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Game Over Online ~ Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX

GameOver Game Reviews - Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX  (c) Acclaim, Reviewed by - Lothian

Game & Publisher Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (c) Acclaim
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 91%
Date Published Saturday, January 20th, 2001 at 08:30 PM

Divider Left By: Lothian Divider Right

Can you say Tony Hawk Pro Skater but with a bike? Yeah, I knew you could. Don't get me wrong though, I don't say that as a bad thing. Tony Hawk 2 has quite possibly created a tidal wave of "posers" within the gaming community and Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX may very well do the same. Case in point: though in reality I don't "shred", I can tell you fairly accurately what a McTwist is or how to do a kickflip. When it comes to any flavour of sports game, usually we see the major titles go to EA Sports or 989 Studios. However, what might better be described as Extreme Sports are being covered well by other publishers. Competition breeds quality (though Microsoft would have you believe otherwise *cough*)

Freestyle BMX offers three styles of gameplay, including freeride, session and proquest. Forgive me if I draw several parallels to THPS throughout this review but the two game's formats are very similar. Proquest involves accomplishing various objectives to advance from stage to stage. Freeride allows you to practice your moves. Session does the same but with a time limit.

Before setting forth on your Proquest tour, you can select from Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Troy McMurray, Mike Laird, Chad Kagy, Tim Mirra, Kenan Harkan, Shaun Butler, Leigh Ramsdell or Joey Garcia. Each player has his own combination of strengths and weaknesses and ultimately "feels" different when played.

Proquest is also subdivided into three categories of varying difficulty: amateur, pro and hardcore. As you advance through the stages, you'll earn new sponsors, leading to new bikes and new gear. Unlike THPS, there is no cash system with which to increase abilities. Each rider does begin with certain levels of ability in Air, Speed, Spins and Balance. These levels will increase as you progress through the various stages.

There are twelve different maps to work your way through, many based on real locations, such as the Woodward compound in central Pennsylvania. The levels are all rather well designed but lack the depth of THPS's levels. The lack of a level editor is a bit of a drawback but seeing that there is so much variety with stunts and achieving personal bests, it doesn't detract too much from the overall impression you get of this game.

Level objectives are also a lot easier to find due to the intuitive and un-obtrusive in-game hints. When starting out, you are guided through the use of the various buttons and when you approach objectives, they light up and you are once again reminded what to do. Personally, I thought this was a nice touch because sometimes I had trouble locating key areas.

DMFBMX is very easy to control, using either the keyboard or a GamePad. You control your rider's tricks, mods, grinds and jumps as well as spin direction. Personally, I find that if you can optimize the amount of functions a limited number of buttons do, it makes learning the controls easier, as well as cutting down on the confusion factor. It's for this reason I tend not to stray towards flight sims.

Different moves are very easy to do, seeing that there is really only a "Trik" and a "Grind" button. You can view move lists from within the game without having to end your run and the use of the "Mod" (modifier) button allows for the mixing of any trick with any other to achieve more than 1,300 different moves.

Though not graphically stunning and reeking of a console port, DMFBMX does sport nice backgrounds and character animations. "Z-Axis' proprietary Skeletal Dynamics System (SDS) generates real-time crashes that are different every time". This is a kind of cool feature compared to the THPS stock bail that occurs almost every time. The graphics occasionally clip and there are a lot of hard angles but aside from that, no major weaknesses. I must add that the one truly disappointing feature of this title is the use of AVI for movies. For those that are familiar with the inadequacies of the AVI format, they can appreciate my complaint. The DMFBMX videos are done at 320x200 and for those of use who aren't playing this title on a PSX, when enlarged to 1024x768, they look downright crappy. I've got one word for you guys: BINK.

Following in the footsteps of THPS, an excellent line up of bands has been chosen for DMFBMX, including Primer, 59 Times the Pain, Cypress Hill, Deftones, Dropkick Murphy's, Pennywise, Rancid, Social Distortion, Sublime and Swinging Utters.

Whether Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX gives Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 a run for its money remains to be seen. Personally, they've both got a home on my HD. This also being a plus for DMFBMX, it only requires like 230MB. Anyhow, this title boasts a very high replay value, an excellent soundtrack and some downright wicked tricks.

[17/20] Graphics
[15/15] Sound
[45/50] Gameplay
[05/05] Control
[09/10] Overall Impression


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