XBOX REVIEW: MOTOCROSS MANIA 3

It's amazing why some games get released. It's as though the developers have never been in an arcade. Can't they tell when a game completely sucks? I'm not just talking about personal opinion, I mean some of these games don't even work properly. I don't care if I had a deadline, I wouldn't release an unplayable game under any circumstance. If I'm going to declare bankruptcy it might as well be in private instead of with the entire gaming world laughing at me.

Motocross Mania 3 is good example of a game that was released before its time. It does have a good variety of modes but the controls are awful and the gameplay is repetitive, repetitive, repetitive, repetitive…

The game looks dated and even with the combat element it offers nothing but rehash to the genre. Even if this were a perfectly functioning game it's nothing we haven't seen before. Remember Road Rash?

Modes include Championship, Single Race, Time Trials, Freestyle, Multi-Player with a few mini-games thrown in for incentive. There are three difficulty settings for the Championship mode. Before you begin you can challenge another rider to a race in an effort to win his bike. You will progress to the next heat if you come in in the top three or four. You can out-race your opponents or resort to battle tactics such as smashing them in the head with a pipe wrench. It all sounds like jolly good fun but the gameplay is marred by the control system which is mapped out on the controller in an awkward fashion. You can change the layout to another format but both ways are uncomfortable. There is no real need for subtlety since the physics is rather ham-fisted in its arcade-like style. You'll be continually fighting floaty jumps, invisible walls and unresponsive machines.

Money can be earned by winning races, performing tricks and finding wads of cash on the track. The money can be used to purchase more effective weapons. You begin with a baseball bat and move on from there. Tricks can only be performed when you catch a lot of air on a straightway, otherwise you'll crash, and trust me there are already too many opportunities to wipe out.

Racing on the outdoor tracks looks as though you're riding through a forest fire. There is so much fog that you're in danger of riding over a cliff. Obviously this fog was implemented to hide the terrible graphics and limit the draw distance to save a few bucks. I like to see where I'm going. Call me old-school.

The arrow indicator spins around like a compass in a magnet factory. It's as though it's meant for another driver since it doesn't seem to be at all interested in where you're going. With all the fog you would think that at least the indicator would point you in the right direction but they didn't even get that right. Not to mention that if you do go the wrong way the CPU will just let you go until the race is over.

When you crash, your rider will continue crashing through everything in his way. The collision detection system doesn't work for the character and you can pass through everything like a ghost. To make matters worse, sometimes the CPU will respawn you in the wrong direction. How are you supposed to make up that kind of delay? With the Mania Meter, that's how. The Mania Meter slows down time but it not only slows down your opponent, it slows you down as well. What in hell's name is the point of that? Imagine a game that actually incorporates slowdown into the gameplay? This is something that we criticize harshly when we find it in game. Why didn't they include a button for clipping, latency and framerate chugging as well?

The generic guitar rock is a given and you can already guess that the voiceover work is bad. The sound effects are weak and totally uninspiring. I've heard better crashes watching a slot car race. Motocross Mania 3 looks, sounds and plays like a budget title from beginning to end.

The developers tried to incorporate some of the flaws into the gameplay while sweeping the others under the coded rug as though no one would notice. If Motocross Mania 3 has only one redeeming quality it's that it could be the impetus for there never being a Motocross Mania 4.

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System: PS2, X, GC, PC
Dev: Deibus
Pub: Globabl Star
Release: May 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
2.0
CONTROL
1.5
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
.5