reviews\ Jul 7, 2002 at 8:00 pm

MX SuperFly - PS2 - Review

In the motocross world, Ricky Carmichael is god.  Not only does he compete and win every motocross event he enters, but he can also perform incredible feats on a flying dirt bike that would amaze any extreme sports enthusiast.  It is no surprise that Mister Carmichael joins the ranks of extreme sports figures such as Mat Hoffman (BMX bike) or Tony Hawk (skateboard) in his own game--MX Superfly, a sort of sequel to MX 2002.


MX Superfly offers six different playing modes chock full of mini-games and several different styles of playing the game.  The main playing mode is Career Mode (placed somewhere in the middle of the other playing modes).  It allows you to create your own rider (complete with his or her name, number, bike and gear) and take that rider through two different event types--Race Career and Freestyle Career.  Race Career is mainly a straightforward race to win third place or better while Freestyle Career allows for more freedom to perform tricks while trying to win third place or better.  You earn cash for each completed event and the more cash you earn the further you advance in the game (e.g. go from amateur to pro).


The other playing modes are Exhibition, Freestyle and Mini-games.  Exhibition simply offers twelve riders to choose from as well as twenty-two different racetracks.  You can also play any track or use a new rider earned by successfully completing various Career Mode events. Freestyle takes you through several different courses performing tricks for points.  Mini-games have several unique events to play through such as Bus Jump (where you jump over a row of buses) and Moto-Golf (a neat little event where you race around a golf course as you try to reach several targets on time).


There’s also a Track Editor option where you can design your very own arena and add anything you want to it using the simple design tools available.  Yet one of the game’s best features is the multiplayer option where two players can select many of the game types as in the single player mode.  Anything unlocked in Career Mode is available here and is played in split-screen fashion.


This time around the controls are lot easier to handle.  The tutorials in the beginning of each Career Mode events pretty much take the gamer through the basic tricks and the aerial rule that you must make sure to straighten your bike’s wheels before landing.  The more intricate tricks such as the Starfish or Tsunami require more work that you have to push multiple buttons at the right moment in order to execute them successfully. They’re hard to get right but trying them out is half the fun.


Difficulty-wise, the game’s modes vary but neither one really gets frustratingly grueling.  The three difficulty settings (Easy, Medium and Hard) can be changed to meet your level of expertise but it’s often best to start in the Easy setting first.  This brings things to the opponent AI.  Although riders can offer a challenging race, they never become ridiculously impossible to beat.  Many of them collide with one another or make a wrong turn as well. 


MX Superfly also offers up a serving of fresh--and plentiful--tunes in the rock-rap mold.  Here you’ll find a mix of such artists as The Vandals or Del the Funky Homosapien (from Gorillaz fame) and the soundtrack seems to play well with the action the game offers.  While the soundtrack is impressive, the sound effects are decent enough . . . although the commentary is just a small presence here as are the voices of the other riders. 


This is also a very good-looking game.  Each location and the surroundings are rich in details and this is good considering the game could have been nothing more than just dirt mounds (which even that looks good in this game). My only complaint is that the riders aren’t as keenly rendered during the game but looks great in the Replay.     


For those gamers interested in trying something in the motocross genre MX Superfly is a game they should definitely try out and those who are fans that crave more dirt bike action will love this one.  With sharper graphics and better controls than MX 2002, this game offers enough tricks and action to make Ricky Carmichael proud.


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


 Gameplay: 7.8
Thankfully the controls are easy to get into and players will be performing tricks in no time, still the more complicated ones need a few tries in Freestyle mode.  It’s also not a bad idea to consult the instruction manual, which goes into the complicated trick list controls in detail.  Many of the tricks use multiple buttons and the use of the left analog stick to direct the bike for a landing.  This is rather complicated but . . . hey what’s the fun in keeping it simple, right?


You start the game with twelve riders, all of which have different outfits, gear and different color bikes.  Although you pretty much can’t tell the difference between any rider you choose skill-wise, it’s always nice to have the choice available to the fans that have their own favorite motorcross riders (all of the characters are based on real riders).


Graphics: 8.7
Although not a visual wonder, the game’s graphics are pleasantly loaded with fine detail in its surroundings and environments.  Landscapes are filled with various environmental--and even man-made--objects scattered throughout the game like tumbling tumbleweed or scattering lizards trying to make it to an abandoned corral.  The racetrack also looks great even as you’re kicking up the dirt with the wheels of your bike or by sliding across it after you take a nasty tumble . . . you can also leave tire tracks.


The riders themselves look pretty good too--although not as detailed as they’re depicted in the Replay.  Still, this is nothing to complain about since the effects are neatly done, especially when you’re performing air tricks such as the Superman Seat Grab or when you’ve tossed off your bike.


Sound: 8.0
Unlike MX 2002, Superfly has a much broader assortment of tunes in the rock-rap category.  The soundtrack features such artists as Hoobastank and Souls of Mischief and it actually goes with the flow of the game.  An option to change songs in mid-game would have been nice but thankfully the music changes from mode to mode.


The sound effects are also nicely done and the authenticity is surprising.  The Pro Bikes sound effects are not just all buzzes, they clank when you strike a metallic surface or sputter if you land wrong.  You can also find a few sound bites scattered throughout the game, for example, bumping up against another racer results in him shouting “Hey, watch it!”  There’s also a very brief commentary in the beginning of each race . . . a really shame considering that they’re done by ESPN commentators Cameron Steele and Davey Coombs who cover the real events excellently.


Difficulty: Medium
The game design rule must have been “easy to play but hard to master” because considering the ease of the controls, the more complex tricks require you to press a combination of buttons and a lot of practice.  Yet the most difficult part is--and this is also a freshly realistic twist in the game--leveling the bike’s wheels in order to avoid nasty spills.


During the game’s main modes, you go up against a number of fair yet challenging opponents.  The opponent AI is nicely done and it’s good to see that they aren’t perfect at landings or avoiding the occasional barrier.  While none of them totally eat it like you do, their mishaps give you the opportunity to take the lead.


Each game level is even challenging enough in the Easy setting (there are three difficulty settings: Easy, Medium and Hard).  The more challenges you successfully complete the more difficult the challenges become--although none of them becomes the so-frustrating-I-yank-my-hair-out-of -its-roots kind.    


Concept: 8.0

Since this type of game has been done before, there is nothing that really separates it from other motocross titles seen in the past.  MX Superfly’s saving grace is that its not just a simplistic racing game but a game that puts emphasis on various tricks and this keeps the challenges from becoming repetitive.  The only thing visibly missing is a fully interactive world seen in games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 or Aggressive Inline.

Plenty of game playing modes are always a welcome feature in extreme sports titles and so are the unique ones.  The Mini-game mode has quite a number of them and some of them--like the Pizza Delivery game (where you have to deliver hot pizzas to several locations) and the Stranded game (pick up gas cans and take them to your stranded buddies without spilling a drop) are fun to play.  There are also extras to unlock, such as the extra rumored rider (and ex-rap star) Vanilla Ice.


Multiplayer: 8.5
The two-player action in MX Superfly is surprisingly filled with plenty of game modes (many of which have to be unlocked by playing the single player Career modes) and is fun to play through with a friend.  With plenty of bikers and game modes (such as Horse and High Jump) to choose from, you and a friend could compete in Exhibition Race against other bikers or each other.     


Overall: 7.7
Grab your helmet and hop on, MX Superfly is extreme motocross action fans of the genre will enjoy.  Although not completely perfect, it does manage to provide a few thrills until the next Ricky Carmichael inspired MX title. 


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