STAFF REVIEW of BMX XXX (Xbox)


Monday, November 25, 2002.
by Queasy Buddy

BMX  XXX Box art The third installment of the Mirra BMX series brings a whole new flavor to extreme sports gaming. Acclaim touts it as the first mature rated extreme game and mature it is. Within it you'll find loads of adult humor, both in terms of language and situations. For example there are run-ins with prostitutes who'll flash you if you pull off the right moves and as you gain money you can see more skin at the local peep show which actually features real video clips. This isn't just another bike sim; it brings a lot more entertainment value along with being accurate to extreme riding. Although it's still objective based and resembles the last release. Mirra XXX was built on a brand new platform (shared with Aggressive Inline) and the result is rock solid game play. A nice thing is that there's no set time limit on the levels so you always have the ability to explore. The obvious visual flaws seen in the previous version have gone away and environments have been better perfected. The environments are detailed and very interactive as are the characters found within them (but could be a lot better). Sound wise, there's a lot of great effects and bands such as The White Stripes have been included. By targeting the older gamers and slapping a mature rating on this title, Acclaim has gained the ability to make this one over the top and unlike any other game of its kind. They've done it well and the result is a game that, most importantly, will be a blast to play. Or will it???


The Hardcore Tour mode has players pedaling their bikes and tricking through open environments while trying to accomplish a shopping list of challenges. Some of these challenges are readily known and very straightforward (achieve a certain number of points, collect coins, and so on). Most are presented in the levels by "colorful" characters' (pimps, stoners, strippers, and so on). Aside from the timers imposed on certain challenges, there is no overall time limit in the stage. The length of your run is only limited by the health bar, which gets eaten away every time you hit the dirt. Aside from this mode, "BMX: XXX" has a few two-player games, a movie viewer, and a custom character creator (complete with uninteresting options and the same trick-set for every character in the game.) An unlockable park editor finishes up the features in the game, but seems to do nothing more than freeze the game. Within the game you'll find a variety of riders to tear up the various levels with, including a new female character. Characters can also be created from scratch and they're highly customizable. Meaning, if you want your rider naked or to have large 'features' for example - that's not a problem. Whatever you may find entertaining is probably possible in this one... Another cool and unique feature found in this release is a multiplayer combat mode in which gamers can battle one another using various weapons to take each other out. So something like a bar-spin to peg-grind to shoot your opponent combo is now feasible. Sounds cool to me. All of this leaves the game with one marketable aspect. There are videos of strippers in "BMX: XXX." The video quality and the editing are both more professional than anything else in the game, even if they are a little on the short side. Unlocking them unfortunately requires you to suffer through the game?LOL


Graphics are a mixed bag. The look of the riders and bikes has been enhanced from the first two games, but the facial textures are still a bit goofy. BMX superstars Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist supplied the motion-capture work, so most of the animation has a smooth, realistic appearance. Unfortunately, certain animations lack grace, namely, the bail animations. The bails in BMX XXX utilize the same proprietary animation system Z-Axis originally created for Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, released in 1999. Thus, the bails are just as hokey now as they were then. The strongest aspect of the game's visuals is the rider's interaction with the bike. It's animated well. Everything else, however, from character models to texture work to the environments seems to just be good enough to get the job done. With so many cutscenes showing the characters up close and personal, it's amazing that Z-Axis didn't put a little more work into the models and animations. The other aspect that makes the tricks so satisfying is the spot-on rider animation. Every trick looks just like it would in real life. Even at a standstill, the riders look very relaxed, perhaps resting one hand on a knee, rather than being rigidly attached to their riser bars at all times. In the air, the hands and feet flow superbly, pushing the bike around and even letting go entirely, then jumping back on before landing. Each of the many riders available has their own selection of tricks, so it is worthwhile having a go with each of them, just to watch their signature tricks in action.


The sound in the game isn't much better than the visuals. With the same sound effects used over and over, it is easy to tire of hearing the same crowd "oooh," or the same grinding noise. The wacky voices in the game obviously come from the same few voice actors, and gamers will get to hear lines repeated so often that mute will be seen as a blessing. Most of the sound effects from the prequel games have been carried over to BMX XXX. This means wooden objects still produce metallic sounds during grinds and riders make the same dull grunts during crashes. Also, some sound effects occasionally cut out or do not play at all. As a whole, though, the sound effects are fairly good, with each level having its own ambient background sounds. Musically, the game features rap, metal and rap-rock tunes. Some of the bands include Sublime, Green day, Nerd and you can also rip some tracks from you hard drive. The soundtrack is not especially strong, but at least the songs automatically alternate during gameplay, unlike the ones in the first game. Besides, you can always turn off the music and enjoy the lazy background sounds.


Suggestions:
I would consider taking more time on enviromental and facial expression details then concentrating on the girlssssss, in your case hookers.


Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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