frustrating than trying to get an answer out of the Post Office when a package goes missing.
You can play Race, Freestyle and the Mini-games multiplayer so it might be a good game to mess around on, with your mates. But that's about it, I can't really find much more to say about it...apart from I wish that it had of been better. The Arcade handling of the bikes makes it easier to play than the other games of it's kind, but the lack of polish on the Gameplay and somewhat dull graphics, modes and levels makes the game sink into the dark waters of obscurity faster than a sailing ship with a leaky hull. Not a game I'd recommend to be honest, not for the PS2, if the game is better on the Gamecube and you own both machines...I'd suggest going for the Gamecube one.