Game Over Online ~ Motocross Maniacs Advance

GameOver Game Reviews - Motocross Maniacs Advance (c) Konami, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Motocross Maniacs Advance (c) Konami
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Thursday, June 6th, 2002 at 09:32 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Motocross Maniacs Advance is Konami's follow-up to its original Motocross Maniacs for the Game Boy. For those who aren't familiar with that game, this motorcycle racing game is hardly what you would consider realistic. It retains the classic look that you find in old consoles from a decade ago; side-scrolling 2D in nature with colorful characters and vibrant backgrounds. So much time has past on the GBA platform that Konami must have made a conscious decision to eschew graphic trends towards realism. Instead, the developers chose to impress fans with a host of new features and multiplayer options to turn this into one of those rare 'party' games for the GBA.

At its heart, Motocross still involves racing motorcycles which are depicted quaintly on the GBA screen. Your bike and your competitors' bikes are all traveling on their own level so you can pass through each other with ease. This is a great decision on the GBA (although I know it wasn't made for it) because of the cramped real estate space but it also gives the feeling that you're just racing with ghosts. The fact that the racer artificial intelligence is relatively predictable does not help much. Motocross clearly benefits from humans substituting for the computer players.

In the beginning, racers like Motocross were a dime a dozen. The first generation games only featured racing. You'd basically try to get from point A to point B on a few tracks. Motocross has this in the form of traditional time attack and championship modes. Expansion and sequels of racing games would involve new tracks. Then, developers began adding powerups like weapons for you to use to impede others. Motocross is highly developed in a similar vein with multiple party-like games, new thematic courses, custom characters with special racing traits and just about everything you could ever think of thrown into a 2D racer.

The variants themselves are pretty entertaining diversions. For example, it includes a game of hot potato; only the potato this time around is a bomb that will blow up at the race's end. There's also another game called Zombie Attack where you have to destroy as many zombies as possible within a few laps. These unorthodox racing games make up for the lackluster graphics. In the final analysis, ironically, despite the bundle of extras, you will still think the developers are trying to stretch this franchise unnaturally. The depth for this type of game can only go so much.

The visuals certainly reflect this mentality. They are by no means bland or drab in color but my criticism is with the animation, especially when you accelerate. The graphics engine behind this might have been reworked for the GBA but at fast speeds, it's like a car outfitted with some heavy duty custom turbo chargers. The speed the developers give you, especially with nitro is not just fast. It's hyper in an uncontrolled manner. Being a 2D game, the GBA doesn't produce any hiccups displaying this but it gives off an unnatural scrolling effect and because the camera is scrolling just as fast, it makes it harder to control your bike.

It's difficult to expect something serious from Motocross. I imagine that's not the selling point of the game. That's why I think it's more like a party game. With so many variants and the ability to play the game from one cartridge or multiple ones, it's a game that can be enjoyed by a variety of friends. Easy to pick up, I came in first place at the bomb tag game the first time I tried it and I didn't even have to read the three line instruction to do so. Its light-hearted approach is suitable to that type of play and I imagine Motocross will find a good niche there because of its Saturday morning cartoon treatment of motorcycle racing. It's up to you if you're looking for anything beyond that.


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