SYSTEM
PS2

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
Rainbow

PUBLISHER
Sony

RELEASE DATE
02/01

ATV Offroad Fury Review

By: John Doe


Just when you thought games for the PS2 were getting crappier, along comes this tour de force which totally blew me away. ATV Offroad Fury is one wild ride. Developed by the same folks responsible for Motocross Madness on the PC, this game takes racing to an all-new level on the consoles. Incredibly difficult but at the same time, insanely fun, ATV Offroad Fury can be played in almost any manner to suit your mood. Want to just race around, doing sick tricks and exploring the landscape? Or be a man about it and try to come in first place without crying like a baby when you don't? It's all up to you.


Highs:
Lows:

If you see this game in action and you own a PS2, it won't be long before this game is in your collection. It looks like a million bucks. No draw and with just a tiny hint of fog, spread out before you is the lay of the land as far as the eye can see, and just like in Smugglers Run, if you can see, you can drive to it, and past it. Amazing. I don't even care about ATV's, but this game just drew me in. Let me just reiterate that the game is really freakin' hard once you start racing. The AI is top notch and when they aren't racing past you, expertly handling the jumps, they are landing on your head and throwing you back to 5th place 3 feet from the finish line. No kidding. This will happen and it will happen a lot, but I'm telling you, it didn't matter to me. I was just happier than a pig in poop to be playing a great looking racing title on the PS2. Actually, to be more truthful, I was just happy playing a good game on the PS2 period. They've been a little low on quality lately, haven't they? In the games defense though, in many races when things were looking the bleakest, I was able to come from behind and actually place first. This game places a lot of emphasis on skill. You'll need to master the art of pre-loading, which in terms of this game refers to the act of pulling back on the analog stick at the bottom of a hill or jump and jamming it forward just before your tires leave the ground for the jump. Pre-loading allows you to jump much farther, which can mean taking the lead or at least missing a whole whack of jumps. The whole concept is much like Supercross with dirt bikes; you don't want to be hitting every hill like you are in a row boat on the ocean. You've got to time your jumps and your angles so that when you go up, you want to be touching down on the sloped side of a hill further away. Anything less will blow your pacing. Learning to pre-load doesn't take much effort and you'll be a master at it in mere seconds, so don't be "frightened" away by having to learn something.

For your racing pleasure Fury, boasts 4 racing modes: MAXXIS Nationals (which take place on smaller outdoor tracks), Stadium Supercross (Indoor racing events), Freestyle Stunt (wide open places), and Enduro (wide open races with checkpoint gates). Any of the above modes allow you to practice, single race or Lap Attack (except Freestyle Mode). If you wish to actually get down and dirty, enter the Pro Career and you'll have to participate in tracks based on Nationals and Supercross. Each mode also features their own sets of tracks, all of which will impress you. When you get into the wide open spaces of Crater Park or Canyon Country, and just drive around pulling off stunts, you'll realize just how fun this game can be. I drove around like this, just exploring, for hours. My only gripe about this is that I was hoping for a ton of hidden areas and goodies. While there are some, there are a lot of missed opportunities; some places that looked cool and secret, lead to nowhere. Oh well, you can always race the train.

Graphically the game is sweet. As mentioned, there is absolutely no draw in or slow down at all, just a little bit of fog off in the distance. From the particle effects of the dirt flying at you, to the forests you can drive through to the red clay hills, this game just never stopped impressing me. The wipeout animations look painful and great at that same time. It's no wonder there is a big warning that greets you as you power up the game. Don't try this at home. You'd think it would be obvious to most that it might be dangerous to drive a realATV up the stairs of an observatory, hit a ramp and fly a couple of hundred feet in mid-air, pulling stunts and trying to land the thing, but who knows today? I loved hitting the far edge of the world. I won't tell you what happens, but I thought it was great.

Control is extremely responsive and tight, and feels really good. The stunts are easy to pull off and easy to combo, as long as you've got some air. You won't get any points if you don't land it, so you better come through. Using your rear view look is extremely important and it's actually very cool that your guy (or gal) turns their head to look backwards when you use it. It's little touches like that, that make the game even better for me. The stunts are well animated and for all intense and purposes based on real stunts (watch the intro video).

Not only does the game through a plethora of tracks at you (22 in total before the obligatory secret ones that I'm sure exist), but there are a gazillion bikes too. Everything from Honda, Kawasaki, Ravage, Havoc and Polaris is here and ready to be tinkered with. As each machine handles differently, you are actually allowed to play mechanic right off the bat and monkey around with your favorite. This feature won't appeal to everyone and most might find a machine that works for them with the factory settings; but if you aren't winning or landing those stunts, experiment. I found that the Polaris 500 worked really well the tire traction set to high and another couple of minor tinkerings. After I modded this bike, I was kicking serious ass. I could land tons of tricks, and yet the bike had great speed and awesome stability. There may be better quads in the game, but I found one that worked for me. If you find any others that work great, drop me a line and I'll compare them.

The tunes are real and feature bands like Primus, Anthrax, CIRRUS, Soundgarden, Sevendust, Strung Out, Ultraspank and more. The soundtrack has a lot of energy and suits the soul of the game perfectly. Hey, if you are trying to pull off a Cordova 250 feet in the air, chances are you won't land that baby if those Crazy Town goofs are whining their sissified "Butterfly" in your ear. This is Mountain Dew guzzling theatrics expressed in a video game.

What can I say? People seem to be a little polarized on this one, and I can't imagine why. Yes the game is hard and will challenge you; no doubt about it. But when you get pissed off, you go into Freestyle Mode and chill for awhile. It's not a game you'll be beating in a night or two. I've been playing it non-stop for a few days now and I still have some tracks to unlock. ATV Offroad Fury lives up to its name. It's very cool and very worth it, and consequently, highly recommended.

OVERALL
9.5

GRAPHICS
9.0

CONTROL
9.0

MUSIC/FX
9.5

FRUSTRATION
9.0

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