reviews\ Dec 4, 2002 at 7:00 pm

BMX XXX - PS2 - Review

If anything, Grand Theft Auto 3 changed the way game designers push the limits of the Mature rating to see how far they can take things.  While the boundaries of tastelessness have been tested before with PC games such as Leisure Suit Larry, BMX XXX just shows how far games have come from simple pixilated raunchiness to streaming video footage of Manhattan’s favorite daughters from a little club called Scores.


The game’s main mode is a Hardcore Tour career mode where you start things off by selecting an available rider or designing your own semi-nude rider with the Rider Editor mode.  There are eight levels in this game but gamers must unlock them by completing the challenges in the first level--The Bronx in New York.  As in the majority of the extreme sports titles, you are given a list of challenges to complete and this is where the game tries to show it’s true colors.


Scattered throughout the levels are character who issue the challenges, for example, there are a few streetwalkers standing about in the street corners that you must take to their aggressive pimp or the Jehovah Witness boys that want you to grind a giant inflatable girl.  The humor just gets cruder when you pick up a port-a-potty with a very constipated construction worker inside it as you perform a number of tricks to help him ease his ills.  There is also a bit of collecting you must do in order to earn yourself the right to view a fifteen second video clip of actual Scores dancers strutting their stuff.  Thankfully there are no timers in this game--although you do have to watch your health meter--so you can take your time to explore and select the challenges you want to take.


As far as the controls are concerned, the game provides a somewhat solid trick-based engine that’s good enough to pull some rather neat tricks.  Picking up speed just comes naturally and in no time gamers will find themselves grinding pipes or other things and quickly picking up on the more difficult tricks such as transfers and wall rides.  The game moves at a steady frame rate so the tricks are smooth as silk when executed, although the landings are really the problem here.


The problem is that levels themselves are just so poorly designed that there is no real appeal to them and they lack the certain charm as seen in games like Aggressive Inline or Dave Mirra BMX 2.  There are plenty of ramps and tubes to perform tricks off of but the plainness of the environments will quickly bore gamers.  Secondly, many of the challenges found here--with the exception of the naughty ones--are not very original.  Also, you are not given an indication of what you’re suppose to do when you do accept a challenge.  For example, a firefighter will ask you to flip a few switches to get his hose running and you’ll find yourself desperately trying to locate the blasted switches and trying to beat the unfair timer while you‘re at it.


Unfortunately the game’s graphics are also not the game’s strongest point and much of it has to do with the riders themselves who look rather plain and sometimes even awful.  It also does not help that characters do not move naturally and instead appear more robot-like when they lift a limb for emphasis.  The surroundings are actually somewhat better to look at--although there are spots that are simply plain and uninteresting to look at.  As for the video footage of the exotic dancers, they’re over in second but are top quality nonetheless.  A note, though, for those expecting to see nudity: there is none to be found in this version of the game.


The part of the game that earns it it’s Mature rating is the language that can be downright vulgar to those who have a problem with the F-word being spouted more than a few times.  Much of the game’s raunchy humor consists of comments that a more immature mind will find hilarious such as the hot dog vendor innocently peddling “hot wieners.”  The sound effects are pretty low key and much of what you’ll hear is fast pedaling.   And the game’s music consists of old late 80s and early 90s tunes from Motley Crue to Green Day.


As bold and as offensive as it wanted to be, BMX XXX still does not live up to the hype it initially built up when it compared itself to “Animal House” with extreme BMX action thrown into it.  While there are naughty bits found throughout the game, it does not hide the poorly designed levels, so-so graphics and lack of innovation.  If you are able to find it in a rental store near you, I suggest you rent this one.


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 6.7
Pulling off flatland tricks and other cool tricks like nose wheelies are actually pretty easy.  Certain challenges require you to perform a set of moves in order to pass it such as grinding your way from one side of the building to another or performing a wall ride to spot X.  Some challenges, like the park challenge (that incidentally involves a pink poodle) has you trying to make a certain amount of points before completing the task requirement.  All of this is timed, of course.


Aside from the levels with people to interact with like Las Vegas, Syracuse, Sheep Hills, the Launch Pad and the Dam, there are competition levels such as the UGP Roots Jam and Rampage Skatepark to show your moves off.  Scattered throughout the levels are also bike parts to upgrade your ride.  There are also Gap Challenges you can complete (seen as a glowing streak) for rewards.


Graphics: 6.3
Sadly the graphics in this game are not spotless enough to give an extra punch to the game’s sight gags.   Actually, the game’s visuals are one step closer to a PSOne game since the characters are really blocky and plain looking.  You rider, be it your own creation, looks slightly better but its unfortunate that they do not move their limbs naturally, which gamers will see for themselves.  When your rider takes a horrible spill or manages to land awkwardly, the rider turns into a limp doll with no real movement.


The environments are also not as massive or as impressive as those seen in Aggressive Inline, although the Las Vegas level does have plenty to see like the inflated balloon of a stripper or the race track complete with speeding drivers.  Some areas have empty spots that stick out like sores such as the ones found in Sheep Hills and the Dam.


Sound: 6.4
You won’t believe the strings of profanity hurled at you throughout the levels and much of it has never been heard so frequently in one game before. While the voice acting isn’t always littered with swear words, there is humorous dialogue that pokes fun at everyone from a New Age hippie to a California Valley Girl shoplifter.


Oddly enough, the background music--which consists of well-known tunes by artists like De La Soul and Green Day--aren’t as prominently showed off, in fact, the sounds are particularly muted.  The stripper video footage is not only shot well but also features the music loud enough to make a gamer feel like he’s right there in Scores.   


Difficulty: Hard
The game certainly does not do anything to accommodate gamers when it comes to explaining the challenges or at least showing us where all the key elements are like in Aggressive Inline.  It turns things into a frantic guessing game when you’re trying to accomplish multiple tasks while trying to locate each and every element of the challenge.  Why not show us where all the strippers are and then let gamers race across the environment instead of accidentally finding them?  Secondly, even when you do locate them, they don’t often hop on your bike and making things much more frustrating.


Concept: 7.6
While not immensely funny, the game does have something of a sense of humor that keeps the game from being a stale version of Dave Mirra.  As juvenile as the humor is there are times that the game does bring a smile to your face . . . even though what you’re smiling at is just somewhat naughty.  And with various video clips to unlock and barely clothed female riders, this is purely an adolescent male’s fantasy game.


Multiplayer: 7.5
This is definitely not a game you keep to yourself, in fact, the game designers must have known this since they included a two-player multiplayer option with three multiplayer games--Strip For Score, Skillz and Paintball Mode.  Strip For Score has you attempting to beat a friend with the best combos and each time a player breaks a record, an article of clothes is removed from the other player.  Skillz is a two-minute run to see who scores the highest points.  And Paintball Mode has you collecting boom boxes before your opponent pegs you with a paintball.


Overall: 6.2
At best, BMX XXX is a weekend rental for the sheer enjoyment of playing a game that is not afraid to be completely crude yet different.  While it does not shine as an extreme BMX title, it does have something of a sense of humor that is as revealing as the exotic dancers themselves.

Above Average

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