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Freestyle Metal X - PS2 - Preview

The phrase "where the rubber meets the road" is not always applicable in the world of motor-driven games. Sometimes there is no road, and sometimes ­ if the stunt goes awry ­ it isn’t rubber that’s meeting the road and those aren't tire marks left behind.

Midway Sports Asylum’s pending release of Freestyle Metal X, is a high-flying, stunt-based motocross game that will not only have players trying to leap buildings with aerial antics racking up big points, but also confronting farm livestock and running down pedestrians to unlock tricks and stunts.

See granny hobbling across the yard. Plow into her on your motorcycle and you will unlock a stunt to try when you launch off the ramp over the farmhouse. And granny may be hobbling now, but she can get rather spry in a hurry when you give chase on your bike.

GameZone.com was given the opportunity to strap on a helmet in the beta for the PlayStation2 and rather than finding a game full of horrific violence, and blood patches across the pavement, found a program that has attitude and fun.

The game features 16 riders including nine of the sports top riders like Clifford "The Flyin’ Hawaiian" Adoptante, Ronnie Faisst, "Mad" Mike Jones, Jeff Tilton and Nate Adams. You can unlock the riders after completing levels and attaining the high score. There are eight levels with up to four competitions per level (Big Air, Freestyle, Race and Hill Climb). There are side events and for the first time in a sports game, once you unlock an area, it links with another, which enables seamless driving from one area to the other.

And the game’s soundtrack is worthy in its own right. This is metal rock and the game features the music of Motley Crue, Megadeth, Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Twisted Sister, among others. Each rider has his or her share of attitude and much of that is reflected by the vocal personification of each.

The control elements on this game have been kept quite simple and players should take little time in growing accustomed to flying over a ramp, hitting the trick button and using the thumbpad in concert for a superman of back flip, or even tromping on the brake and using the thumbpad for a stoppie

The graphical elements are very well done. The environments are lush, diverse and interactive to some extent. Bust up a porch or drive through a pasture fence and the damage remains.

The animation is also solid. If a rag crashes, the body flops through the air or along the ground like a broken rag doll. Ouch! The game does contain blood effects and too many crashes equal a trip to the hospital and game over.

Freestyle Metal X does contain some elements that may make parents cringe, but they are all in fun and mostly keep in the same vein as the zany, over-the-top style of other Midway sports games. The beta was far from complete, but from what there was, this looks to be a well-designed, graphically exciting foray into the world of motocross.
 
 

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