If desperately clinging to, a bucking two-wheeled I machine is your Idea of fun, then you might want to chance your arm at the largely ignored sport of motocross. Careering over terrain clearly not intended for smooth transportation, twatting your face on the handlebars or crushing your knackers on the petrol tank Is an occupational hazard, as is sporadically being tossed through the air like a rag doll. In this country the sport is largely the preserve of country bumpkins, and some years ago we ruled the world. Motocross is also the national sport of Belgium, if that helps.
It wasn't long before the Americans saw its potential though, and started entering - and inevitably winning - the World Championship. As is their wont, our Stateside chums also bastardised the sport, leading to the stadium-bound Supercross which takes place over man-made courses mainly consisting of unlikely jumps, with as much time spent airborne as tearing up the track. As a spectacle, these affairs are in the same ballpark as the ubiquitous Monster Truck events. And perhaps sinisterly, Microsoft also have a game called Monster Truck Madness, clearly touting the White Trash vote; although the number of PCs per trailer park must be negligible.
Clinical insanity isn't a prerequisite for Motocross Madness though, and it is certainly a lot less expensive - and less dangerous - than the real thing. It is no pastime for the lily-livered, and the game seeks to capture the thrills and spills of the sport at its most extreme, replicating traditional motocross as well as the more extravagant stunt-based shenanigans, albeit with a distinctly American flava - so no tearing around a field in Hampshire, or incurring the wrath of the Welsh farming community. The courses all appear to be in the middle of nowheresville, USA, boasting such names as Augusta Park, Bela's Bluegrass and Claymore Hills. In the single-event option, up to ten opponents can be raced against over a choice of 14 different outdoor circuits of variet topology, encompassing huge gashes in the landscape as well as more sober desert-based affairs. The whole lot can also be combined to form a championshii season, with points awarded accordingly. Endurance fans are also catered for, the game featuring two long-distance Baja courses, in common with Red Orb's forthcoming Baja 1000 Racing-, although with Motocross Madness two wheels would appear to be better than four. If sitting in a stadium chewing on burgers and guzzling liquid sugar while whooping unnecessarily is your thing (if you're American, then), Motocros Madness should appease you via its Supercross section, with bikes tearing around tightly designed tracks in stadiums clearly designed for hoofing air-filled leather around. Again, solo races can be attempted or an entire season can be played, encompassing San Diego, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta,Tampa Bay, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Dallas. iVhich is nice. And if you're still not satisfied with tear-arsing around half of America, a track editor enables you to virtually import several tons of soil and fashion a course according to your own design, making it as easy or as difficult as you want.
For the Pepsi Max drinkers, a stunt quarry competition is included, taking place in five different rock quarries where competitors must complete as many stunts as possible to succeed. There are 16 separate tricks to attempt, and these take the form of standard ostentatious activities involving limbs being angled in unnatural directions, and the bike being tossed around like a BMX in the hands of a particularly reckless solvent abuser.
The game boasts a unique rider and bike physics model, which on an early look appears to work a treat. As well as controlling the throttle, brake, steering and gears on the bike, the crucial factor of the rider's centre of gravity has been cunningly integrated into the control system. What this means is that if you get a jump wrong and find yourself in danger of falling off the back of the bike and acquiring a heavily bruised coccyx - not to mention ego - the position can be rectified by lurching forward and steadying the flight path of the bike. You can also lean to either side to straighten the bike out, or simply give it some angle poise to impress any watching women. We've had an early version in the office, and most people have had a bit of a dabble on it. Early impressions are that it could be pretty cool, with the centre of gravity feature proving very effective, although mastering it will inevitably take some time.
Without wishing to add further weight to Microsoft's world domination enterprise, they do boast a joypad which is perfectly suited to the game, namely the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro. At the recent E3 'do', Motocross Madness figured prominently on the Microsoft stand, and they wisely opted to attach said joypads to every PC running the game. Using a combination of minuscule gyroscopes and black magic, the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro enables you to shift your arse around on the seat without resorting to anything as vulgar as primitive button-pressing. By simply tilting the pad in the right direction, you can ably steady your bike and pull off some fancy moves. It works splendidly, and if Microsoft were to bundle it in some kind of exploitative deal then everyone would be happy, as going back to a normal pad or a keyboard after using the Freestyle just isn't the same. Nevertheless, it is shaping up to be a handsome game, although crashing into other riders and being violently thrown over the handlebars occurs far too often at the moment. We'll soon get the hang of it though, and we'll let you know exactly how good it is as soon as is humanly possible. You lucky people.
Download Motocross Madness
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
2018-11-29 Motocross Madness game added.
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